Nutraceuticals

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Role of Nutraceuticals in COVID-19 Pandemic

India’s 6 weeks lockdown has impacted Nutraceutical and Dietary supplements industry on multiple fronts. But COVID-19 makes everything different because people are really, first and foremost, concerned with their and their loved ones Physical health.

India has been declared as a country of Malnutrition and main reason for this situation is Hidden hunger! It is a lack of vitamins and minerals. The quality of food people eat does not meet their nutritional requirements as food is deficient in micronutrients.

In India almost 15% of the population is undernourished. These people may not have access to nutritious foods for one reason or another, so supplements can help fill gaps in their nutrition.

The stress of the COVID-19 pandemic can further deplete essential nutrients that the body needs to maintain health. So, although supplements have no direct effect on the COVID-19 virus itself, they can certainly help support overall health and wellness during this very stressful time.

Role of Health Supplements:

As everybody thinks of nourishing well on one side, however they also feel that they should improve their immunity to face this crisis of Corona. There are many nutraceutical ingredients which are useful for building and enhancing individual immunity.

The supplements for immunity and prevention have shown increase in the sales. In this list Ingredients like Vit D, Vit. C and Zinc are on the top. Even immune boosting products like Curcumin, Selenium and Probiotics products have been growing since the outbreak.
Along with these, other ingredients like Asthaxanthin, Polyphenols from pomegranate, Glutathione and extracts of Indian spices like Ginger and Garlic and are also considered to be important ingredients to build immunity.
In case of providing support in nutritional deficiencies, RDA based multivitamin/multi-mineral supplements are advisable to reduce the rate of acute respiratory infections, shortens the duration of flu-like symptoms and improves the rate of recovery.

Fig 1.1 Role of Health Supplements

Along with these there are few traditional herbs which may possess beneficial nutraceutical ingredients to boost immunity and shows anti-viral properties. Virgin coconut oil is one of those ingredients. The active ingredients like Luric acid and Monoluarin from Virgin Coconut oil have shown to be effective against viral infections. Also ingredients like Fucoidan have some immunomodulatory properties and reduce allergic responses and activate Natural Killer Cells and T cells.
Common Indian spice like Cinnamon Bark in the extracted form of compound IND02 has shown anti-viral properties against H1N1 and H3N2. But the anti-viral activities against COVID-19 need to be further studied and confirmed. Also ingredients like Luteolin, Apigenin, Quercetin and Chologenic acid have been studied to function as anti-viral. One of the major ingredients like Palmitoylethanolamide, present not only in egg yolk, but also in other foods, such as soy oil, peanut oil, and corn has shown anti-inflammatory action and symptomatic relief of flu symptoms.

In case of market response to this crisis has been phenomenal. As many of above mentioned ingredients and herbs are not only getting used as immune-boosting but also for preventing side effects. The demand of such products is increasing as per the awareness and knowledge of consumers. In India, even healthy snacks like protein bread has shown increased demand. The Indian start-up specialised in making protein bread and cookies has seen online sale go up by 15%.

Propagation of Integrated Medicines has been seen beautifully woven in this crisis period. Along with the modern medicines, the ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) sent out a new advisory to states suggesting “add-on traditional medicine interventions to conventional care”. The advisory suggests intake of Tulsi, Ginger, Guduchi (Tinspora cordifolia) and Turmeric in diet. Also use of Sesame oil along with inhalation of Eucalyptus oil is advised to lower the incidences of respiratory tract infections. Yet, efficacy of all ingredients is very important here, particularly in cases such as this, where many aspects of the virus are still unknown and claims need to be backed with clinical evidences.

Challenges for Nutra and Dietary Supplements Industry:

Some supplement categories could see sales declining. The ingredients like Ashwgandha, Lycopene, Lutein and segment of Sports Nutrition are likely to see lesser demand during this time.
Even supply chain is experiencing losses in terms of exports as most of the ports are closed. Likewise, most of the companies are facing supply chain disruptions. But there are chances that new channels may emerge!
The outbreak of COVID-19 has highlighted that businesses should adopt Hybrid Model. The Hybrid Model will encompass both in-person interaction and digital touch. This can include channels like online stores and adopting subscription models.
The use of Artificial Intelligence to trace and track entire value chain will be much useful and will be accepted by consumers for its efficiency and effectiveness. Video conferencing and digital friendly education platforms will be much useful to update the employees amidst the period of lockdown.
Common communication platform can be generated for all stakeholders that will help them to make business deals and trade purpose.

