Evolving consumer needs during COVID-19 has prompted a slew of companies to look at ayurvedic products.
Also, with government guidelines advising people to consume turmeric and giloy to prevent infection, demand for ayurvedic products have increased.
To capitalise on the demand for such products, fast-moving consumer goods companies (FMCG) such as Marico, Dabur and Amul have already come up with many products of ayurvedic concoctions.
Last month, Marico announced its foray into the Chyawanprash category, with the launch of Saffola Arogyam Chyawan Amrut Awaleha. Amul launched turmeric milk, ginger milk and tulsi milk in July, while in August it launched Immuno Chakra Ice Cream — the Health trinity of Haldi-Ginger-Tulsi in tri-colour Ice Cream stick and Star Anise Milk. Dabur launched Dabur Haldi Drops.
While there are already players such as Dabur that are known for Chyawanprash, Marico launched an enhanced variant of the traditional Chyawanprash with ingredients that consists of Ayush Kwath herbs, ashwagandha, turmeric, giloy and 50 percent more amla.
Marico saffola Honey
Marico also recently launched another immunity-boosting product Saffola honey. It has also launched the Saffola Immuniveda range of Kadha Mix and Golden Turmeric Milk Mix.
“Amidst the global pandemic, individuals have reset their routines to incorporate a healthier lifestyle that boost their immunity. They are increasingly looking for innovative and value-added solutions from trusted brands to support their health needs,” said Sanjay Mishra, Chief Operating Officer, India Sales & Chief Executive Officer, New Business, Marico Ltd.
Demand for immunity-boosting products is evident from Dabur’s healthcare portfolio, which contributes 38 percent to its total sales. In the first quarter of FY21, Dabur, in its results, had indicated that Glucose and Chyawanprash boosted the healthcare portfolio.
In Q1 (Apr-June) of FY21, its healthcare business grew by 29.2 percent YoY to Rs 532 crore, but its other businesses such as home and personal care segment registered a 14.9 percent decline YoY at Rs 679 crore and foods division saw a 34.4 percent fall at Rs 203 crore in the quarter.
Ayurvedic healthcare products
Even in the second quarter of FY21, the company reported robust healthcare numbers. According to the press release, robust performance was driven by demand for its ayurvedic healthcare, hygiene and nutrition products.
“Healthcare, particularly the portfolio of our immunity-boosting products, continues to be the outperformer for Dabur. This is also in line with our strategy of focussing on the consumer health categories,” Mohit Malhotra, Chief Executive Officer, Dabur India, said in an earnings press release.
The Health Supplements business for Dabur reported a 70.8 percent growth during Q2 of 2020-21. The ayurvedic OTC range grew by over 56 percent while the Ayurvedic Ethicals business ended Q2 with an over 26 percent growth.
N Chandramouli, CEO of TRA Research, a consumer analytics and brand insights company, said that fear and health concerns are critical right now.
“We have been talking to a lot of nutraceutical companies–those that make wellness products. They have been saying that immunity-boosting products are the only thing that has seen a 40 percent YoY growth,” Chandramouli said.
“Immunity has become the mainstay of everything right now, because we know the disease is still there and the first line of defence is immunity. It is something which is there on everybody’s mind for the last seven months or so. Companies are capitalising and bringing in products which are immunity-based,” he added.
Are they clinically validated?
Among immunity-boosters, there are two different variations. One is nutraceuticals that are sold as dietary supplements and functional foods requiring approval of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), and ayurveda immunity-boosters come under the ambit of the Ministry of AYUSH.
“Nutraceuticals require scientific validation, and there will be certain pathways for approvals. The applications for marketing authorisation will be asked about the dosage and recommended dietary allowance (RDA), among others,” said RB Smarta, Founder and Managing Director of Interlink Marketing Consulting.
The approval process of ayurveda immunity-boosters are relatively simple. They have backed up the claims with the support of the existing body of literature.
Smarta says companies are cleverly packaging the age-old wisdom into modern formulations, and cashing out. “All spices in Indian kitchens have immunity- boosting capacity,” Smarta said.
Karan Daftary, Director, Business Development at SIRO, Clinpharm, one of India’s oldest clinical research organisation (CRO), says they are getting enquiries and are working with FMCG companies to help them design and implement clinical trials or undertake review of scientific literature backing their products.“It’s important to have scientific validation and marketing the message correctly,” Daftary said.