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Preventive health and holistic wellbeing is on top of the minds of Indians, especially post pandemic. According to Mintel’s latest research, 75%* Indians agree that consuming vitamins, minerals and supplements regularly helps them achieve overall health and wellness. In fact, more than three-fourths (76%) Indian consumers agree that VMS can provide necessary nutrition missing in one’s diet and for 37 out of 50 Indians, regular consumption of VMS helps in preventing illnesses and diseases.

Tulsi Joshi, Senior Food & Drink Analyst, India said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed traditional approaches to illness management. Consumers have been prioritising health and wellness, resulting in increased spends on healthcare products. The pandemic has also increased demand for products that provide immune system support.

Hectic lifestyles, especially in urban centres, have taken a heavy toll on mental health and many actively look for ways to cope with their high-stress environment. VMS brands can offer mental health benefits by highlighting ingredients that support peaceful sleep, help boost moods and relieve stress. VMS adoption can be a medium to encourage and drive the message of self-care and prevention as part of holistic wellbeing.

VMS companies will play a pivotal role in educating consumers about nutritional deficiencies and the role of VMS in providing adequate nutrition. Brands can assist consumers to self-diagnose any efficiency by providing home-testing kits along with a customised solution.

For consumers interested in prevention, brands can provide solutions with vitamins C and D, zinc and even probiotics. Solutions can be focused on stress relief (using adaptogens and nervines), weight management and eye health as people spend even more of their lives online. It is an opportunity to encourage adults to incorporate a daily supplement, to better prepare for peak illness season and the ongoing pandemic.”

Bursting the medicinal halo
Almost half (49%) of Indians believe that VMS is to be consumed only with a doctor’s prescription and 21 out of 50 (42%) believe VMS are designed to cure illness. 59% Indians also believe that consuming VMS may cause side effects. On the other hand, more than half of Indians (52%) state that organic/natural claim is one of the important factors that would encourage them to try vitamins, minerals and supplements.

Tulsi Joshi, Senior Food & Drink Analyst, India said:

“The demand for vitamins, minerals and supplements is expected to continue to grow as COVID-19 vaccine rollouts are battling new surges and variants and health and wellness become more significant consumer priorities. However, the widespread perception that VMS are medicinal and can be consumed only with a doctor’s prescription limits its usage.

It is imperative for VMS brands to address this serious and unapproachable characterisation of the category. In order to shed the medicinal halo, brands can use natural / herbal ingredients that consumers are more familiar with and can put their trust into. Creating a link between home remedies will be instrumental in demonstrating efficacy and increasing self-prescription among consumers. VMS brands can leverage this association to put consumers at ease about the effects of the supplements to their health. Brands can position VMS products to fit into home remedy routines to complement their effectiveness.

Brands can drive consumer education to address fears about side effects including hormonal imbalance. Adopting clean labelling practices that boldly communicate transparent manufacturing processes and testimony that supports the ‘no side effects’ claim, will go a long way in allaying consumers’ concerns about the impact of VMS consumption on their body and health. In addition to this, ‘prescribed by doctors’ claim as a form of validation will encourage them to try VMS. Brands can take cues from cross-category examples such as Sensodyne, which demonstrates the power of dentists’ validation in its communication. Doctor recommendation is a good way to convey trust and expertise.”

VMS in any other format

Veering away from conventional formats, consumers are expressing interest in more playful formats and functional and fortified food and drink. One third of Indians (33%) expressed interest in trying VMS in gummies / chewable format while 11 in 25 (44%) Indians are keen to try added vitamins in yogurt and as liquid in ready-to-drink beverages. As many as 21 out of 50 Indians are interested in VMS contained in biscuits / cookies format.

Tulsi Joshi, Senior Food & Drink Analyst, India said:

“The VMS market in India is dominated by tablet and capsule formats. In spite of this, consumers are attracted to newer formats. Tablets and capsules are pharmaceutical in nature, thus creating a less desirable image of VMS. Even though these traditional formats are convenient and hassle-free, consumers are leaning towards familiar and convenient formats such as yogurt enriched with vitamins and RTD beverages that seem less intimidating. The cookie/biscuit format also piques consumer interest.

Convenient, familiar food and drink with functional benefits are preferred by consumers as they can be consumed as part of their daily meals. Brands can consider offering customised portion control and portable bottles to further ease consumption and usage. Innovation in flavours, formats, packaging and labelling will lure more consumers to make VMS a part of their routine.”

 

Notes to editors:

3,000 Internet users aged 18-65+, February 2021