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Today, the concept of beauty from within seems to be finding favour among Indian consumers as new research from the world’s leading market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that 28% of vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) users are taking them to improve their appearance including hair, skin and nails. While VMS consumption for appearance is low, it seems beauty could be at the heart of market growth.

According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), functional claims like ‘skin, hair and nails’ (14%), ‘beauty benefits’ (7%) and ‘anti-ageing’ (5%) are some of the beauty claims seen among the VMS launches in India between 2014-18.

While Mintel research reveals that the overall consumption of VMS in India is relatively low, with only 37%* of Indians consuming VMS, the demand for natural ingredients is strong. Indeed, almost a quarter (24%) of Indians feel that VMS should be formulated using only natural ingredients. Research from Mintel GNPD also shows that ‘vegetarian’ (67%), ‘botanical/herbal’ (61%) and ‘all natural product’ (31%) were the top three claims seen in new product launches in India’s VMS category between 2016-18.

Rimpie Panjwani, Senior Beauty and Personal Care Analyst, India, at Mintel, said:

There is growth potential for VMS products featuring functional beauty claims as there currently exists a gap in the market for beauty products like ingestible VMS that work in unison with topical products to offer holistic solutions for beauty and wellness. However, brands promoting appearance-boosting benefits must mention the specific expected outcome from taking the supplement, not a generic or all-purpose enhancement. Furthermore, Indian consumers show a strong inclination towards natural products, which can be attributed to the familiarity of Ayurveda and trust in natural ingredients like ginger, turmeric, ashwagandha, and kesar. This has led to a strong preference for natural VMS remedies derived from fruits and vegetables, as well as those with free-from claims. Brands can look to explore and innovate with botanicals and herbs within VMS based on traditional knowledge.”

Opportunities exist for holistic health and beauty VMS

Given the hectic lifestyle of today’s consumer, almost a quarter (24%) of Indians feel it is difficult to get the required vitamins and minerals from diet alone, Mintel research reveals. And it seems there exists an opportunity for home test kits as one in five (19%) consumers say that they are interested in using a home-testing kit to identify their nutrient deficiencies.

“Today, feeling good about oneself is not restricted to outer appearance, but is a combination of factors like gut health, energy levels, a healthy immune system, and positive body image. Educating consumers about the idea of holistic health and that beauty is a combination of what they apply topically, along with what they eat, will prove beneficial for brands in India. Companies can offer a more end-to-end wellness routine through at-home-testing kits to help consumers diagnose their nutrient deficiencies, as well as convenient access to nutrition by delivering VMS benefits in fortified packaged food formats. Brands can promote edible VMS in formats such as tea, snacks, juice, and yogurt—all of which are consumed regularly in India,” continued Rimpie.

Need for format innovation and easy access to nutrition

Mintel research reveals that nearly half (47%) of Indian consumers use VMS based on doctors’ recommendations. In addition, recommendations by brands and experts (23%) are considered important for Indian consumers when purchasing VMS.

Meanwhile, when it comes to formats of VMS products, over three in five (62%) VMS users prefer them in a tablet form.

“Vitamins and supplements are regarded as medicinal in India and, for many, only consumed if prescribed by a doctor, which is likely the reason why consumers prefer them in tablet formats. However, brands can help change this image by formulating new and indulgent formats like including VMS in drinks, sauces, on-trend spices, or vegetable dishes. Snack options like chips, cookies, bars, and cakes with fortified nutrients also have the potential to help make VMS a part of consumers’ regular diet.”

“Our research also shows that to drive consumption among today’s Indians, brands should leverage word-of-mouth and social media channels to build brand image as consumers also seek recommendations by experts and brand when purchasing VMS,” concluded Rimpie.

*3,000 Indian adults aged 18+

Press review copies of Mintel’s Vitamins & Supplements – Indian Consumer Report and interviews with Rimpie Panjwani, Senior Beauty and Personal Care Analyst, India, at Mintel, are available on request from the Mintel Press Office.