Home to a burgeoning middle class, an expanding economy and growing rates of diabetes and other lifestyle-related illnesses, India is emerging as a prime market for dietary supplements and functional foods and beverages. In fact, according to Functional Foods & Beverages India, the country's nutraceutical and functional food and beverage market is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33 percent.

Such growth is the backdrop for Functional Food & Beverages India's second conference and expo dedicated to the functional food and beverage market. The event will be hosted June 28-30 in Mumbai and will include three days of education sessions targeted to R&D and formulation issues, India's evolving regulatory framework for functional foods and beverages, nutritional labeling and health claims guidelines, condition-specific applications for functional products, and more.

Speakers from Unilever, Nestle, Kyowa Hakko, Abbott Nutrition, Danone, Tate & Lyle Asia Pacific and other companies operating in India will present during the event.

Opportunities, challenges abound in India

The world is a big place and offers numerous attractive markets for dietary supplements and functional food and beverage companies. Still, like China, India is one of those emerging nutrition markets that is particularly shiny right now and expected to see a flood of new companies and products over the next decade.

According to Frost & Sullivan, a tide of new functional foods and beverages is already sweeping the country, making it that much more important for suppliers and manufacturers to distinguish their offerings from the competition.

Of course, steep challenges remain for those companies hoping to gain a footing in India's expanding nutrition product market. These include a lack of consumer awareness about the benefits of supplements and functional products, the growing need for clinical trials to substantiate product claims, taste barriers, evolving regulatory issues, and the prevalence of "home remedies" within the Indian culture.