“Most nutritional products targeting Indian women & child health market are not really healthy”

“Most nutritional products targeting Indian women & child health market are not really healthy”

Woman and child health segment is one of the markets most targeted by nutritional product companies in India. While the products range from vitamin supplements to nutraceuticals and functional health foods, the majority of these products are sold through over-the-counter or consumer health route. Hence, the marketing strategy is largely media-driven and consumers are often misguided by claims, which are not proved or supported by scientific studies. This, says Kishan A Rao, Chief Executive Officer, LifeSurge BioSciences Pvt Ltd, prompted his firm to target the market with a handful of products strongly supported by science and marketed through purely ethical routes.

Why do you say that the women and child nutrition market is not adequately addressed?

In India, this market is still mostly driven by over-the-counter or consumer health products, which are mostly promoted through media-driven strategies and not often by scientifically supported or medically endorsed channels. Therefore, the promotional claims are largely misguiding, and the consumer does not really benefit from using them. Rather, some of those products even do harm to the consumer as they contain excess sugar or colours.

 How are you going to make a difference? 

 The changed lifestyle and food habits in India have led to serious health problems. Fast-food that is less in nutritional values have caused vitamin and mineral deficiencies in children. Though people eat adequately, the food that they eat doesn’t provide essential nutrients. Making the situation worse, the so-called food supplements and even nutraceuticals, especially addressed to the infant and child segment, give prominence to taste and visual attraction. So, I can say without a doubt that most of the so-called health and nutrition products that are currently available in the market are not really healthy. Therefore, we believe that there is a need for products that will really address these issues with the support of research and even using traditional knowledge. We have some products, currently in the development pipeline, which will help make a difference in the market. We don’t claim that these products are from basic research or introduced for the first time in the world. But we are sure that they will be unique, and we will have the first-mover advantage even if they get copied, going by the typical Indian business mindset. 

 What is the launch plan and is there any timeline?    

 We have tied up with some exclusive manufacturing partners, who are also helping us with product development as they also have good research and development facilities. We expect the products to come to market in another six to eight months. The products will be priced competitively, matching the price-sensitive market. The company will also introduce some pharma products with certain unique delivery forms. We want to market all these products through ethical or medical endorsement route. 

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