The nutraceuticals market in India is expected to grow from an estimated $4 billion to $18 billion by the end of 2025.
The dietary supplements segment constitutes over 65 percent of the nutraceutical market and is growing at a rate of 17 percent and is likely to grow at 22 percent per year, especially when preventive health has become the focus for all in the current pandemic, said a 2020 report by the International Trade Administration.
Founded in 2019 by Avnish Chhabria, Bengaluru-based Wellbeing Nutrition is a research-based wholefood nutrition startup that uses plant-based ingredients to provide organic, non-genetically modified vitamins and minerals that are not chemically synthesised.
Though it’s only been three years since the startup’s founding, Avnish has been hard at work since 2016 when he started researching at the Johns Hopkins University, a private research university in Baltimore, US, to innovate products in the nutrition space.
An athlete all his life, Avnish has participated in six Ironman Triathlons globally. In 2016, he realised that all the nutrition that he was consuming was imported.
“I could not recognise a single Indian nutrition brand that was giving me clean, organic, and plant-based nutrition. This made me realise that there was a lack of technology transfer, and innovation in the Indian ecosystem,” Avnish, Founder, Wellbeing Nutrition, tells YourStory.
“What started as research at the Johns Hopkins University, made me ask myself: ‘can I rediscover the way nutrition is being sold in India?’” he recalls.
The team and product
The team works with more than 20 researchers, including Dr Rainer Duchmann, a gastroenterologist from Germany; Dr Anne Marie Fine, a US-based researcher; and Dr Paula Simpson, Biochemist and Scientific Evaluator for Health Canada.
Wellbeing Nutrition’s main product lines include daily wellness (daily greens, Matcha Tea, vitamin C, Grandma’s Kadha), functional nutrition (hair, sleep, B12, D3), and kids organic nutrition (multi-vitamin, probiotic, omega-3, immunity, vitamins).
“Our aim was not to look at nutrition as medicine because consumers do not want to feel like they are taking anything that the doctor prescribes. They want to feel cool and included but they also want it to fit their lifestyle, and want it to taste delicious,” says Avnish.
“We look at lifestyle problems that GenZ and millennials are facing, and solve them through interesting formats while being 100 percent plant-based.”
Vitamins and supplements as a product category contribute to 69 percent of the revenue clocked by Wellbeing Nutrition. These include Melts, manufactured both for adults and children.
“Patients who have a problem swallowing pills were given strips to keep on their tongues. The technology was available in Germany, but no one has innovated on the technology, which is what we do. We take really old pharma technology and innovate and make it more interesting for everyday nutrition,” he explains.
All products are manufactured in an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved facility that follows good manufacturing practices. The ingredients are sourced from 19 countries and over 200 organic farms and companies that have certified, patented and clinically studied data on each of the nutrients.
“This poses a challenge for the supply chain but we have spent the last four years perfecting the entire value chain and supply chain operations because we are sourcing from so many different countries,” says Avnish.
Milestones and growth
The business follows an omnichannel retail distribution model. The startup has a presence across more than 1,200 multi-brand retail stores, along with leading pharmacy chains in India including WH Smith, Relay, Natures Basket, Spencer’s, Apollo Pharmacy 24×7, Health & Glow, and Lakme Salons. Wellbeing Nutrition also sells on online platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Healthkart, Nykaa, along with the company website.
The brand has also started operations in the UAE, the UK, Singapore and the US, and is available across over 200 international stores.
The startup has a repeat rate of 37 percent on its website, with approximately 6,500 orders coming through the website every month. The brand also receives over 7,000 orders through Amazon every month. Since it started operations in 2020, the startup claims that it has seen a growth of 700 percent year-over-year.
On March 23, 2022, Wellbeing Nutrition launched USDA-certified organic plant-based melts (oral thin strips) range for kids in partnership with Disney and after 2.5 years of research.
“The aim was to find a nutritious solution that had enhanced bioavailability, used only bioactive ingredients, and was also appetising for children,” says Avnish.
In 2021, Wellbeing Nutrition raised $2.2 million in a Series A round led by Fireside Ventures and ACG Worldwide. Earlier, in September 2020, the startup had raised a $400,000 angel round.
In the next year, the brand plans to launch new product lines and categories, including collagen, protein, digestive fibre, and women’s wellness products.
Wellbeing Nutrition is also looking to expand in three key international markets – the UAE, the US, and the UK – with an aim to reach over 4,000 households by 2023, says Avnish.
Wellbeing Nutrition has many direct and indirect competitors including Mumbai-based Snackible, Jaipur-based Gladful, Mumbai-based The Green Snack Co, Delhi-based Habbit Health, Lucknow-based Keeros Foods, and Noida-based Poshtick, Oziva and Gynoveda, among others.