“Things are changing and India is planning to take a more supportive standpoint on nutraceuticals”

Globally, the nutraceuticals market is projected to reach $446.35 billion in 2027. In light of the growing acceptance of health supplements, Indian companies have been introducing new nutraceuticals to cater to various consumer health needs. Meanwhile, global players are actively innovating in this space and entering the Indian market. One such player is Blackmores, a natural health company headquartered in Australia. Leveraging their expertise in vitamins, minerals, herbs and nutrients, Blackmores develops high-quality products and services along with global health experts at the Blackmores Institute. Puneet Sood, Country Manager, Blackmores, discussed the latest updates related to the company in a conversation with nuFFooDS Spectrum.

When did Blackmores enter the Indian market? 

Blackmores is a leading Australian natural health company that was established in the 1930s by Maurice Blackmore, a pioneering naturopath and visionary pharmacist. The brand entered the Indian market in October 2021 to cater to the growing nutraceuticals market. We had been focusing on India as a market to enter since 2018 as it is a key territory with sizeable audience to address and a comparatively higher awareness about nature’s healing powers. In the last few years, we had seen how a preventive and proactive approach to healthcare had driven the demand for cleaner foods, and transparency about the ingredients that are used to manufacture the products that people buy. This growth in demand for natural products backed by strong scientific evidence and research was in sync with Blackmores’ vision of empowering people to take well-informed health and wellbeing decisions. Our products proved to be a perfect fit for the quality and effectiveness-conscious audience. However, the pandemic delayed our launch plans and we eventually introduced our products in October 2021. 

How many products of Blackmores are available in India? Please share details of these products.

Blackmores currently offers seven products in India, including fish oil, ultra-refined black-seed oil, and bio calcium tablets. These products are available on leading ecommerce platforms such as Amazon India, Flipkart, Nykaa, PharmEasy, NetMeds, Tata 1 MG, Healthkart, Nutrabay, and Health XP. They are also available through retail partners such as Wellness Forever, Apollo Pharmacy, Noble Plus, Frank Ross, and Guardian. 

Our product Blackmores Bio Calcium provides a high-quality, concentrated source of calcium, plus vitamin D3 to help maintain the health of bones and teeth. With 500 mg of elemental calcium in each tablet, this product has the highest levels of calcium in the market. Another product, Blackmores Blue Light Defence, supports healthy eye function through its scientifically formulated antioxidant formula. 

We also have Blackmores CoQ10 150 mg, which provides coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), an antioxidant enzyme naturally concentrated in the metabolically active organs, especially the heart. Blackmores CoQ10 150 mg supports a healthy cardiovascular system, maintaining healthy blood fats and blood vessel health. Supplementing a daily diet with Blackmores CoQ10 150 mg can boost energy levels, cardiovascular health and general health and wellbeing as we age. Moreover, Blackmores Fish Oil 1000 mg Odourless Capsules are an ideal supplement for vegetarian Indian adults and children and also for those who don’t eat the recommended diet of sea-fish 2-3 times a week. It is an excellent source of Omega 3 and supports cardiovascular, brain, eye, nervous system and skin health, supporting general wellbeing and healthy growth and development in children.

Blackmores Glucosogreen 1500 provides a vegetarian and scientifically validated source of glucosamine to support healthy joint cartilage production and relieve symptoms of mild arthritis, mild joint aches and pains and mild joint stiffness. Whereas Blackmores Shine Power D3 provides vitamin D3 in a capsule format for those who do not get enough sunlight. Vitamin D3 supports healthy immune system function and healthy bone development and helps maintain muscle strength and health. Apart from other things, Vitamin D is also important in maintaining the body’s immune health.

Lastly, Blackmores Ultra Refined Black Seed Oil is a high-potency, quality-sourced, cold-pressed black seed oil in a convenient capsule format. This vegetarian, pure, ultra-refined black seed oil has multi-action benefits, provides a natural source of omega fatty acids, and supports healthy immune and antioxidant functions.

In the coming months, we plan to expand the product range to 10 and these would be variants of our fish oil products. For instance, the existing fish oil pills in the market are large in size which could be difficult for some people to swallow. The new product would be a smaller capsule, and there is also a variant with a higher concentration of fish oil as well as one calcium supplement in the works. We are also looking at manufacturing our formulations locally in India to cater to the domestic market as well as for the global audience. 

How are these products unique when compared to other products already available in the market? 

