“Indian market is opening up to natural ingredients” – Prasanth Manikoth

Naturex, a global player in specialty plant-based natural ingredients, through its dedicated business units, Food & Beverage, Nutrition & Health, and Personal Care, offers its customers a full array of high quality ingredients, responsibly sourced from nature for food, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmetic applications. Head quartered at Avignon, France, Naturex employs more than 1,400 people and benefits from 8 sourcing offices around the world and high-performance manufacturing operations across 15 sites in Europe, Morocco, the United States, Brazil, Australia, and India. It also has a global commercial presence through a dedicated network of sales offices in more than 20 countries. Last year Naturex acquired Mumbai based Valentine Agro and entered the Indian market in a big way. In an interaction with NuFFooDS Spectrum, Prasanth Manikoth, Regional Sales Manager – India and Middle East, Naturex shared his thoughts about the trends, challenges and opportunities for ingredients companies in India. Excerpts of the interview.

In the last 10 years Naturex had acquired 10 companies from different parts of the world. What were the driving factors for Naturex to acquire Valentine Agro in India?

Naturex was selling some ingredients to the Food and Beverage industry, but we needed a base to reach out to all sectors of this emerging market. Valentine Agro was an ideal choice not just because it was well-known and firmly established in the Indian market, but also because its product profile was in line with Naturex’s portfolio. Being locally present is a big factor in attracting customers.

Valentine Agro added a list of key customers in India. The sales office located in Mumbai, an area of major importance to customers, along with the manufacturing site in Roha constituted a very good combination for introducing Naturex locally. Naturex can now easily operate from its Mumbai office, addressing the needs of different sectors, and following up closely with customers and prospects.

How do you see India as a market for the range of ingredients on offer from your company?

The Indian market is opening up to natural ingredients in all sectors. The Food and Beverage sector is already doing well with a clientele list of all top multinationals. We are into the Nutrition and Health market at the right time when more and more local Pharma and Multi Level Marketing (MLM) companies are keen to launch new products, including both generic and science-based, clinically proven Nutra products.

According to you, what is the current size of the Indian ingredients market for various industries? Who are the major players and their market share?

With an estimated value of $121 billion for the 2012 fiscal year, India’s food processing industry accounts for 32% of the total food market. India has become one of the most important destinations for food investment with the food industry growing at a 17% annual rate.

What are the current trends you see in Indian ingredients market?

Naturalness is a key trend across the entire Industry – Food and Beverage, Nutrition and Health, and Personal Care. Currently, we are seeing lots of requests for soft health claims in the beverage industry.

What are the challenges before the ingredients players in India and what steps do you suggest overcoming these difficulties?

One of the main challenges facing ingredient players is the shift from synthetic to natural, including the associated cost, regulation, and the relatively limited list of approved natural ingredients. In addition, transport difficulties mean that delivery is often delayed due to bad road conditions; weather conditions may also have an impact on product stability during transport. Finally, problems such as lack of air conditioning mean that customer storage conditions are not always compliant with product specifications and can affect stability.

– Narayan Kulkarni

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