In this situation consumer awareness and consumer engagement will be a key to success and it can be done with the help of social media. As well as knowledge sharing can be used as a tool to engage and retain customer. And Subscription model will lead to expected growth in these volatile conditions.

References:
https://www.nutraingredients-asia.com/Article/2020/03/26/Eating-right-COVID-19-pumps-up-sales-for-India-s-protein-bread-maker?utm_source=copyright&utm_medium=OnSite&utm_campaign=copyright
https://www.nutraingredients-asia.com/Article/2020/03/31/India-s-COVID-19-lockdown-Dabur-Pure-Nutrition-and-Akay-weigh-in-on-economic-impacts?utm_source=copyright&utm_medium=OnSite&utm_campaign=copyright
https://www.msn.com/en-in/health/familyhealth/coronavirus-anti-viral-foods-to-build-immunity-and-keep-diseases-away/ar-BBZBkpa
https://www.nutraingredients-asia.com/Article/2020/04/06/Transform-to-survive-MLM-firms-LifeVantage-Herbalife-Amway-reveal-strategies-for-success-amid-COVID-19-disruptions

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FSSAI -Amendments

FSSAI has asked the FBO(Food Business Operator) to revalidate their existing and new products as per the notification dated on 23-12-2016.FBO are required to comply with the order by 1st Jan 2018.Scientific panel carefully considered the several representations received by stakeholders for their inclusion. Some ingredients have not been approved by FSSAI to be included in regulations due to-

  1. Safety
  2. Likely to exhibit properties of drugs
  3. Inadequate data
  4. Safety issue

Since some of the issues are yet to resolve , FSSSAI made following timelines for FBO:

  1. Ingredients and additives approved by FSSAI for inclusion:
    1. According to annexure I, the ingredients/additives which are approved by FSSAI for inclusion are given a time till 30th June 2018 for their reformulation
    2. In case of new permissible limit, FBO are given time for the period of six months from the date of revised/new formulation.
  2. Ingredients not approved by FSSAI for the inclusion due to inadequate data:
    1. The FBOs have given time to submit the data within 4 weeks from the date of issuance. For non- compliance, products containing such ingredients are to be withdrawn from the market immediately.
    2. Meanwhile, As per Annexure II, FBO are allowed to continue the food business of existing products.
  3. Ingredients not approved by FSSAI for safety reasons:
    1. FBO are directed to discontinue food business and withdraw the products containing ingredients namely ‘fluoride’ and ‘Potato protein isolate.
  4. Ingredients not approved by FSSAI since exhibiting drug like properties :
    1. FBOs are directed to discontinue the food business of products carrying drug-like ingredients namely ‘Willow Bark Extract’, ‘Pyrol Quinoline Quinone’ and ‘Lemon Bam’.
    2. For products already manufactured/imported are permitted to be sold till 30th June, 2018.
  5. FBOs are allowed to sell the formulation containing mere combinations of vitamins and minerals only up to one RDA in dosage formats such tablets, capsules and syrups for the period of 6 months or till the further order, whichever is earlier.
  6. As per Annexure lll, with respect to FSDU, FBOs be taken under medical advice are allowed to sell their existing formulations containing vitamins and minerals in food for special dietary uses without referring to the energy value(Kcal/K) for period of six months or till further orders, whichever is earlier.
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New Year Update by FSSAI on banned 14 Ingredients from Appendix I

Through directions issued on 31 December 2018 the FSSAI has clarified its decision regarding 14 ingredients listed under Appendix 1 of the Food Safety and Standards (Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food) Regulations 2016 (Nutraceutical Regulations).

In continuation of the directions issued previously in June and August 2018, the FSSAI has further decided on the following:

FBOs are allowed to continue to use the ingredient namely ‘Vitamin D3’ from lichen (Cladonia rangiferina) as a veg source in the existing products covered under the Nutraceutical Regulations, till such time the proposed amendment of the Nutraceutical Regulations are finalized and notified.

FBOs are directed to discontinue the use of ingredient namely Raspberry ketone, Silica, Angelica Sinensis, Chlorella growth factor, Chaga extract, Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) in the products covered under Nutraceutical Regulations with immediate effect as no additional information has been provided by the applicant. No further manufacturing of products containing these ingredients is allowed. However, any such products containing these ingredients which are already manufactured/ imported under the aforesaid regulations before 29 June 2018 are allowed to be sold only up to a period of 30 days from the date of this direction.

