E-commerce Nutraceutical Industry in India – Trends, Challenges & Solutions


Home > Blog > E-commerce Nutraceutical Industry in India – Trends, Challenges & Solutions

After the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a notable shift in people’s priorities, with a heightened focus on health and wellness. This change in mindset has had a significant impact on the pharmaceutical industry, particularly the nutraceutical sector in India, which has experienced remarkable growth in recent years. Let’s delve into the current scenario in healthcare and explore the challenges and opportunities faced by e-commerce nutraceutical sellers.

Overview of the Nutraceutical Industry in India

The term ‘nutraceutical’ combines ‘nutrition’ and ‘pharmaceutical,’ reflecting products that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. In India, the nutraceutical industry encompasses dietary supplements, functional foods, and more. These products are composed of nutritious ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibers, probiotics, amino acids, and others. 

what is nutraceutical

As per data from the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, India’s nutraceutical market has experienced substantial growth, surging to an estimated value of $4-5 billion. The sector is poised for a transformative journey, with projections indicating an impressive growth trajectory to reach $18 billion by 2025, solidifying India’s position as a global leader in the nutraceutical industry. With brands like Bigflex, Power Gummies, Kapiva, BigMuscles Nutrition, GNC, Oziva, Plix, and more leading the way, the industry has become highly competitive. 

nutraceutical industry market in India

What Is Driving the Growth of the Nutraceutical Industry in India

growth of the nutraceutical industry in india

The growth of the nutraceutical industry in India can be attributed to several key factors:

  • Increasing Health Awareness: Indian consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of their health and well-being. Recent surveys indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly heightened this awareness, especially concerning health. Notably, 40% of Indian respondents expressed a willingness to pay a premium for products promoting health and wellness. 
  • Changing Lifestyles: Rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles have led to an increase in sedentary jobs, irregular eating habits, and higher stress levels. These factors have contributed to health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, driving the demand for nutraceuticals that can help address these concerns.
  • E-commerce Growth: The rise of e-commerce platforms and the strategic shift of brands adopting omnichannel in India has made it easier for consumers to access a wide range of nutraceutical products. The increasing prevalence of e-commerce platforms has transformed how consumers discover, purchase, and engage with nutraceutical products in India. Online marketplaces have become a one-stop destination for individuals looking to improve their health and well-being through supplements, vitamins, and other nutraceuticals.
  • Innovation in Product Formats: The industry has seen innovations in the form of more appealing and convenient product formats, such as chewables, gummies, and lozenges. Brands are channeling investments in research to create delicious products that appeal to all ages. Moreover, these formats offer a more convenient and pleasant way to take nutraceuticals, eliminating the perception that they resemble medicinal pills, which makes them more attractive to a broader audience, including children and those who might have difficulty swallowing pills.

While the industry’s growth presents a golden opportunity for sellers, it’s not devoid of challenges. One primary concern is inventory management, which can be challenging given the vast range of products and the rapid pace of innovation and demand in the sector. Managing stock levels efficiently, ensuring product freshness, and avoiding overstock or stockouts are critical for maintaining customer trust and satisfaction. 

5 Major Inventory Management Challenges and Their Solutions in the Nutraceutical Industry in India

challenges and solutions in the nutraceutical industry in india

Here are some major inventory management challenges and their solutions in the nutraceutical industry:

Challenge #1: Limited Inventory Visibility

Nutraceutical products often face fluctuations in demand, making real-time information critical for brands. Traditional inventory management methods may rely on periodic manual counts, leading to a lack of real-time data on inventory levels, which can result in stockouts, where popular products run out of stock unexpectedly, leading to lost sales and customer dissatisfaction. 

On the other hand, overstocking occurs when excess inventory ties up working capital and warehouse space. Without accurate visibility, brands may struggle to make informed decisions about when and how much to reorder. This can lead to inefficient purchasing, with excess inventory of some products and shortages of others.

Solution: To address the challenge of limited inventory visibility in the nutraceutical industry, companies can take several strategic steps:

  • Implement an Integrated Inventory Management System: Use a robust inventory management software that offers real-time tracking, analytics, and reporting. This will provide a clear view of stock levels, expiry dates, and reorder points. Brands like Big Muscle
  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular cycle counts to ensure the accuracy of the system’s data.
  • Cloud-Based Systems: Adopt cloud-based solutions that allow for real-time access and updates from multiple locations.

Challenge #2: Shelf-Life Management

In the nutraceutical industry, managing the shelf life of products is challenging due to the nature of these products, which often contain vitamins, minerals, and other active ingredients that can degrade over time. Proper shelf-life management is essential to ensure product safety, efficacy, and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Nutraceutical products typically come with expiration dates, and failure to sell products before they expire can lead to significant financial losses and potential legal issues. Moreover, improper handling of products with shorter shelf lives can result in waste and product disposal costs.

