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Factors that drive growth in the nutraceutical industry in the South Asian region
Thursday, 25 August, 2022, 13 : 00 PM [IST]
Sumel Ashique
The South East Asia nutraceutical excipients market size was estimated at $547.28 million in 2017. Recent advances in bioactive food components and functional foods used as nutrition supplements are anticipated to drive demand.

The Southeast Asian (SEA) market is diversified in nature and the population here exhibits a greater reliance on functional foods in order to manage lifestyle associated diseases. Growing demand for nutraceuticals in several SEA countries has earned this region the status of a hub for innovation in functional foods and new ingredients.

Competitive economies in this region have been attracting global players with immense growth potential and lower risk outlooks. The process of creating a regulatory framework for harmonised health supplements was started in 2004 by the 10 ASEAN governments and was completed in 2015.

The ASEAN Alliance of Health Supplement Associations is engaged in the study of this regulatory framework for safety, quality, and labelling of nutraceuticals/health supplements. The harmonisation of regulatory standards is a significant step toward simplifying international trade activities in the region.

Factors that are driving the market growth include recent advances in bioactive food components, growing demand for innovative functional foods, and rising awareness among the population pertaining to disease management.

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Trends in nutraceuticals in SEA countries
Rising awareness amongst the population pertaining to disease management and prevention using nutraceuticals has resulted in increased demand. The expansion of the wellness industry is also expected to fuel growth prospects over the forecast period. Protecting and safeguarding the nutrient value of a nutraceutical is a major challenge for manufacturers.

However, research initiatives are on in the chemical industry to overcome such challenges, and this is anticipated to drive the market. Emerging trends in nutraceuticals have created a demand for molecules with multiple functionalities to improve manufacturing processes. Technological innovations are being implemented to develop molecules that improve nutraceutical efficacy.

For instance, the development of multifunctional excipients in order to gain the combined advantages of bulk excipients. Nutricosmetics - a blend of cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals - is expected to witness substantial growth with an expanding aging population base. Investments in novel formulations for aesthetic appeal have further strengthened demand in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

However, fewer investments have been observed in some markets by several multinational excipient manufacturers over the past few years, except in the area of specialty excipients. This could threaten market growth in the long run.

Factors in the growth of the nutraceuticals industry
1. Robust Popularity of Supplementation as a Form of Preventive Care among the Consumers to Fuel the Market
The food supplements market growth is fueled by growing consumer awareness regarding the consumption of supplements for preventive care. Hectic schedules of adults and the aging population in Southeast Asia have led to a significant rise in the incidences of lifestyle-related diseases.

As a result, healthcare costs are rising exponentially and thus the consumers are convinced about the supplementation concept in preventing deteriorative health conditions. Micronutrients-based supplements continue to dominate the regional landscape in Southeast Asia; the traditional delivery system in the form of tablets and capsules are still considered convenient and relevant despite increasing competition from powder-based and liquid formats.

Herbal supplements in the form of soft gel capsules are witnessing decent growth trajectory owing to higher solubility, bioavailability, portion-controlled dosage, and economical production process. Clean label claims and sustainably sourced ingredients are further expected to contribute to the growing sales traction of such supplements.

2. Increasing Consumer Awareness and Sportification' of Non-athletes to Broaden Market Outlook
Mainstreaming of sports nutrition products is one of the leading food supplements market trends. Endorsements by well-known athletes and intensive marketing tactics have created a sporty image of supplements. The popularity of sports nutrition products among regular exercisers and hobbyists as a lifestyle choice is fueling the market in the region.

The supplement sector in the nutrition space has thus witnessed an exponential rise in the protein-related health claims, which was initially limited to athletes and professionals in the body-building.

The sportiness image of dietary supplements have provided them a competitive edge amongst other categories of nutraceuticals - consumers are inclined to opt for such curated supplements even if they don't exercise or play any sport regularly. This transition of sporty supplements with growing demand from consumers who want to support their active lifestyles with the utilisation of such products is fueling the market sentiments of dietary supplements.

3. Vitamin Dietary Supplements to Dominate the Southeast Asian Marketplace; Fatty Acids to Witness Fastest Growth

Vitamins are the leading type of dietary supplements in Southeast Asia, owing to a higher demand for vitamin supplements among consumers. Around two-thirds of the smokers and one-third of the non-smokers fail to get the Estimated Average Requirements (EAR), for vitamin C, though it is relatively easy to obtain from food products. Lack of Vitamin C in food and body will lead to weakness and reduced energy levels. Most of the adults lack Vitamin E, which impacts the immune function directly.

Three-quarters of childbearing women lack vital vitamins in their body and diet which affects their endurance, cognitive function, and physical capability. These are certain instances in which the consumption of vitamins as dietary supplements is required and supports its large share in this market. Many fatty acids cannot be synthesised by the body, requiring an external dosage of them. Fatty acids such as omega 3, cannot be synthesised by humans and are called essential fatty acids.

They possess various health benefits and properties such as anti-inflammatory. Many types of fatty acids fall under the category of essential fatty acids and have to be consumed in the form of supplements. This particular factor is responsible for the faster growth of fatty acids in the dietary supplements market.

4. Indonesia to Lead the Southeast Asia Dietary Supplements Market with Fastest Growth Projection

The Indonesian dietary supplements market will register the fastest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.98% during 2019-2026 owing to the large population base of the country. Followed by the increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases and nutrient deficiency among consumers in the country.

Indonesia is the world's 4th most populous economy and half of its population consists of youth who are willing to spend on health supplements to remain healthy and enhance their quality of life, thereby aiding the dominance of the country in the Southeast Asia dietary supplements market share. The demand for iron, multivitamins, and omega-3 supplements is incredibly high in Indonesia as a considerable number of infants, children, and pregnant women are deficient in these nutrients.

Most of these supplements are available in tablet and capsule forms as they are easily transportable (in bulk) and are highly preferred by the people of the country due to their economical pricing structure. The demand for vitamin E, Vitamin A, and collagen supplement capsules is rapidly increasing, especially among the aging population of the country, as these nutrients are believed to reduce the effects of aging on the skin, support bone and joint health, and enhance endurance.

To this end, market players such as Nu Skin, Kalbe Farma, Amway, and Herbalife are actively focusing on strengthening their R&D and marketing skills to remain prominent in the country's market.

The dietary supplements segment displayed a major share in the worldwide nutraceuticals market in 2021. Dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, and protein are the most frequently used nutraceuticals worldwide. Their acceptance has augmented rapidly in the earlier few years.

Many studies have suggested that dietary supplements can enhance health, reimburse for unhealthy eating ways, and also lessen risk of developing chronic ailments. Moreover, factors such as easy availability and low cost augment the demand for dietary supplements.

(The author is assistant professor, Bharat Institute of Technology [BIT], School of Pharmacy, Meerut. He can be reached at ashiquesumel007@gmail.com)
 
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