FBOs are directed to discontinue the use of ingredients namely ‘Oxalobacter Formigenes’in the products covered under the Nutraceutical Regulations with immediate effect since they exhibit properties of a drug and no further manufacturing of products using these ingredients is allowed. However, any such products containing these ingredients which are already manufactured/ imported under the aforesaid regulations before 29 June 2018 are allowed to be sold only up to a period of 30 days from the date of this direction.

FBOs are directed to discontinue the use of ingredients namely Paullinia cupana(Gaurana), Saw Palmetto, Notoginseng, Pine bark extract from Pinus radiata, Pine bark extract from Pinus pinaster in the products covered under the Nutraceutical Regulations with immediate effect due to lack of adequate data such as history of safe usage in India for 15 years and also the specific advantage of these plants over the already listed India plants/ botanicals. No further manufacturing of products using these ingredients is allowed. However, any such products containing these ingredients which are already manufactured/ imported under the aforesaid regulations before 29 June 2018 are allowed to be sold up to a period of 30 days from the date of this direction.

Based on the clarification provided by FBO that phytavail iron is mustard powder from Brassica juncea, which is already covered under Schedule IV of the Nutraceutical Regulations, it has been decided that no specific inclusion is required and the ingredient mustard powder can be continued to be used in products covered under the Nutraceutical Regulations subject to compliance with the aforementioned regulations.

Further, FBOs are allowed to continue the food business of existing formulations containing mere combinations of vitamins and minerals only up to one RDA in dosage formats such as tablets, capsules, and syrups for a period of three months from the date of this direction or till further orders whichever is earlier.

Reference:

https://foodsafetyhelpline.com/2018/08/fssai-issues-new-directions/

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Selling Wellness

Throughout the world, marketers are becoming more focussed on health. Be it energy, auto, chemicals or food, the focus is shifting to health and sustainability. Greater thrust on non-fossil energy sources, or cola majors moving from traditional beverages to health-based foods and beverages, are visible signs of the shift.

Pharma companies the world over, as also in India, are not far behind. Most are diversifying from chemical-based medicines into nutraceutical and wellness products. Today, most major Indian pharma companies have a nutraceutical or wellness division that produces supplements, ayurvedic & herbal products, fortified foods & beverages, functional foods, probiotic foods, energy drinks, etc. Research has shown that nutraceuticals are good for prevention of diseases, post-disease recovery, curbing deficiencies, supplementing nutrients and minerals, and better management of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Thus, nutraceuticals reduce the ill-effects of consuming pharmaceuticals. The companies are pitching for nutraceutical products with allopathic doctors too.

The awareness about the benefits of nutraceuticals is growing fast. Within a short span of 10-15 years, the annual domestic nutraceutical market has grown to Rs 30,000 crore, compared with the Rs 1,30,000 crore pharmaceutical market. According to Assocham, the nutraceutical market is expected to cross Rs 1,15,000 crore in the next 7-10 years. In addition to pharma companies, pure play domestic and international nutraceutical companies would also like to participate in this market with their unique plant-based products.

As these products are regulated by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, pricing is not an issue. There is also no person like a medical professional to take decision on behalf of a consumer and each person has the liberty to choose what he or she wants.

New Models in Digital Era

There will be a splash of online business models. We anticipate successful tie-ups between nutraceutical companies and established teams of nutritionists and dieticians for guiding consumers on the nutraceutical intake. We will also see start-ups becoming active with their apps and gadgets. Subscription-based models are expected to meet success and there will be specific packages for specific illnesses/conditions. Some of the models are as follows.

Wellness clinic model: Here, at a fixed rate of, say, Rs 3,000, a person will be able to take a package of benefits that includes nutritionist visits, health check-ups, diagnostic tests, disease management awareness programmes, etc.

Push model: The customer will be able to visit a nutritionist/dietician for six months by paying a subscription fee.

Conversational model: A customer will be able to converse with nutritionist/dietician through an app by paying a monthly amount.

Instant visit model: You could visit a nutritionist without waiting by paying a monthly subscription fee.

New Models in Digital Era

There will be a splash of online business models. We anticipate successful tie-ups between nutraceutical companies and established teams of nutritionists and dieticians for guiding consumers on the nutraceutical intake. We will also see start-ups becoming active with their apps and gadgets. Subscription-based models are expected to meet success and there will be specific packages for specific illnesses/conditions. Some of the models are as follows.