Solution: With the following solutions, nutraceutical brands can effectively manage the shelf-life of their products:

  • Batching: By selling products within the same batch together, brands can ensure that products with the earliest expiration dates are prioritized for sale. This follows the FEFO (First Expire, First Out) approach and reduces the risk of products expiring on the shelf. Leading brands like Oziva are using this functionality as part of their inventory management strategy to minimize the risk of product expiration. 
  • Automated Alerts: Set up systems that notify when products are nearing their expiration dates.
  • Inventory Segmentation: Categorize products based on their shelf life and storage requirements. Store and handle products with shorter shelf lives on different shelves to prevent them from expiring prematurely.
  • Regular Review: Periodically review inventory to identify and remove expired products.

Challenge #3: Managing Growth of SKUs

As the nutraceutical industry grows, companies are introducing a wide variety of products. Take the case of Power Gummies, which currently offers various gummy supplements, including ones for hair, nails, and sleep. Most recently, Power Gummies has recently launched ‘Power Gummies Junior,’ a line designed specifically for younger consumers. 

This excessive diversification of product variations within a brand’s product line is a significant challenge in the nutraceutical industry. A larger number of SKUs means more complex inventory management processes. Each SKU may have its own demand patterns, shelf-life considerations, and requirements, making it difficult to streamline operations.

Solution: The following strategies can be used to address the challenge of SKU proliferation in the nutraceutical industry:

  • Segmentation: Categorize SKUs based on various factors like demand, profitability, or shelf life. This helps prioritize and manage inventory more effectively.
  • Regular SKU Rationalization: Periodically review and discontinue low-performing SKUs to maintain a manageable product range.
  • Technology Integration: Use inventory management software that can handle a large number of SKUs efficiently.

Challenge #4: Traceability and Serialization

In the nutraceutical industry, ensuring the traceability of each product is very important. Traceability involves the ability to track and trace products at various stages of order processing, while serialization pertains to assigning unique identifiers to individual items or packages. 

It is vital for product safety, as it allows for the swift identification and removal of potentially unsafe items. Furthermore, many countries require nutraceutical products to have serialization to meet regulatory standards and demonstrate product safety, making it a non-negotiable aspect of operations in the industry.

Solution: To efficiently trace every product in the nutraceutical industry, consider implementing the following solutions:

Implement an advanced inventory management system capable of accommodating various types of traceability requirements:

  • Item-Level Traceability: Assign unique identifiers (such as barcodes or QR codes) to individual nutraceutical items. This enables precise tracking of each product throughout its lifecycle.
  • SKU-Level Traceability: Extend traceability to the SKU level, ensuring that entire product batches can be traced back to their origins. Kapiva, a modern ayurvedic nutrition product brand, is already leveraging SKU-level traceability to enhance transparency in its supply chain.

Challenge #5: Storage Space Optimization

Optimizing storage space is a significant inventory management challenge. Nutraceutical products often come in various shapes and sizes, including bottles, jars, and blister packs, and they may have specific temperature and humidity requirements. 

Some nutraceutical products require climate-controlled storage, adding complexity to inventory management and potentially increasing storage costs. Nutraceutical products may require specific storage conditions like refrigeration or controlled room temperature to keep their effectiveness. Ensuring these conditions are met is essential to preserve the quality of the products and ensure they are safe for consumers.

Solution: Consider implementing the following solutions for efficient space optimization:

  • Shelf Management: Invest in shelf management systems that can be configured to accommodate various product sizes and shapes, maximizing vertical storage space.
  • Temperature-Controlled Storage: Create dedicated areas or zones within your warehouse for temperature-sensitive products.
  • Inventory Segmentation: Categorize products based on their storage requirements, such as temperature, humidity, or shelf life. Store similar products together to minimize handling and reduce the risk of errors.

Let’s Achieve Inventory Excellence with Unicommerce!

In the ever-evolving nutraceutical industry, effective inventory management is key to success. Harnessing the power of a robust Inventory Management System can empower nutraceutical brands to conquer the above-mentioned challenges effectively. These solutions offer seamless integrations and streamline stock control across various platforms, paving the path to inventory excellence!

Frequently Asked Questions about the Indian Nutraceuticals Market

1. What is the approximate worth of the Indian Nutraceuticals Market?
In 2023, the Indian Nutraceuticals Market was valued at around $6.11 Billion.

2. What is the rate at which the Indian Nutraceuticals Market is expanding?
The Indian Nutraceuticals Market is experiencing a growth rate of 11.3%, and it is projected to reach an estimated value of $11.8 Billion by 2029.

3. What is the predicted value of the Indian Nutraceuticals Market?
By 2029, the Indian Nutraceuticals Market is anticipated to reach a value of $11.8 Billion.

4. Which companies play a significant role in the Indian Nutraceuticals Market?
Prominent players in the Indian Nutraceuticals Market comprise Haleon Plc., Dabur India Limited, Abbott India Limited, Bayer India Limited, Merck India Limited, Himalaya Wellness Company, Amway India, Baidyanath Group, Bigflex, Power Gummies, Kapiva, BigMuscles Nutrition, GNC, Oziva, and Plix.

5. What are the challenges the India Nutraceuticals Market faces in the upcoming years?
Regulatory Compliance, Quality Control, Consumer Education, and Competition and Branding are some of the significant challenges faced by the India Nutraceuticals Market in the upcoming years.

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