Branding strategies for Indian nutraceutical industry

While there is rarely a one-size-fits-all formula to branding, Sushil Khaitan, founder and MD, Pure Nutrition, jots down a few tenets nutraceutical brands today can rely on
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The nutraceutical industry has been one of the fastest growing segments within the healthcare space, with prominent analysts estimating the global market to reach $227.5 billion by 2025. The Indian nutraceutical industry, too, reflects global patterns of consumption and demand and is set to become a world leader in the manufacturing, supported by robust infrastructure, favourable institutional mandates and high availability of ingredients across the country. The Indian nutraceutical industry is projected to reach $18 billion by 2025 and hold 3.5 per cent of the global market share, the timeline of which has been accelerated by the onset of the pandemic.

With a plethora of players in the market, the Indian nutraceutical industry remains largely unorganised, with a range of MNCs, conglomerates, healthcare start-ups, niche Ayurveda and herbal players, as well as new-age companies dealing with innovative formats. In a seemingly crowded marketplace, each brand today is trying to solidify its market share with marketing and branding strategies that set them apart from the crowd. In healthcare, while science and ingredients tend to lead the conversation, it is true brand value and positioning that drives sales and market share.

The first step on any branding initiative is to break down the demand. Health and holistic wellness has been a dominating topic of conversation even pre-pandemic, and this has further strengthened in the last two years. In an aim to lead more holistic and well-rounded lives as well as choose prevention over cure, nutraceuticals, with their emphasis on natural health benefits, have become highly sought-after products. However, with the range of permutations and combinations of ingredients available in the market today, consumers today face an overload of information as well as options. There are non-vegetarian, vegetarian, plant-based as well as vegan supplements available in the market that cater to every need. With the variety from which they have to choose, even for a single product, it won’t be wrong to say that they are spoilt for choice. This leads to one of three outcomes – the first, where the consumer gravitates towards the largest player in the market with high recall. Second, where the customer finds the exact product needed within his budget from a fairly visible brand and third, where the consumer cannot differentiate and hence, opts for the cheapest alternative on the shelf.

Keeping these factors in mind, nutraceutical brands today, be it functional foods, nutritional supplements, sport drinks and medically formulated foods, are working tirelessly towards building a strong and reliable brand voice, which strengthens their standing in the market, positions them as an opinion leader in the segment as well as equally balances product, service and value. While there is rarely a one-size-fits-all formula to branding, there are a few tenets nutraceutical brands today can rely on.

  • Transparency backed by science: Today’s consumers are more informed than ever before, with a high propensity of studying the labels of nutraceuticals before making a purchase. In a highly saturated market place, extensive research and verified health claims that are backed by science go a long way in creating brand equity. For Pure Nutrition, we have a team of in-house doctors and experts, who not only advise on products, but also couple nutraceuticals with holistic lifestyle changes to reap maximum benefits.
  • A personal touch: While the internet has increased retail avenues for nutraceutical brands across the world, it has also made the transaction highly impersonal. For a first-time user, the number of options available can be overwhelming. As a result, breaking down your offering into segmented product categories is a great way to add a touch of personalisation. To divide their website or catalogue by health goals, allows brands to seamlessly integrate a range of products, address personal lifestyle goals of each consumer as well as provide the most effective solution based on individual requirement. Further, being interactive on social media with an expert answering queries allows brands to build a one-on-one rapport with their consumers as well as provide tailored solutions.
  • Understanding your consumers: Backed by data and analytics, it is important to know who your consumers are, why they shop and where they gather information. When examining the local market, India houses one of the world’s youngest populations, with an average age of 29. This demographic uses the internet as well as social media to make the majority of their buying decisions. Further, as compared to the global market, the Indian market also has an exponentially large amount of vegetarian consumers. Each of these allows brands to tailor communications to their target audience, on platforms they are most active. For Pure Nutrition, social media plays a key role in communicating with their customers, through relevant subject matter that is of most importance to them. Conversations around work-life balance, fitness goals, stress management, one product multiple uses etc., help us leverage our robust nutraceutical offering in a highly effective manner. Further, as a 100 per cent vegetarian and preservative-free brand, Pure Nutrition also reiterates its differentiated product offering tailored for the Indian subcontinent through this communication.
  • Finding the right partners: Advocacy goes a long way in strengthening brand positioning over time. In an industry as personal as nutraceuticals, finding partners to explore synergies with to best amplify your brand’s ethos, processes and uses is an important step in breaking through the noise in the industry. At the time of its inception in 2016, Pure Nutrition partnered with Luke Coutinho, India’s leading holistic lifestyle and wellness coach to create solutions that went well beyond nutraceuticals and took into account lifestyle goals, habitual changes, stress management, diet as well as sleep to create holistic solutions. Since then, we have also found partners and advocates in leading fitness gurus, beauty experts, nutritionists, dieticians and doctors to amplify our brand philosophy and offering across categories.

Breaking through the noise and positioning yourself as a key player in the industry is a large, but not an impossible goal. It is imperative to keep your ear on the ground, be aware of global trends, ever-evolving market rules as well as changing consumer preferences. Being transparent is the key, being relevant is the goal and being adaptable is the mantra. As the Indian nutraceutical industry continuously evolves, it is the best to strengthen your foundation, before attempting to scale the peaks.

Indian nutraceutical industrynutraceutical brandingPure NutritionSushil Khaitan
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