India set for nutritional supplement boom

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dietary supplement

India’s nutritional supplement market is set to boom over the next few years, with some analysts predicting it will double in value by 2013.

According to a report released by Netscribes (India) Pvt. Ltd, the total market for nutraceuticals in India is growing at 21 per cent per annum. It is currently valued at INR 44bn (€621m), but could be worth more than INR 95bn (€1.34bn) in four years time.

Analysts say the growth of India’s nutritional supplement market is being driven by the changing lifestyle of the country’s consumers and increased knowledge about nutritional supplements.

“Growth in this sector is being propelled by increasing shift towards preventive therapies, increase in disposable income, increase in healthcare spending, ageing population, pharma retail growth, and favourable pricing environment,” ​said a Netscribes spokesperson.

Low cred

Impediments to growth include a lack of standardisation, high pricing, lack of awareness, marketing and distribution challenges.

A recently published knowledge paper on the potential of the nutraceuticals market in India, prepared by FICCI and Ernst & Young, said that nutritional supplements currently have a low credibility in Asia Pacific countries.

The paper pointed to a survey carried out in the region, that revealed that 30 per cent of respondents did not think food supplements offer any additional health benefits.

Regulatory matters

There are also some regulatory issues that require clarification by the Indian government, including how nutritional supplements should be labeled in terms of the nutrients they contain and what health claims they can make.

An official from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said the government is planning to release specific guidelines outlining the safety and efficacy of nutraceuticals by December.

Several companies are reportedly waiting in the wings until these guidelines are defined. The FICCI and Ernst & Young paper mentions Alkem Laboratories, Plethico, Divi's Laboratories, Mission Vivacare, GNV, Vitabiotic and Robert Schwartz.

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