Curcumin can be ‘as big as omega-3’ with correct science and marketing: OmniActive MD

By Millette Burgos contact

- Last updated on GMT

Curcumin can be as big as omega-3 and DHA  © iStock
Curcumin can be as big as omega-3 and DHA © iStock
Curcumin can become as big as omega-3, according to the boss of Indian nutraceutical supplier OmniActive, which has recently received a significant funding boost and made a high-level acquisition.  

“With the right kind of scientific substantiation and market positioning coupled with meaningful customer-oriented solutions, curcumin can be a long term winner like any major category of products you have seen. It has the potential of being as big as omega-3,”​ said Sanjaya Mariwala, managing director of OmniActive Heath Technologies.

OmniActive’s CurcuWin product is having considerable success, he said, in part due to tackling the tricky issue of bioavailability.

“Based on the current body of science, curcumin is stimulating high levels of interest in active lifestyle and sports nutrition, joint and muscle health, cardiovascular health and mood health,”​ said  Mariwala.

“OmniActive has taken the approach of addressing a key issue around curcumin using our UltraSol Technology platform to launch CurcuWIN, a standardised curcumin extract shown to have up to 46 times higher bioavailability than standard curcumin.”

After the launch of CurcuWIN, OmniActive followed this up with “well-substantiated studieswhich provided meaningful outcomes such as Flow Mediated Dilation for cardiovascular health, and other parameters to support active lifestyle and sports nutrition categories,” ​he added.

Aside from curcumin, OmniActive thinks carotenoids, weight management, glucose and sugar management are growth areas in APAC this year.

“We will address segments of the carotenoids markets, weight management products and many more that are currently awaiting some great clinical outcomes,”​ Mariwala said.

To firm up the market, OmniActive formed the Lutein and Zeaxanthin Trade Organisation with another health company Kemin to help boost the sector.

Increased Asian presence

Meanwhile, 2017 has got off to a busy start for the company, with private equity firm Everstone investing $35m​ and the acquisition of Indfrag, an Indian natural extracts supplier.

OmniActive hopes not only to leverage on IndFrag’s 100-plus botanicals portfolio to launch new products, but increase its broader Asian reach as well.

“We are present in select markets in Asia at the moment, based on the current OmniActive portfolio. Indfrag’s portfolio of standardised botanical extracts has a wider customer base and alternative distribution channels in some key Asian countries, so our combined market access will give us some good traction, and help us penetrate deeper and wider in Asia,”​ he explained.

China is also an important country for OmniActive and Indfrag, said Mariwala.

“Based on demand from within China and our international partners we hope to further build on it. We already have people on the ground in China supporting the market and our distribution network. We hope to further expand that team.”

Regulation challenges

As head of the Nutraceutical Taskforce for the Federation of India Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Mariwala said the discussions between the regulator and Indian players help in improving the industry environment.

“Through this platform, we can engage with the regulators, improve the standards of materials and testing capabilities while taking the message right back to the supply chain of what is needed to stay ahead of the pack in this industry,”​ he said. “This is coupled with educating the customer, developing ethical voluntary standards to follow in claims and labelling, as also testing and validation, advertising and supporting the growth of the markets.”

The new rules on functional foods​ released by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) were also welcomed by businesses because the new procedure for approving ingredients in place of formulations, for example, will open up a huge opportunity in taking new products to market faster, Mariwala concluded.

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