Lasons India, a known name in APIs and leading manufacturers of Vitamin B3, have ventured into nutraceuticals through One Life. Gaurav Aggarwal, Director, Lasons India talks about this new venture, the growth opportunities in the field, the differentiators his company brings to the market and more
You are a well-known name in bulk drug manufacturing for some decades now. How will the experience and learning in that area help in your new business?
Our experience of more than three decades as bulk drug (API) manufacturers gives us the required technical experience to ensure quality, pricing and market understanding. We are one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of Vitamin B3 in the region. Our bulk drug customers are also customers of various other vitamins, minerals and extracts. As a result, we are well aware of and share a very healthy relationship with worldwide manufacturers of these ingredients. Most importantly, being manufacturers ourselves, we have a fully functional QC and QA department in house who is instrumental in audits, qualification of vendors at ingredients and formulation levels. As a consumer myself, I would personally prefer buying a product from a brand that has been in the industry for over three decades as compared to a new brand. It is very reassuring to the consumer.
Why is it the time right to foray into nutraceuticals? How is growth in the nutraceuticals and wellness market in India gaining pace? What are the accelerators?
The nutraceutical, dietary supplements, health foods industry is at a very nascent stage in India. There is a massive need for these products and it continues to grow rapidly. The Indian market for nutraceuticals is a very small part of the global market. Given the size and age and increase in awareness of our population, the market continues to grow steadily.
This industry is largely innovation-based and it helps to have the experience we have. The youth of the country which is the majority population has become well aware of the needs and requirements of supplements due to the inability of the food in providing them the same. People in general are more health conscious and wish to live a healthier lifestyle. Supplements of various types provide the consumer the option of fulfilling the nutritional needs of the body regularly and in the correct dosages in most cases.
Many of your clients, which include leading pharma companies, are also into nutraceuticals and wellness. Will your entry into this space give rise to conflict of interests? If not, kindly elaborate.
Yes that is correct. Top10 companies across the globe from the pharma, nutra, cosmetic, food and feed nutrition industries are our clients. That being said, the traditional nutra products from India traditionally available continue with the same formulations over the years. The nutraceutical space is highly research driven and there are new ingredients being tried and used regularly either alone or in formulations which have tremendous benefit. Further, our formulations are very different from that of our clients and hence there is no conflict of interest.
What are the differentiators that you bring to the market? How are you positioned to leverage the growth potential in this rapidly growing segment?
Experience, technical understanding, resources of a pharma company and the knowledge of more than three decades as a manufacturer of vitamins, are our key strengths. We understand that the nutrition business is second to none. We follow strict standards at all levels to ensure stable quality supply of products. I believe this is our advantage and this helps the customer be assured of the products being consumed by them.
You are metamorphosing from a pure B2B player to one with B2C interests as well. How does that change the rules of the game?
India is one of the largest consumer markets in the world. We are in fact the largest young population in the world. If there is a market, we should be in for a B2C industry!
Our factory is one the first factories to have received the FSSAI certification upon its inception. Since last year, FSSAI has made many changes to the regulations and these are welcomed. With the growth of the industry there is also a need to regulate the same for the benefit of the consumer. Some studies available show that a large majority of the supplements available in the market are either unregulated or not authentic. This is not good for the consumer or the industry as a whole. It is important for the companies to keep a close understanding of the changing rules and it’s important to practice self governance.
What are your growth strategies for the next three years (in terms of investment, market penetration and marketing)?
We have identified our consumer base and will focus our efforts to reach them across the country. We wish to approach the consumer with as much information as possible about our products and the need for the same. I believe the consumer should be well informed about the need and the products for them to make an informed decision. In the coming time you will see our approach in this direction. We focus on offering the best quality and eventually customers will see the benefits of our products and this will certainly generate recall value.