In 2009 the market was worth INR37.7bn (€645m), Frost observed of a market being driven by increasing health awareness and desire to use supplements to combat obesity and overweight problems, which are on the rise in India, along with China, as western dietary habits gain favour.
Due to these factors, food supplements and dietetic products grew 16 and 20 per cent respectively in 2009, making India one of the most attractive markets in the world.
But Frost analyst Partha Basu warned that competition from functional foods and the need to build science to back claims could jeopardise growth.
“Most supplements in the market make health claims that are not independently verified,” he said. “The participants need to conduct clinical studies on their products and publish them in peer-review journals to prove their efficacy and thereby, gain acceptance.”
Frost observed that functional foods were more popular than supplements in India but that taste issues with some functional foods was opening doors to supplements.
“Depending on the mode of distribution, a suitable strategy may be developed to link performance of the product with the brand,” said Basu. “This is aptly seen in the communication strategy of participants in the chyawanprash segment, as they use brand ambassadors such as cricketers and movie stars.”