Diverse companies have made inroads into India’s nutrition industry this summer. On August 24, Paris-based pharmaceutical conglomerate Sanofi Group announced its agreement to purchase the nutraceuticals segment of India’s Universal Medicare Ltd. for US$109 million, according to Reuters.

Earlier this month, on the other side of the world, Osaka-based Kaneka Corporation, chemicals manufacturer and CoQ10 supplier, inked a partnership with Hydride Ion Corporation (HIC) to distribute supplements through Generix Lifesciences, a Delhi-based firm. Generix proffers raw materials to pharmaceutical companies, and has created a new division, Genlife, to market four products from Kaneka and one from HIC in India.

NBJ Bottom Line

When it comes to discussing global opportunities, the conversation tends to revolve around BRIC countries, and the BRIC conversation tends to revolve around China, leaving India short shrift. And though China still remains an opportune region for the nutrition industry, attention has shifted somewhat to the subcontinent this summer.

A diverse array of stakeholders has set up shop in India, be it for nutrition or consumer goods. Sanofi and Kaneka have opted in on the supplement side. In the food department, Danone acquired Wockhardt Group’s Indian infant nutrition business for €250 million on August 3. A week later, probiotics supplier Ganeden inked a deal with Cornelius Health and Food to distribute its BC30 strain to functional foods manufacturers in several global regions, including India. And on the cosmetics front, Avon, which has had a presence on the subcontinent for 15 years, announced in July its intent to market 650 new products in India this year.

Various companies have thus recognized the opportunity for nutrition products in the country, capitalizing on a culture that toes the line between traditional, herbal forms of medicine and scientifically-engineered approaches to health. And the nation hits many of the same market buttons as China: emerging economy, growing middle class, billion-plus population. India’s Health Foods and Dietary Supplements Association (HADSA) tags the country’s supplement industry at US$2 billion and growing in 2010.

NBJ will cover the Indian nutrition market in greater depth in its November/December Global issue, including sales trends for its four nutrition industry segments (supplements, natural & organic foods, natural & organic personal care, and functional foods).