The Next Gem of Healthcare Sector

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Written By: Shuchi Nahar | Shuchi’s Blog | Linkedin Profile

What are Nutraceuticals?

The term ‘nutraceuticals’ was firstly used in the late 1980s to describe food products that have a medicinal benefit. This fast-growing sector includes functional foods (such as vitamin-enriched products), nutritional supplements, sport drinks, and medically formulated foods. 

Nutraceuticals and its Division


Figure 1: The diagram showing the various divisions of Nutraceuticals 


Nutraceuticals is expected to play a central role in preventative healthcare. The logic seems simple – an ageing population gives rise to lifestyle-related diseases, whose impact can be lessened by making healthier choices earlier in life.

This convergence of medicine, food and technology is likely to create a battleground in which food and pharma companies compete for dominance of the sector.

Successful companies will have to hit the bulls eye in six main areas: technology, product strategy, compliance, marketing, supply chain management and corporate deal-making.

Food and Pharmaceutical Company having different Edge over each other

Food companies have a greater understanding than pharmaceuticals of nutrition and food formulation, plus decades of consumer research and relationships with mass-market distributors. 

Pharmaceutical companies have strong research departments, stakeholder relationships and regulatory structures that enable them to generate new compounds, plus wider ties to the scientific community.

Among the pharmaceutical companies with a strong presence in nutraceuticals, Abbott owns some of the leading nutritional product brands. Pfizer sells a range of dietary supplements.

Johnson & Johnson makes products to lower cholesterol and dietary supplements for people who are lactose intolerant. The progress done by pharma companies is much faster than the food , due to enriched R&D facilities with the pharma companies.

Nutraceuticals gives an Exciting Opportunity to both Food & Pharmaceutical Companies

By complementing each other’s strengths (and weaknesses), a merger of the nutraceuticals portfolios of a big food company and a big pharmaceuticals company might make sense, but there hasn’t been a significant one yet. While both the company forays into nutraceuticals they can have benefits in themselves such as : 


Nutraceutical Advantages

Figure 2: Opportunities for Pharmaceutical Companies & Food Companies

India’s Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals Market – An Overview

Source: Deloitte Nutraceutical Report

Figure 3: India Nutraceutical Market Growth till 2022 (USD Billion)


The term “heath supplements and nutraceuticals” is evolving and the nomenclature varies across countries. For e.g., Canada naming them natural and non-prescription health products, the USA calling them dietary supplements and Japan naming them “foods for special health use”.

This has resulted in different countries including different categories for defining “health supplements and nutraceuticals”.While the Indian market witnessed high growth rates in nutraceuticals, it is still a relatively small market global nutraceuticals industry. 

Indian nutraceuticals market constitutes nearly 2% of the global nutraceuticals market. It is expected to grow rapidly and account for 3% of global share by 2022.Developed countries, including the US, Europe and Japan account for more than 90% of the global nutraceuticals market.

Key Demand Drivers Leading to need and Growth of Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals in India

Demand Drivers for Neutraceuticals

Figure 4: Key Drivers for growth in Nutraceuticals in India

1) Elderly Population

Elderly population in India is expected to reach 143 million by 2021 from current 100 million. With ageing population, the chronic disease burden has also increased. India recorded 5.8 million deaths owing to Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) in 2016, constituting 61% of total deaths.

2) Rapid Retail Growth

India’s retail market is expected to double to US$ 1.3t by 2020 from US$600b in 2015. Increasing the number of super markets, health and wellness chains, etc. would increase the consumers accessibility to nutraceutical products. Greater number of non-grocery retailers, such as drugstores, mass merchandisers and retail chains, etc. are expanding their selection in the food supplement space.

3) Trend of Co-Prescription

Penetration of functional F&B remains significantly lower when compared to developed economies of the world providing significant room for opportunity. In India, a multivitamin product is prescribed in 16% of the prescriptions.

Multivitamins are increasingly being co-prescribed in indications such as chronic alcohol liver cirrhosis, pregnancy, stroke, sepsis among others.

With increasing penetration of modern forms of retail including hyper and super markets, ecommerce channels, etc., the distribution landscape for functional foods & beverages is changing rapidly.

4) Change in Consumption pattern & Urbanization  

Focus on fitness and general well-being is leading consumers to intake food products which cater to their additional specific requirements such as proteins, antioxidants, vitamins, etc. With a rising urban population in India (33% in 2015, up from 27% in 1995) the consumption pattern has also changed in the nutraceuticals market. The traditional dietary supplements dominant market is now driven by functional foods. 

5) Emergence of New Categories in Health & Wellness Space

There is an emergence of new niche categories such as anti-aging, energy boosting, skin care, digestive care, etc. are emerging as fast growing categories.

Additionally, an increased product penetration in existing categories such as fortified water in the health drink sub segment, fortified noodles, variety of flavours in sports and energy drinks, etc. is likely to drive the demand for nutraceuticals over the next five years.

6)  Future Growth and Opportunities

The Nutraceuticals market worldwide is projected to grow by US$135.4 Billion, driven by a compounded growth of 7.2%. Functional Food & Beverages, one of the segments analysed and sized in this study, displays the potential to grow at over 7.5%. 

Poised to reach over US$196.4 Billion by the year 2025, Functional Food & Beverages will bring in healthy gains adding significant momentum to global growth.

While the Indian market witnessed high growth rates in nutraceuticals, it is still expected to have a long runway to reach. Indian nutraceuticals market constitutes nearly 2% of the global nutraceuticals market.

It is expected to grow rapidly and account for 3% – 5%  of global share by 2022.

Developed countries, including the US, Europe and Japan account for more than 90% of the global nutraceuticals market. India’s nutraceuticals market is expected to double in size to US$ 1.27 trillion by 2026 , on account of the strong demand for dietary supplements from the upper and middle class.

India, the fastest growing economy in the world, houses over 1.25 billion people and, as per the UN, is forecasted to become the most populated country by 2024 .

With the growing population, India, a developing country, faces challenges to ensure that there is not only adequate food supply but it also meets the required nutritional levels.

Some Indian companies that are engaged in Nutraceuticals are:

1) Syngene (Contract Manufacturing for Probiotics)

2) Fairchem – Tocopherol Natural Vitamin-E

3) Fermenta Biotech – Vitamin D3

4) Advanced Enzymes – Human & Animal Nutritions

5) Laurus Labs – Synthesis/ Ingredient(Dietary Supplements) Etc

Watch this detailed video on Nutraceuticals by IIT Kharagpur


Also Read on FinMedium:  Hello, is it piramal ? – Master Moves

Ministry of food processing Industries – Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals

Ministry of Ayush

 Deloitte – Nutraceuticals Market in India

  Manufacturing units focused on niche  Nutraceuticals 

  KPMG – Nutraceuticals Future of intelligent food

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Shuchi Nahar

Shuchi Nahar

Shuchi is NISM Certified Equity Research Analyst, CFA - Level 1, a student of Law and Finance, and an aspiring CS.
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