Industry Voice

Industry Voice

Fighting diabetes — the FMHG way

As the potential for branded dietary supplements and nutraceutical products in the Indian market rises, Suhas Wadwalkar, Head – Brand Communications SOHUM, analyses the anti – diabetes supplement market in India

Suhas Wadwalkar is currently associated with Sohum Advertising Agency.

He can be contacted on wadwalkars@gmail.com or suhas@sohumdisplays.com

Diabetes has now come to stay in India. It is no longer a rich man’s disease. According to doctors, high stress environments with little exercise and plenty of junk food is triggering this condition. Our growing sedentary habits and changing lifestyle has made us susceptible to Type 2 (non insulin dependent) diabetes, earning us a notorious distinction as the ‘diabetes capital of the world’.

According to WHO, India will continue to have the largest number of diabetics in the world, even in 2030.

Not surprisingly, the diabetes drug market in India amounts to over Rs 1350 crore and is steadily growing at close to 20 percent, which is almost three times more than the global growth rate.

Seeking support in fight against diabetes

With the urban as well as rural population afflicted with the ailment, the doctors say: “In India, diabetes is not an epidemic anymore, it has turned pandemic.” However, people in India have been conscious about this disease affecting their quality of life. With consumer’s unstoppable penchant for knowledge and information, the general awareness levels are already peaking. It is said that while all patients do take some allopathic medicine prescribed by the doctor, one third of them are found to be flirting with supplements in the hope of getting rid or at least reducing their drug dependence on the doctor prescribed medicines.

S. No. Company Brand
1 Himalaya Drugs Diabecon
2 Himalaya Pure Herbs Bitter Gourd
3 Unijules Life Sciences Karmin
4 Goodcare Pharma Diacare
5 Baidyanath Madhu Mehari
6 Organics India Sugar balance

Dietary supplements – growing support

It is now a familiar sight in the vicinity of jogger’s parks to find a juicewala offering fresh juice of Karela, Neem, Jambul, Tulsi, etc. Similarly, hundreds of herbal medicine shops are springing up across. Most of the urban and semi-urban towns are flooded with different dietary supplements in the form of powders and syrups offering traditional medicines to curb diabetes. Some of the reputed herbal medicine houses like Himalaya Drugs have floated new companies such as Himalaya Pure Herbs which offer pure plant/leaf/fruit extracts to meet the growing demand for such basic products.

The most commonly used anti -diabetes supplements in India are: Neem (Azadirachta indica), Karela (Momordica charantia – Bitter Gourd), Jambul (Syzygium cumini – Indian Blackberry), Tulasi (Ocimum Sanctum), Methi (Foenum Graecum – Fenugreek), Bibla (P Marsupium), Bel ( Murraya Koeingii), Rai (Brassica juncea), Guduchi (Tinosporia cordifolia), etc.

Prominent players in the supplement category

The market is highly unorganised with few national brands in place. The consumer’s belief in alternative support is evident from a plethora of remedies being sought after like powders and juices.

FMHG and the marketing myopia

Since the industry is highly un-organised, there are no clear market estimates available but the industry experts guestimate that if the un-organised consumption is taken into account, the supplement market for diabetes in India is as big as the Rx (prescription) market. If the ancillary market of diabetic rice, wheat, snacks, sweets and sugar free brands are taken into account, this segment is many times more than the allopathic market segment.

A raw examination of facts and figures clearly points to an urgent need of national brands at the market place. With diabetes on a rampage in every nook corner of country, there is definitely a need for the supplement category to support the war raged by the allopathic branch of medicine. Unfortunately, the industry is found wanting in this area as it is yet to realise the potential for this market.

With tremendous demand from the consumers, open spaces available in the market and diabetes showing uncurtailed growth, the FMHG companies in India need to rise to the occasion and give the consumers what they deserve and as soon as possible.