The Indian nutraceuticals market is dominated by two key product categories which are fish oil supplements and multivitamins. These two product categories alone account for about 60 per cent of the market size currently. From a consumer perspective, there is a need to drive awareness about the need for nutrients such as Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Omega 3 fatty acids. Despite plenty of access to natural foods and sunlight, the majority of the Indians are found deficient in these nutrients and remain oblivious to the need for supplements. Not only that, the existing nutraceuticals and dietary supplements often failed to invoke adequate trust due to a lack of transparency about ingredients and effectiveness. At Blackmores, we have consistently focused on empowering people with knowledge and access to the true power of nature’s curing powers and enabling them to live a better quality of life through our high-quality products. This access to world-class products is a market gap which exists in India, and we are currently aiming to cover it across all Tier-I cities in the country, and for all the people in the longer run. 

Do you have an R&D facility or manufacturing facility in India?

Currently, we do not have an R&D or manufacturing facility in India. Although globally Blackmores has collaborations with leading institutes, universities, healthcare professionals and natural healthcare advocacy groups that give the company an unmatched scientific understanding of natural ingredients and formulations. To fulfil the brand’s commitment to quality, our products pass over 30 pre-market tests and checks and are made using high-quality ingredients sourced from different parts of the world. All the raw materials are laboratory-tested for their identity, purity and potency. The company also has a stringent auditing process for raw material suppliers and manufacturing facilities with all the products manufactured to exceed the high Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) standards. The Australian government’s TGA standards ensure that therapeutic goods available in Australia are safe and fit for their intended purpose.

What is the size of your team in India?

Currently, we have a small team of around 10 people operating out of India. In Asia Pacific, Blackmores is present in 13 markets with over 750 employees and annual revenue of $649 million. It is the strong emphasis on best quality and adequate backing of scientific evidence that has made Blackmores a market leader in Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Blackmores also has an academic and professional arm called the Blackmores Institute that aims to improve and promote high-quality natural medicine. There is a large team of researchers, academics, healthcare professionals, and educators as well as more than 40 technical experts that constantly strive to further finetune the offerings and conduct path-breaking research to develop new solutions. 

What are your views on the regulatory constraints of selling nutraceuticals/ dietary supplements in India?

The regulations in the nutraceuticals segment are very different in India. For instance, multivitamins which are one of the highest-selling nutraceuticals, have different formulation rules and limitations under FSSAI rules in India compared to the other markets. Globally, we have a range of over 200 products, but in India, we have so far launched only seven and are going to expand it to 10 products soon. However, things are changing and the government is planning to take a more supportive standpoint on nutraceuticals and to separate the segment from food or pharmaceuticals regulations. In the last couple of years, a lot of good work has been done by the government and we expect changes to be seen in the next year or so. 

Have you launched your products in other Asian countries? Which ones?

In the year 1938, Maurice set up the first Blackmores naturopathic clinic in Brisbane, Australia to start formulating and dispensing natural remedies to his patients. With time, the remedies achieved great success and Blackmores expanded its range of natural health products to include supplements, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc. Blackmores is now renowned and respected in the Australian as well as international markets for its high-quality, evidence-based natural health products. Today, Blackmores has a rich legacy of over 90 years of research and development of products and has achieved market leadership in Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand, and a strong presence in 12 markets in the region with revenue of $649 million. 

What opportunities and challenges are in store for the nutraceuticals/ dietary supplements market in Asia, particularly India in the coming years?

In recent years, there has been a lot of emphasis on nature-based wellness and nutrition products in India. Consumers are increasingly focusing on the goodness of natural ingredients to boost body functions and immunity instead of going for conventional pharmaceuticals. This is partly driven by the experience of the pandemic, and also due to the understanding of climate change events, and know-how about the natural ways of living proving to be more sustainable and healthy. 

The nutraceuticals market has grown stronger in recent years with greater awareness and acceptance among global audiences about the power of nature. People are focusing more on preventive care and living healthy through natural means, and that’s driving the nutraceuticals market in countries like India, where it is growing at an impressive CAGR of 29.5 per cent currently and is expected to continue at that pace until 2027. The market is currently valued at around $5 billion to $6 billion, and a lot of international players are now entering India. 

The Government of India has also taken various steps to provide regulatory support and introduce friendly policies such as the recent FSS (Nutra) regulations, 2022 which will help brands like Blackmores create formulations that can be manufactured in India. For instance, we hope to manufacture our multivitamins in the country in times ahead and might set up a manufacturing plant in the long term. With further innovation and research in the future and a supportive environment, the nutraceuticals industry is set to grow bigger with consumers opening up to try out different supplements for their specific needs. 

Dr Manbeena Chawla


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