In the past, sports nutrition products found in the Indian market are mostly imported from the West where the category is more advanced and mature. However, in recent years, there has been increased interest from local Indian firms in the category.
In this episode of Nutrition Asia, NutraIngredients-Asia spoke with Fast&Up and Steadfast Nutrition – two Indian companies which have entered the sector about six to seven years ago, with the two firms telling us more about the changes that the sector had seen in recent years and as well as their new product development pipeline.
According to Fast&Up CEO Vijayaraghvan Venugopal, Indian consumers are looking for ingredients beyond protein powder as their knowledge of the category increases.
“If you talk about muscle building and protein, I think people are looking at whether there's anything new in that segment, whether there is something clean, safe, sustainable in that segment.
“Something like plant protein is getting more popular because people feel that it is a great alternative to animal dairy-based protein. I think consumers are also looking at other areas, because they have been too restricted to protein powder and so they are also excited to see products in the other areas.
“Some examples are magnesium, electrolytes, arginine, because the consumers have realised that proteins, and specifically whey proteins, are not the only component that constitutes sports nutrition,” he said.
Steadfast Nutrition’s founder Aman Puri also said that the Indian consumers were increasingly interested in products of different formats, as well as the use of botanical extracts in sports nutrition.
“The market has evolved. Earlier, it was more of a powder-based market wherein sports nutrition is mainly about protein supplements, but now, we are seeing different kinds of product formulations and dosage types.
“Apart from that, there is a lot of acceptance of herbal extracts, and so we have a product like HerbFast for helping to enhance muscle strength as well as increasing the immunity,” he said, adding that the firm has launched liquid carnitine – an ingredient which usually comes in the form of powder.
Moving forward, Fast&Up said that the firm’s new product development will look at how it could incorporate more types of ingredients into effervescent tablets.
So far, one of its innovations is incorporating carnitine, which helps to convert fat into energy, into effervescent tablets.
The challenge is that doing so will increase the difficulties in keeping the formulation shelf stable and the firm has spent around two to three years exploring the methods in achieving it.
The company is also conducting work around ingredients that could work at the mitochondrial level and adding them into the effervescence format.
“Athletes in general are working towards unleashing their last extra seconds of performance levels. Some of the ingredients can exactly do that and so, we have some work around things like ATP, unleashing the power of mitochondrial. These are areas where we are looking at,” Venugopal said.