Pettman’s comments came after he attended a Mumbai conference organized by India’s Health Foods and Dietary Supplements Association (HADSA) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry(FICCI).
According to a Frost & Sullivan knowledge paper launched at the conference, the Indian nutraceuticals market is expected to grow at a rate of 16 per cent year-on-year for the next five years, to reach roughly US$5bn.
According to Pettman, an aging population and consumers wanting to take charge of their own health through natural remedies and self-care has meant that there is a growing interest among Indian consumers in nutraceutical products.
“But with this growing awareness of nutraceuticals, consumers in India will also demand more and more credible information on the benefits of taking nutraceutical products,” he said.
“This in turn should lead the government to create laws and implement regulations that will promote and ensure availability of safe nutraceutical products in the market,” said Pettman.
According to Pettman, regulation should also find a balance between the need to preserve country-specific characteristics with the need for the nutraceutical industry to be aligned with international standards on safety.
Pettman said that the key elements of regulation that could apply to India include clear broad definition of a supplement, ensuring a wide range of ingredients may be permitted for sale, and the implementation of appropriate standards of Good Manufacturing Practice, which are specific to supplements.
“Also, clear labelling which permits consumers to understand what they are buying and differentiate between products and the maximum levels of vitamins and minerals and other ingredients,” he said.
“The regulations must also cover a system of claims that delivers useful and truthful information to consumers but which do not require million dollar studies to document,” he added.
Pettman said that the Indian supplement market is still in the early stages of development and in fulfilling its potential.
“If these elements [policies and regulations] are right, the Indian food supplement market has considerable potential in terms of speed of development,” he said.
Pettman revealed that a number of other issues were also raised at the Mumbai conference, including innovation, consumer segmentation, and partnerships between companies and specialist agencies.
“Customising products for vegetarians and also for consumers who have a broad acceptance of the value of traditional medicine were raised,” he said.