Nutraceuticals are often referred to as phytochemicals and functional foods. They are considered natural, with bioactive compounds that have health promoting, disease preventing or medicinal properties. The term nutraceuticals was originally defined by Dr. Stephen L De Felice, founder and chairperson, Foundation of Innovation Medicine (FIM), Crawford, New Jersey. The term nutraceuticals was used to describe foods or food components which have the potential to cure specific disease conditions.
        Despite the foreign origins to the word ‘Nutraceuticals’, what it entails is indigenous to India. India has had a rich heritage of herbal medicines and supplements, which have found resonance in our mythology and folklore.

        Nutraceutical products benefits are limitless. New ways of usages are being discovered every day. They have a great significance in treating a wide array of physiological to psychological ailments. People are now more health-cautious than ever before. The nutraceutical products have further consolidated their belief by providing lots of health benefits and act as:
  • Cardiovascular agents
  • Anti-obese agents
  • Anti-diabetic agents
  • Anti-cancer agents
  • Immune boosters
  • Substances that manage chronic inflammatory disorders and
  • Formulations to cure degenerative diseases
Lifestyles of human beings have changed drastically due to the industrial age, increasing work, living speed, longer work schedules, and various psychological pressures, which have led to an increased incidence of diabetes, obesity, various cancers and vascular diseases. With recent advances in medical and nutrition sciences, natural products and health-promoting foods have received extensive attention in the public.

        The nutraceuticals industry is a dynamic, evolving industry that offers exciting opportunities to merge scientific discovery with growing consumer interest in health-enhancing foods. In developed countries nutraceuticals have become a part of the day to day life.
        India is one of the countries where the market of nutraceuticals and dietary supplements is growing enormously. The nutraceuticals market in India can be further divided into functional food, beverages and dietary supplements. The functional food constitute over 65 percent of the Indian nutraceuticals market, include commodities such as macronutrients, herbal and non-herbal extracts. It is this segment that draws major competition and is the home ground to firms like Amway, Himalaya, Dabur and Emami. This segment is growing at a rate of 17 percent, and hence, will drive the growth of the market.
        Industry players are also undertaking a number of initiatives on their own, including a renewed focus on improved quality standards of the product, enhanced transparency, and competitive pricing for innovations. The focus of nutraceutical players is now shifting towards developing economies, especially those across Asia Pacific, including India. In 2017, the Indian market held only 2% market share of the global nutraceutical market and its estimated valuation stands at around $5 billion as of 2019. 
        It is expected to reach $11 billion by 2023, increasing at a CAGR of 21%. By 2023, India is also expected to hold at least 3.5% market share of the global market. Currently functional foods have largest share of the Indian nutraceuticals market followed by dietary supplements. This trend will drive the market for fortified foods and probiotics. If the growth trajectory remain the same, Indian Nutraceutical is going to be more than double in next five year.

Increasing costs of hospitalization and complex procedures arising out of avoidable conditions, are driving consumers towards health supplements and nutraceuticals. The adage, ‘prevention is better than cure’ is now well etched into the minds of consumers.

As a result, nutraceuticals are now looked upon as important supplements that are on the priority list of monthly expenses, which, like food, cannot be skipped.

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