Wellness clinic model: Here, at a fixed rate of, say, Rs 3,000, a person will be able to take a package of benefits that includes nutritionist visits, health check-ups, diagnostic tests, disease management awareness programmes, etc.

Push model: The customer will be able to visit a nutritionist/dietician for six months by paying a subscription fee.

Conversational model: A customer will be able to converse with nutritionist/dietician through an app by paying a monthly amount.

Instant visit model: You could visit a nutritionist without waiting by paying a monthly subscription fee.

Other Gimmicks for Marketing

Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AI): There will be an opportunity for brand owners to be closer to consumers through VR headsets and make it a more engaging, interactive and personal experience. AR can help with blending of virtual objects such as brand image into something full of movement and wonder.

Phygital Marketing: In phygital, or physical + digital, a brand interacts with a customer in a physical location. Digital enhances the physical experience.

Referral & influencer marketing: A lot of nutra companies will use influencers to promote products on social media.

FMCG model: There will be promotions using coupons, contests, gifts.

Public relations (PR) & user generated content (UGC) marketing: Analysts predict good growth through PR and user generated content such as comments, reviews and images on social media. According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92 per cent consumers trust UGC more than advertising as the former is not paid.

Multi-level marketing: The traditional Amway method is here to stay

Online marketing: Leverage of the good old online marketing through e-mail, social media, display advertising and search engine optimisation.

The writer is CMD, Interlink Marketing Consultancy, and Hon Secretary, HADSA

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Healthy living in New Year, as nutraceuticals sell more than pharma products

Nutraceuticals, which consist of vitamins and minerals, protein supplements, energy drinks and growth supplements, have clocked higher growth than prescription drugs

Year 2020 augurs well for the health conscious, as Indians are increasingly opting for preventive healthcare to stay fit rather than waiting for diseases to take over and then start treatment, say experts.

Nutraceuticals, which consist of vitamins and minerals, protein supplements, energy drinks and growth supplements, have clocked higher growth than prescription drugs. “Now the trend is that 60 per cent of doctor prescriptions include health and nutrient supplements. While pharmaceutical sales are growing in India at just above 10 per cent for the past couple of years, the nutraceutical and wellness market is growing at close to 20 per cent a year, which shows the Indians have become more health conscious and awareness is growing,” said Dr RB Smarta, chairman and managing Director, Interlink marketing consultancy and honorary secretary, Health Foods and Dietary Supplements Association (HADSA).

With more disposable income at hand and rising awareness on healthcare among the urban community, numerous people are opting for a healthy living. The trend of wearable and electronic devices to measure health parameters and mushrooming of gym and weight management centres are helping boost sales of nutraceuticals, he says.

According to a vision 2022 document on the Indian nutraceutical market by industry organisation Assocham, in association with its knowledge partner RNCOS, the Indian nutraceutical market is poised to grow from $2.8 billion in 2015 to $8.5 billion by 2022. If India accounted for a share of around 2 per cent of the global market in 2015, it is poised to become 3 per cent by 2022. Dietary Supplements, which include vitamins and minerals (40 per cent), proteins (22 per cent), and others such as herbal supplements (32 per cent), constitute about 65 per cent of the Indian nutraceutical market. That segment is growing at over 16-17 per cent per annum.

Vitamin and mineral supplement sales in India were valued at about $0.7 billion in 2015. It is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of over 16.8 per cent to $1.3 billlion in 2019 and to $2.1 billion by 2022. Prominent dietary supplement makers in India include companies such as Himalaya, Dabur, Parry, GSK, Abbott, Zydus Wellness and Piramal. Many drug companies now have a separate division for selling nutraceuticals or wellness products.

“Many specialists such as diabetologists, nephrologists, gynaecologists and oncologists mostly write vitamins and minerals as part of the treatment protocol,” notes Dr Smarta, as another reason for the growth of nutraceutical sales.

Functional foods include food products such as functional biscuits, breads, cereals, vegetable oil, nutrition bars, yogurt and others. Functional beverages that include functional fruits juices, milk, tea, coffees, and energy drinks are growing at 18 per cent. Prominent companies in this segment include ITC, Amul, Dabur, Britannia, Kellog’s, Nestle and Coca-Cola, says the report.

It also says in terms of application, nutraceuticals are mainly consumed for nutritional deficiency (51 per cent), muscle building (30 per cent), weight management (15 per cent) and other uses.

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