Dr. Anish Desai, MD Nutraceutical Physician, Founder and CEO, IntelliMed Healthcare Solutions

Dr. Anish Desai is a trained Clinical Pharmacologist and Pharmaceutical Physician with 3-decade experience in academia, research, and healthcare industry. He has been a recipient of the prestigious Charles R. Ream “Award of excellence”; and the “U.K. Sheth Award” for his stupendous work in the area of research. Dr. Desai has been recognised for driving positive change, delivering solutions and developing strong relationships with external stakeholders. Holding a senior management position for the last 20 years and involved in strategic decision-making. He has worked with India’s leading multinational healthcare organisation like Johnson & Johnson India, Bayer Schering Pharma India, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd & Unichem Laboratories.


Nutraceuticals have been increasingly gaining acceptance in India, predominantly for preventive and wellness purposes in health care. Over decades, India has seen the fastest growth in nutraceutical markets and dietary supplements. Fast Moving Healthcare Goods (FMHG) describes India’s nutraceuticals and nutritional supplements market, which shows that India has enormous growth potential for growth, given a share of only 1% to 2% within the global market. This industry has risen in the past few years and recently surged during the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and Preventive healthcare has become an essential line of definition.

Current trends for the growth of nutraceuticals

  • Globally, the market of the nutraceutical expected to extend from $352.92 billion in 2021 to $658.11 billion in 2028 at the CAGR of 9.3% in forecast period 2021-2028
  • The market share of the nutraceutical in India
  • The Indian nutraceuticals market constitute only two percent of the global market & is anticipated to extend from $4 billion in 2017 to $18 billion in 2025.
  • Development of function-specific antioxidants
  • Increasing disposable income
  • Increasing the need for preventive healthcare
  • Growing awareness regarding health and well-being
  • Constant innovations
  • Increasing prevalence of lifestyle-related disorders
  • Increasing number of fitness canters in developing regions
  • Rise in the e-commerce industry

Opportunities for the nutraceutical industry in India

  • The rapid increase of non-communicable & lifestyle disorders (such as cardiometabolic, gastrointestinal, mental illness, bone, and joint disease)
  • Growing disposable income
  • Rising patient awareness
  • Inferior food quality
  • Awareness of a healthy lifestyle and the need for Wellness
  • Growth of e-commerce
  • Emerging treatment protocols incorporating nutraceuticals for disease management
  • Policy focuses on improving nutritional status
  • Evolving competitive landscape
  • The intervention of AI technology
  • Creating nutraceutical brands
  • Science-based Nutraceuticals

Challenges for the nutraceutical industry in India

  • Evolving regulatory environment: Regulatory scenario is dynamic due to the rapid growth of the nutraceutical industry, ranging from product definitions and approvals to health claims and manufacturing standards.
  • The legal and regulatory framework: In the case of the legal framework, corporate law and necessary steps to create an entity in India has been elaborated in FSSA (Food Safety and Standards Act of India) Section 22, whereby compliance with operation in India is mandatory.
  • Counterfeit products: The Indian nutraceutical market has a significant threat from lookalike, counterfeit products, confusing the consumer and eroding trust in products.
  • Price Elasticity: Though the demand for nutraceuticals is expected to rise significantly, high prices limit their accessibility to the Indian consumer. Additionally, import tariffs are critical for India’s market entry while determining final product pricing.
  • Limited Public funding: Limited government funding of healthcare and out-of-pocket expenditure by individuals makes a case for the scope of insurance.
  • Customized products for local markets: The preferences of the Indian population for vegetarianism or other dietary practices and traditional remedies reflecting social and cultural sensitivities make it essential for brands to be customizing their products to suit the local cultural and social needs.

Nutraceutical Regulations in India

Nutraceuticals provide health and wellness benefits and prevent and treat various diseases. Vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, prebiotics and probiotics, and herbal supplements are now widely consumed globally, making maintaining safety and quality standards critical. The rapidly expanding global nutraceutical industry has further reiterated the need for regulatory guidelines. Regulations in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe are streamlined and have become conducive to developing nutraceutical products. The nutraceutical industry in India is coping with a dynamic regulatory scenario that is currently nascent and have scope to grow and evolve in comparison to international agencies.

The regulatory structure of nutraceuticals in India has developed after establishing the Food Safety and Standard act in 2006, which brought together eight pre-existing laws into one apex law regulated by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI). Since the introduction of this act, the regulatory framework of food products has progressed over the years with regular amendments. The major milestone in the field of nutraceuticals was in 2016 with the introduction of functional food regulations and nutraceuticals. Under these regulations, different guidelines were laid down for nutraceuticals in terms of their safety standards, health claims, and permissible limits of active ingredients and excipients for safe and effective use. India has progressed in developing a robust regulatory framework for nutraceuticals; however, a powerful system and better-coordinated actions are required to implement these guidelines and ensure food safety.

To summarise, the pandemic has given an impetus to the growth of the nutraceutical industry with growing awareness for health and wellness. The Indian market is witnessing a massive surge in demand for these products; consumers are looking for safe, effective, quality products. The nutraceutical industry is rapidly adopting technology to provide consumers with innovative, safe, effective, and quality products. The regulatory environment is evolving to the advantage of all the stakeholders.

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