It was a telling moment to witness the genesis of one of India’s greatest-ever athletes in a recent Bollywood biopic – the initial inspiration for Milkha Singh to win his first race was the promise of getting a daily dose of milk. That was the 1950s, and until recently, the perception of milk providing all necessary nutrition was deeply rooted. Today, it is supplemented by evidence of the benefits that science-based nutritional supplements provide.
Nutritional supplementation is a fast-moving segment and it is science, primarily, that provides differentiation between the products available; from those that offer complete, balanced nutrition to those that are milk taste-enhancers.
The understanding of the benefits of nutritional supplementation has also evolved. Companies offering science-based nutrition were not all that common during Milkha’s era (exception: Abbott Nutrition, which has been developing science-based nutritional products for over 85 years). Today, consumers realise that nutrition is not to be equated with milk, flavours and taste-enhancers alone. Product benefits focus on the quality of the ingredients (proteins, vitamins and other micro-nutrients), the quality of manufacture, how they are blended to ensure absorption, and how they are packaged to ensure product stability and integrity during transit.
Gone are the days when the whole family used the same nutritional supplement – products are now specifically designed to meet differing nutritional needs at different stages in life – e.g. a child who is a picky eater, those in need of nutritional support as they age, or those with specific medical needs. Medical nutrition supplements today can provide critical nutritional support for patients with diabetes, cancer or kidney disease.
Because India is different from other markets, consumer preferences and tastes are also often different. A belief that local insight into product creation and solutions that are relevant and suitable to the Indian consumer’s needs was the driving force behind Abbott Nutrition’s recent opening of a dedicated R&D centre in Bangalore.
|In many ways, as we evolve, it is science that will shape the segment’s growth. However, the science behind products needs to be explained properly to relevant stakeholders. It is in this area where the awareness and education through portals such as ‘NuFFooDS Spectrum’ will make a significant difference.
I look forward to ‘NuFFooDS Spectrum’ soon becoming an active voice in the sector and help position India as a leader in science-based nutrition.
Here’s wishing ‘NuFFooDS Spectrum’ great success!