A relatively new category called ‘nutraceuticals’ is suddenly beckoning India Inc, attracting no less than the likes of FMCG behemoth Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL). The FMCG major, it is believed, is all set to foray into what it calls the ‘wellness’ category with the launch of a range of food and dietary supplement products under its Ayush franchise.
Fuelling growth in the market are some other companies like home-grown pharma major Win-Medicare (UK Modi), and direct selling company Modicare (KK Modi) which have sealed deals in the recent past to tap the business potential in the estimated Rs 2,000 crore market.
“HLL has recruited experts in ayurveda to develop relevant products. HLL has also recruited top pharmaceutical technologists because it has adopted the principles and rigour of the pharma industry to clinically evaluate its product range so that Ayush indeed combines the proof of science with the truth of ayurveda,” a HLL spokesperson when contacted told FE.
He, however, refused to make specific comments on its future plans and actions.
Elaborating on Ayush’s comprehensive strategy, the spokesperson said, “The Ayush franchise already comprises a personal care range (shampoo, hair oil and soap) and a health care range (pain balm and cough syrup)... We have articulated that the Ayush range will encompass wellness, too. In fact, Ayush is already into the wellness category, on the services front, through the Ayush Therapy Centres.”
HLL’s entry into the wellness category through products could mean direct competition for ayurvedic healthcare companies like Himalaya and Dabur who currently dominate the nutraceuticals market. Amway and Herbalife, the two multinational direct selling companies have also been at the forefront of developing this nascent market in the country.
Meanwhile, the Rs 1,000-crore UK Modi group, which has also identified ‘nutraceuticals’ as a new business opportunity, has signed a licensing and distribution agreement with the US-based $1.5 billion Nature’s Bounty to market and distribute its health supplement products in the country.
“We plan to launch about 15 to 20 dietary and health supplements in the country in about two months period,” Priyank Agarwal, business advisor for Modi group’s pharmaceutical holding company Modi Mundipharma Ltd told FE. The group has structured its new nutraceutical business as a division of Win-Medicare, a subsidiary of Modi Mundipharma Ltd.
According to him, the company has earmarked an investment of $1 million to be spent in the next two years for the project which is expected to take off mid-2004.