India has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition globally, with a considerable population of children receiving less nutrition than they require. The situation is so serious that the Indian government announced the Food Fortification Initiative in October 2016 to improve the overall nutritional profile of the people.

When it comes to the multivitamins and supplements industry, India has seen a couple of companies revamping the formats of launches that are aimed at children; perhaps in an effort to ensure that these young consumers see them less as medicine and more as treats. Mimicking confectionery, the multivitamins and supplements are made tastier for children who can be fussy eaters, with the packaging designed to be more appealing to this demographic, for instance by adding drawings onto the pack. This way, children will be encouraged to consume these “less than appealing” medicines, and in turn, are provided with the nutritional intake that they need.

Super Gummy, a brand from Hyderabad-based Genmedic Healthcare, offers consumers supplements that retail in a chewable gum candy format. Available in four different flavours—guava, mango, orange and strawberry—each variant gives a different blend of nutritional supplements. According to the company, the gummy tablets are made using beta carboneta and various natural fruit and vegetable colours to ensure they are safe for children to consume. What’s more, Genmedic Healthcare also claims that the glucose and sugar levels in the supplements are below the daily recommended doses. One of the most interesting aspects of this range is that each tablet is wrapped like an individual piece of candy.

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Super Gummy, Glorious Guava Flavoured Chewable Multi-Vitamins: This product is targeted at children, helping to build total health. It is said to contain vitamins that are essential for the absorption of all vital nutrients and is equivalent to 16 vitamins and minerals present in leafy vegetables, nuts, fruit and eggs. This vegetarian supplement claims to be made with real fruits and natural colours, and contains less sugar. It is also free from fat, gelatin, milk, soy, nuts and preservatives. The product retails in a 102g pack, containing 30 gummies.

Meanwhile, another format that has been explored by companies in the sector is supplements that are made in the form of chocolate confectionery. Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla offers such a product that retails as a pack of 30 chocolate bites, aimed at building the immunity levels of children aged seven and up. In particular, the supplement features ingredients including cocoa solids and butterscotch sprinkles (made of sugar, cashew, butter and salt, among others) to aid its positioning as a ‘choco bite’.

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Cipla ActivKids, Immuno Boosters Choco Bites Supplement: This supplement product contains vitamins A, B6, B9, B12, C and D, along with iron and zinc. It claims to help build immune strength to protect from germs; to have a positive effect in blood formation on immunity; and in immune cell formation and their activity. It is also said to help protect body cells against damage caused by free radicals; and help build the first line of defence against germ attack.

What we think

With only a limited number of brands innovating in this direction, there is a definite opportunity for Indian companies in the multivitamins and supplements industry to launch products in formats that are in sync with what will appeal to children. This way, India’s children can be better encouraged to take their medicine, fulfilling their nutritional requirements from a young age—an important priority for Indian parents today.

Ranjana Sundaresan is a Senior Research Analyst at Mintel based in the India office, and has been with the company since 2011. She currently specialises in analysing global consumer trends with an Indian focus in the Food and Drink sector—as well as global trend observations as part of Mintel’s Trends team.

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