Nutraceuticals: Riding the healthy living wave

Last Updated: Fri, May 13, 2011 04:30 hrs

FMCG, Pharma majors eye a bigger share of the growing dietary supplement market

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and Pharma majors are eyeing a bigger slice of the retail food supplements market that was largely dominated by companies who sold their products directly.

Until a few years back, Amway’s Nutrilite was the lead player, besides Ranbaxy’s Revital. Today, more than ever, healthy living is the craze in India and consumers are looking for a way to identify reliable, high-quality dietary supplements. The new kids on the nutraceuticals block are not far behind either. A host of new companies have launched nutritional products that are flying off the shelves like hot cake.

The products include daily food supplement – multivitamins, minerals, protein, calcium – for consumers who eat quick meals in today’s hectic lifestyle and miss out on essential nutrients.

Major players like Dabur, Piramal Healthcare, Modicare and Guardian Lifecare have intensified competition and marketing initiatives to ramp up the category.

Dabur forayed in food supplements in December 2010 with Nutrigo, available in two variants — Nutrigo Total and Nutrigo Women. The company plans to further expand its product base with a supplement for the elderly. Praveen Jaipuriar, marketing head, health supplements, Dabur said: “In India, there is a gradual progression from traditional OTC healthcare towards modern nutritional products. Consumers and marketers are lapping up these products hands on.”

“We aim to target 2.8 million outlets in towns having a population of over five lakhs. These would largely be chemists and neighbouring grocery stores. The new entrants have given legitimacy and meaning to this category. Dabur would soon line up BTL activities like educating chemists and doctors, consumer contact programmes, kiosks and visiting households.”

The other big player in the race is Piramal Healthcare. It launched its Supractiv Complete in 2009. Company director, strategic alliances & communications, Swati Piramal said: “Dietary supplement is the biggest and better penetrated OTC segment in India with a substantial presence in the one lakh-plus towns. We have only recently entered into it. We are looking forward to launch more extensions in this segment to consolidate our brand salience among consumers. The brand has grown faster than the category growth of 12-14%.”

The size of the dietary supplement market is estimated at Rs 2,000 crore, growing at 15-20 per cent for the last three to four years. “All pop-in pills, including the advertised and prescribed brands, constitute a market worth Rs 1,500 crore,” said Piramal. The average price point for any dietary supplement is about Rs 200 for one month.

To keep pace with growing competition, Amway is keen to reach out to rural India. William Pinckney, MD & CEO, Amway India said: “Lifestyle diseases are not specific to tier-I cities but also common in tier-II and III towns. We look forward to strongly building this category over the next three years with our global brand Nutrilite.” Amway India posted Rs 1,790 crore turnover in 2010, out of which Rs 903 crore alone was contributed by the nutrition category.

Amway started doctors’ appreciation programmes last year inviting local doctors and educating them about the benefits of dietary supplements. Last year, it conducted 40 sessions across india with 3,000 participants. Pinckney said: “We aim to reach out to 12,000 doctors by the next three years.” The company plans to promote Nutrilite through the word of mouth referrals, TVCs, brochures and consumer engagement shows.

Not to be left behind in the race is Modicare, which had forrayed into the nutraceuticals market six years ago. The company plans to launch new products that are unique and not readily available in market. Manisha Amol, VP-marketing, Modicare said: “Well Supplements contribute 18-20 per cent of the total Modicare turnover and the growth is approximately 50 per cent year-on-year for the past three years. We have plans to take at least 5-8 per cent of market share within the next 2-3 years. We plan to launch 3-4 new products in nutraceuticals soon.”

Modicare products include: Well Protein Nourisher, Well Joint-Ease, Well AM-PM Energising & Stress relieving, Well Freedom, Well NaturOpause, Well Korean Red Ginseng and Well Multivitamin Multimineral Tablets. The company plans to promote its supplements through print media advertising.

“There is place for everybody in the market. Even today, the price points of supplements sold by direct companies are higher than what is available in the market. The distributor is responding positively, quite evident from the growth of these supplements. However, people do need to be educated about it as they often mistake dietary supplements with medicines,” said Amol.

Guardian Lifecare Pvt. Ltd, a health and wellness chain with about 200 stores across the country is also bullish about the growth. It is the only franchisee retailer of America’s best selling vitamins and dietary supplements brand, GNC (General Nutrition Centers).

Guardian Lifecare’s chairman and MD, Ashutosh Garg said: “In 2006-07 the average sale of GNC in India was approx Rs 40 lakhs. However, over last five years the sale of GNC has increased exponentially. For 2010-11, it is more than Rs one crore a month. We aim at opening more number of GNC specialty stores with a wide range of high quality products and well trained advisory staffs to cater to the growing demand.”

More from Sify: