Functional foods and ingredients booming in India

By Staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

Despite low levels of public awareness compared to western markets, functional foods and ingredients are finding growth in areas of India, as consumers switch on to the promise of healthier foods, beverages and supplements.

The likes of probiotic-fortified yoghurt, buttermilk, omega-3-fortified health drinks and baby foods are winning over swathes of Indian consumers, especially those in the large conurbations such as Mumbai and New Delhi, according to a new Frost & Sullivan report.

While educating the public remained a “key challenge” ​for industry, local manufacturing of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), probiotics and enzymes was coming on stream to service both local and international markets.

"The market has good scope of growth considering the positive growth of the Indian food processing industry in terms of new investments, new product development,” ​said Mamta Wadhwa, senior director at Frost & Sullivan, South Asia and Middle East.

“This coupled with growing awareness amongst consumers about product developments in the global market is sure to drive growth in such fermentation-based food ingredients market in the long term."

However unclear regulations about new functional ingredients and health claims was acting as a brake on innovation and market growth.

The report noted 87 per cent of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) were used in food supplements, 13 per cent in foods.

Probiotics have traditionally been consumed in the form of food supplements in India, but platforms such as yoghurts and ice creams are becoming popular, Frost observed.

The enzymes market grew at 11 per cent from 2007 to 2008, following 12 per cent growth from 2006.

Frost observed that the global economic recession had not had a major impact on the Indian enzymes market the US, the EU and Japan remaining strong markets and China, South Korea, India, and Taiwan offering “good growth opportunities”.

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