Karan Singh, Managing Director, ACG, talks about reversing the malnutrition trends by taking strong healthcare measures and leveraging technology and innovation in nutraceuticals
India is amongst 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets by 2025. At the time of the world is battling COVID-19, how do you view the impact of these socio-economic inequities?
Even before COVID-19, over 135 million people suffered from acute hunger globally due to man-made conflicts, climate change and economic downturns. The pandemic is estimated to have doubled that number. With nearly 200 million under-nourished people in India, the devastating second wave has reversed the country’s collective progress in reducing poverty and hunger. COVID-19 has also obstructed the network of government-run centers, which provide food and primary healthcare to low-income-families.
There are clear pathways in which the pandemic intersects with nutrition security. Solutions like the use of fortified foods to accelerate and reverse nutrition goals can be achieved at miniscule costs. Nutraceuticals could even be compulsorily included as part of the diet for Mid-day Meal Programmes for public and municipal schools. Thus, conversations on resilience to bridge access to nutrition are the need of the hour.
The pandemic has questioned our personal immunity level, making us realise that we must not depend on the healthcare systems only to take care of us. Are nutraceuticals an answer for preventive health?
Absolutely. I consider nutraceuticals to be critical ‘peacetime weapons’ as opposed to regular drugs and medicines which are to be used in the ‘wartime.’ Nutraceuticals are widely known to boost immunity, supplementing the regular diet to tide over unhealthy eating habits and nutritional deficiencies of the body.
Many factors contribute to strengthening the immune system:
Regular exercise including at least one active sport in our routine
Hydration - drinking enough water through the day
Regeneration – being well rested and sleeping well at night, along with eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients along with supplements.
They are a precautionary answer to several lifestyle diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardio-vascular diseases (CVDs). Increasingly nutraceuticals also provide protection against degenerative processes and even cancers of some kind.
What are your views on the tremendous uptick in nutraceuticals today? How is ACG poised to leverage this opportunity?
The global market for nutraceuticals is approximated at USD 117 billion. Currently, India accounts for about 2% of the global pie. However, since the pandemic, the market is growing at nearly 25% CAGR. Interestingly this space has caught the attention of global MNCs, Health-tech entrepreneurs, FMCG and Pharma companies.
With Vantage Nutrition, ACG provides a complete ‘concept-to-counter’ solution for nutraceutical brand owners with highly differentiated products. With a strong focus on innovation and quality, we are enabling companies to create strong nutraceutical brands. Our enterprise-wide approach reflects on our vision to make a healthier world through our high-quality and reliable products and services.
What is your vision for Vantage? What are the bedrocks of your strategy?
We started Vantage almost 4-5 years back, while the nutraceutical industry was in a nascent stage. The idea emerged from my personal experience with nutrient supplements which have fundamentally transformed my life when I was suffering from lifestyle-related health issues due to long-work hours, poor physical fitness and imbalanced meals at irregular hours. Hence, my vision for Vantage is to enable nutraceutical brands and empower people to take supplements. By leveraging technology and innovation, ACG is helping companies develop new solutions and take a personalised approach to supplements.
Today, young consumers are including nutraceuticals in their fitness regime. The pandemic has also been a big push towards preventive health like wellness products, wearables and virtual fitness. The self-care trend across the world is driving strong demand for nutraceuticals including superfoods, food and dietary supplements, sports nutrition, and functional foods and beverages. Given the hectic lifestyles and the lack of time for consumption of the required nutrients through regular diet, the need for replenishing such essential nutrients is increasing. In this context, nutraceuticals are emerging to be the vital link between health, food and wellness.