“The Nutra sector creates a strong global health sector”

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After showing signs of slowing down, Covid-19 has returned to Mumbai and the rest of India with vengeance. As people are forced in again, the focus returns to boosting immunity through health supplements. The Free Press Journal spoke with Sanjaya Mariwala, a leading nutraceutical manufacturer in India who founded OmniActive Health Technologies Ltd, and is the Chairman of the Nutraceutical Subcommittee of FICCI and the Founding Chairman of the Association of Herbal and Nutraceuticals Manufacturers of India (AHNMI), on the challenges to to come.

Outlook for the health sector as a whole for 2022, including preventive health care…

According to the October 2021 report by US-based Grand View Research, the global nutra market is expected to reach $ 8,26,426.3 million by 2028, with a CAGR of 8.9% during the forecast period.

Consumers’ belief that unhealthy diets lead to increased costs of pharmaceuticals is expected to drive demand for nutraceuticals. It would also help the government as it would result in lower health care spending and lower social security costs. An increase in disposable income, increased consumer awareness of health issues and urbanization will further stimulate growth.

The manufacturing sector, in general, is constantly encouraged by regulators through various drivers like Make in India, Ease of Doing Business, PLI, etc. To prepare the sector for the expected increase in demand – both domestic and global, India must prepare by giving the sector the necessary recognition and attention. If targeted and dedicated programs are extended to the nutraceutical sector, it will help not only the manufacturers of Nutra, but also agribusinesses and farmers. An increase in demand for Nutra raw materials, herbs and plants will provide more jobs and better economic benefits to farmers contributing to the government’s program to double farmers’ incomes by 2023-24. The government has formed a nutraceutical sector task force and I am very optimistic to see more action in favor of the sector in the coming year.

Important regulatory measures that can transform and allow rapid growth of the nutraceutical industry …

The nutraceutical sector offers significant opportunities for India along the entire value chain, from farms to formulations. The industry contributes to strengthening the health sector as a whole by preventing disease and acting as a gatekeeper. However, the industry is still grappling with the importance it deserves from regulators. While we need to do a lot of work in the nutraceutical space, we should focus on 3 important things to ensure increased investment in the sector.

Define and have independent HSN codes for nutra products, establish rules and standardized practices in line with international standards to ensure ease of exports and, most importantly, have a dedicated ministry or at least a reporting office of the Ministry of Commerce for the nutraceutical sector. This will speed up the execution of various issues critical to the growth of the industry.

· The PLI diet should be extended to the nutraceutical sector. The PLI program, if carefully designed with an integrated approach for the nutraceutical sector, can also significantly boost the agricultural sector. Likewise, compared to the pharmaceutical sector, nutra products are more taxed. We need to consider giving equal weight to the nutraceutical sector and aligning more progressive taxes on pharmaceuticals.

· We need to review some of the overlapping and daunting laws like the Biodiversity Act. Some of the rules in this law discourage FDI, limiting future growth and investments by industry players. Simplification of processes, a balance between retention and research, and the elimination of overlap clauses from the law are required on an immediate basis.

What was the idea behind the creation of the AHNMI? What role does the association play in the nutraceutical industry?

As I mentioned earlier, the trend is changing and there is awareness, especially given the pandemic. Preventive care is gaining in importance and therefore constitutes a timely business case for India. Globally, demand for nutraceuticals has grown significantly at around 9% CAGR over the past 5 years and is expected to see a northward movement in the coming years. With regulators leading “Make in India” and “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, we have lucrative opportunities to expand the sector’s offering with higher added value products. This is only possible when manufacturers are aligned with the vision at the top.

With the intention of bringing more connectivity and collaborative efforts, we decided to form an association of manufacturers. The Association of Indian Herbal and Nutraceutical Manufacturers (AHNMI) is thus created with the aim of discussing the problems with regulators and providing solutions to develop the sector in terms of scale and size. The underlying thing is to provide a common platform for all stakeholders and to voice their concerns to the relevant authorities. The AHNMI is making every effort to work with the authorities in order to provide structured regulations, definitions for products, and give the industry the recognition it deserves.

How does OmniActive Health Technologies create a positive impact in the lives of farmers? Does repealing farm laws have an impact on the nutraceutical industry?

It is too early to say anything about repealing farm laws. The contract farming amendment could not be implemented nationally, however, it is one of the effective ways to improve the quality of raw materials while increasing the incomes of farmers. farmers. In 2010, we experimented and dared to opt for vertical integration through contract farming as part of a “Seed to Sell” program. We started growing the specific grade of the marigold flower on 1,000 acres, to begin with, to extract the lutein. Today it extends to 10,000 acres of cultivated land, giving us around 45,000 tons of marigold flowers, affecting the lives of over 9,000 farmers and multiplying their incomes from Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per acre to Rs 2-3 lakh per acre in less than 10 years.

Personal CSR contribution or OmniActive which has contributed to the growth of the nutraceutical industry?

At OmniActive, we are actively working on four key themes, namely improving vision, improving nutrition, improving hygiene and improving farmer productivity.

In the village where we grow our marigold flowers and where lutein production begins, we have started the “Vision Enhancement Program”. As part of this program, we run eye health camps to identify needs, provide free glasses, and surgical solutions like cataract surgery as needed. In less than 5 years, we have carried out 14 eye camps, more than 680 patients treated for cataracts and more than 800 people receive glasses.

As part of the nutrition improvement program, we focused on women and children for iron deficiency and anemia, which is a serious concern in rural India in general. Through this program, we conducted various awareness and assessment workshops. More than 1,600 women have taken the exams so far. ~ 550 women were identified as anemic and we made sure to treat everyone by providing them with dietary supplements, educating them on eating habits, and also helping them grow iron-rich vegetables at home.

What was the idea of ​​launching OmniActive Health Technologies long before the nutraceutical sector took on a big role in India?

OmniActive was created with a clear objective was, and remains, “to improve lives by improving nutrition and well-being, and by leveraging the most innovative sciences and technologies to meet consumer demands while respecting the highest scientific quality standards “. The younger generation is more aware and receptive to different nutraceutical products. When it comes to nutrition, the trend is now shifting from replenishment to daily fulfillment. Capturing this change early on, we entered the nutraceutical segment through OmniActive in 2006. We are currently in five main categories, namely active wellness and physical performance, metabolic health and weight wellness, vision, cognition and mental well-being, daily energy and productivity. , and specification-driven specialty snippets. It is with great pride that we say that OmniActive today holds 38 patents, has filed 60 more, derives 99% of its revenue from exports and lists important customers such as the manufacturer of health and nutrition products. Pennsylvania-based GNC, direct-seller of dietary supplements Amway, eye care company Bausch and Lomb, and mass market giants Costco and Sam’s Club, and many other innovative companies that have launched exciting products and platforms in the field of nutrition.

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Posted on: Monday January 10th, 2022 01:24 IST


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