The health food sector is in a nascent stage but is poised to grow manifold in the near future. The health food market stood at Rs 9,000 crore in 2010, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20 per cent to Rs 22,500 crore by 2015.
The contribution of health food to the overall packaged food market in India is 10 per cent. This is quite low when compared to the global average of 25-30 per cent. The market for health food is growing rapidly in the urban centres via both modern and traditional retail channels.
The market for health food is broadly divided into three categories:
* Better for health products are the ones with lower levels of ‘unhealthy’ ingredients like sugar or fat;
* Functional food is defined as food fortified with nutritional and disease-preventing qualities such as food with iodine, breakfast cereals with iron, and reduced fat content
* Natural products, that is, food products grown natural ly, without the use of preservatives and chemicals. These include organic foods, natural colour and flavours, natural extracts etc.
The major product categories that are pursuing health and wellness benefits right from the product development stage are dairy products, cereals, organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables, functional and energy foods, fortified food products with enhanced health ingredients such as omega-3 fatty acids.