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India's Fitness Industry Is Booming, But So Are Counterfeit Health Supplements

Amongst one of the reasons why fake supplements are ruling the market is also the fact that bonafide health and nutrition supplement brands are entering the Indian market too slowly to compete with fake supplements.

Photo Credit : Shutterstock,

Owing to better daily health consciousness, the past few years have witnessed an emergence of a strong fitness culture in India, leading to a boom in the business of fitness — apps and channels, startups, athleisure wear, and a renewed focus on diet and Yoga. However, the health supplements space is still mired with challenges such as counterfeiting and marketing fake, poor-quality health supplements and vitamins.

Since wellness has now been included as a priority sector in initiatives like the 'Make in India' programme and the 'Fit India campaign' run by the Government of India, several schemes now encourage Indian consumers to access high-quality supplements. According to a 2020 report, the revenue in the fitness segment is estimated to reach $2,152 million by the end of 2021. This is the most opportune time to focus on improving the standards of supplements in the country, especially at a time when interest in sports is reaching a fever pitch.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the frequently imposed lockdowns have further effectuated a significant shift in how we perceive fitness and health. There is now an increased willingness to spend on health and wellness with a newfound commitment of the masses to stay healthy, also driven primarily due to Covid-related immunity concerns.

According to a report, more than 60 lakh people were already spending about Rs 25,000-30,000 annually towards fitness services, amounting to the creation of a whopping 19,000-crore+ market size before the pandemic hit. The awareness towards fitness services and general health also proliferated due to an increase in lifestyle disorders and non-communicable diseases like obesity, diabetes, most heart diseases, chronic stress, etc.

While the gym businesses and traditional wellness approaches took a hit during lockdowns, the demand for home gyms, Yoga, and other forms of exercise increased sharply.

The steepest increase was observed in the demand for health supplements as one of the most popular preventive healthcare options. It is worth noting that without an adequate amount of energy obtained from calories, our bodies do not get the proper fuel to get through a workout session. According to a study, nearly 80 per cent of people into fitness consume some form of dietary supplements for nutrition to achieve better results. With the increasing number of female fitness enthusiasts (about 45 per cent), the demand for calcium and hormone-related supplements is increasing. A day-to-day diet usually lacks the proteins and vitamins necessary for quick muscle recovery. Health supplements, therefore, aid in meeting the surplus micro and macronutrients the body requires beyond our everyday meals.

However, the increase in awareness and demand for supplements prompted an increase in counterfeit products. The pre-existing uncertainties in the supplement industry and the predicament of tampering with the nutritional supplements present a colossal concern for the Indian market.

A report by ASSOCHAM has revealed that about 60-70 per cent of dietary supplements sold across India are counterfeit, unregistered, unapproved, and are extremely difficult to tell apart from the genuine ones. Retrieval of nearly lakhs of labels, hundreds of kilograms of fake protein supplement containers with stickers of international brands has been confirmed in recent investigations. 

Amongst one of the reasons why fake supplements are ruling the market is also the fact that bonafide health and nutrition supplement brands are entering the Indian market too slowly to compete with fake supplements.

Eating degraded or impure supplements can have severely consequences on an individual's health, thus purchasing the right health supplements from a trusted and reputed maker highly matters. At Doctor's Choice, we swear by international quality standards and assurance, and sell only research-backed formulations for different health needs. One can attempt to distinguish a genuine product from a fake through scanning of the barcode, checking the package and the seal of the product, FSSAI approval mark, hologram, and the MRP sticker.

The wellness and fitness wave is here to stay. Hence, public and personal health enhancement is the need of the hour.

Ankit Jha, Founder, Doctor’s Choice



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