31 January 2024


Beyond the Traditional Pill

Step into the world of nutritional well-being as we unravel the latest trends, innovations, and sustainable practices in the nutraceutical industry with Salman Mehkri, eminent speaker and Head, Business Development, Bio-Gen Extracts

A universal, irrevocable shift that the pandemic has brought in is an increased consciousness towards wellness. Proactive healthcare has become a part of routine life. Within this milieu, the nutraceutical industry is emerging as one of the most promising sectors in both demand and innovations in India that is transforming the wellness canvas. As we step into 2024, the sector looks to touch USD 18 billion by 2025.

Here are a few insights from the engaging Q and A:

Why is India a surging potential in the nutraceutical sector?

India's rich botanical heritage and diverse flora is a unique asset. It provides an extensive array of raw materials for formulations, showcasing the richness and uniqueness of Indian botanical extracts.

From manufacturing processes to research and development, our companies have contributed significantly to technological advancements, positioning it as a hub for innovation within the industry. The improving landscape, regulatory changes and initiatives have streamlined processes, and ensured compliance while fostering a climate of innovation and growth.

How is your sector poised for 2024? What are the challenges you have faced with regulatory compliance and policy changes?

The sector is poised for significant growth in 2024. Our sector faces dynamic regulatory landscapes worldwide. Companies must adapt to meet stringent requirements, prioritizing consumer safety.

Besides, FSSAI has played a commendable role in maintaining momentum and ensuring the industry's growth is not stifled.

A significant challenge is the non-harmonization of global regulatory requirements. Each country imposes specific requirements, a 'customized' approach for each ingredient to meet these regulations. We have successfully navigated this by going beyond the regulatory requirements, like in the use of solvents.

What changes in consumer behaviour have led to influencing any product in recent times and what are the market trends and adaptations to suit consumer demands?

'Bridging the gap between the ingredient and the consumer' is reflected in our proactive approach to understanding and adapting to changes in consumer behavior.

Social media awareness has helped to drive consumer demand for scientifically-validated products. Preferences for vegan or vegetarian claims, non-GMO products, sustainable packaging, and a commitment to regenerative agriculture are shaping purchasing decisions. For instance, our awareness of the rise in gummy supplements reflects our understanding of the importance of consumer experience.

What should be the approach for international partnership and collaborations? Any markets or regions you think could be targeted for expansion?

Beyond the advanced technologies of the US and Europe, developed nations in the APAC region present valuable opportunities for collaboration. Licensing these advanced technologies and leveraging them with India’s diverse raw materials and cost-effective operations can result in products tailored for global markets.

Can you highlight some of the emerging ingredients and innovative formulations developed by Bio-gen Extracts? Give us an idea on the research and development process involved.

Bio-gen Extracts has been a pioneer in recognizing the diverse needs of individuals, acknowledging that a one-size-fits-all solution doesn't suffice. We've introduced two groundbreaking ingredients: CaroRite™, a natural mixed carotenoid complex, and Regenate™, an innovative component supporting the endocannabinoid system. These advancements aim to extend the 'health-span,' maximizing both the quantity and quality of healthy years. CaroRite™ leverages the synergistic potential of 5 different carotenoids, while Regenate™ addresses an unmet market need related to pain and discomfort.

Our journey into innovation started with FenuLean®, a fiber and protein complex derived from fenugreek seeds, strategically designed to bolster metabolic health. This product has gained recognition for its distinctive properties and holds a US patent. TruBeet®, another notable offering, is tailored to enhance exercise performance and cardiovascular health. CaroRite™, our mixed carotenoid complex, takes a synergistic approach to overall well-being by harnessing the combined benefits of various carotenoids.

The latest addition to our product lineup, CaroRite™, is a meticulously crafted blend of lutein, zeaxanthin, alpha carotene, beta carotene, and lycopene. During the design phase, we extensively researched the dosage of each carotenoid to ensure both safety and efficacy. A comprehensive 93-subject human clinical trial affirmed the safety of CaroRite™, revealing no adverse effects or safety concerns.

Simultaneously, our dedicated R&D team is actively exploring innovative applications for CaroRite™ in various delivery forms, with a focus on enhancing the consumer experience. This includes the development of finished dosage forms such as gummies, oral melts, beverages, and more. Our commitment to research and development underscores our mission to provide cutting-edge solutions that cater to the evolving needs of consumers.

Customer feedback is one of the key elements of product evolution. Can you give us an example of a successful product based on trend or feedback.

One of the notable success stories is due to adaptability of Lute-gen® , our marigold extract containing lutein and zeaxanthin to gummy applications, even under high-temperature exposure. By incorporating market feedback into our ongoing product evolution, we not only meet but strive to exceed customer expectations.

Considering the initial skepticism surrounding nutraceuticals, how do nutraceuticals companies such as yours ensure effective customer education and awareness, along with robust quality control measures?

We need to focus on 'quality by design,' where stringent quality assurance measures are integrated into every facet of the supply chain. Following the most rigorous global regulatory requirements should be meticulously undertaken. We should also consider markets with the strictest standards, such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan, as the benchmark for our regulatory compliance. Ensuring an ISO 9001, ISO 22000 and GMP-certified manufacturing facility built as per US-FDA requirements is also critical.

How is technology impacting your sector for smarter operations? Please specify the cutting-edge technologies in production of formulations of nutraceuticals?

Technological advancements shape the future of the sector, with a focus on two key areas: bioavailability enhancement and personalized nutrition. Recognizing that there is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution in nutraceuticals, investing in technologies such as nano emulsions or liposomal formulations will add substantial value to consumers.

How do you approach the subject of sustainable sourcing of raw materials?

Our 'Harnessing the Power of Innovation' model, prioritizes a seed-to-drum programme for the responsible procurement of raw materials, and ensures that every step, from farm to the manufactured ingredient, is meticulously monitored to guarantee repeatable and consistent outcomes.

By investing in new-age farming techniques, we hope to reduce dependency on soil quality and weather conditions, minimizing the use of pesticides.

What does the future look like?

The primary focus should be about building upon the foundation of scientific research, ensuring continuous enhancement and investing in cutting-edge technology platforms for superior delivery of active ingredients.

We will share news about our organic and bootstrapped investments in capacity and technology enhancement. These strategic initiatives are geared towards not only expanding our production capabilities but also aligning with our vision for the future – to enable everyone to ‘Choose Good Health’.

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