Ayurveda and Its Growing Influence in Preventive Healthcare in India

COVID-19 heightened the demand for immunity boosting products with an increasing focus on preventive health. Pre-pandemic, the shift to herbal/traditional supplements was already evident as high-stress levels and unhealthy eating patterns are adversely impacting the health of individuals in India. However, COVID-19 has augmented this trend as consumers increasingly look for products that can help with broader, more lifestyle-based conditions.

As per Euromonitor’s Health and Nutrition Survey, 27.5% of consumers indicated the presence of serious health conditions in 2020 in comparison to 16.5% in 2019. Leading Ayurvedic companies such as Dabur, Himalaya, and Patanjali have seen a surge in demand for their Chyawanprash, Giloy, and Guduchi offerings since the onset of the pandemic in the country.

The growing popularity of Ayurveda in preventive rather than remedial healthcare

The use of Ayurvedic products for remedial/curative healthcare has witnessed lower acceptance with only 28.2% of Indians indicating the use of natural or traditional solutions for treatment during a health issue as compared to 39.6% and 32.3% than prefer taking Rx and OTC products, respectively, as per Euromonitor’s Health and Nutrition Survey 2020. Conversely, the use of natural and traditional solutions, including Ayurvedic products and therapies in the prevention and ranks second only to exercise/physical activity.

Early-onset of diseases drives the interest of young consumers towards Ayurveda

Euromonitor’s Health and Nutrition Survey suggests that over a third of adults in India aged 30-44 years indicated the presence of a serious health condition in 2020. With the early onset of diseases and higher scrutiny of product labels, young consumers are going back to their roots, seeking products with traditional plat based and Ayurvedic formulations, as they are familiar with the concepts and ingredients.

Companies respond to the growing interest in Ayurveda in preventive health with new product launches

The growing interest in herbal/traditional ingredients across all consumer segments and higher scrutiny of product labels are causing companies to revisit their product claims and offerings. Euromonitor’s product claims and positioning module shows an increase in the number of SKUs with Ayurvedic claims and positioning for vitamins and dietary supplements, indicating that existing Ayurvedic brands and new entrants are increasingly tapping into this segment.

Innovative modern formats to aid the growth of herbal/traditional vitamins and dietary supplements in the future

Given that Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine, it needs to constantly evolve in order to effectively address the evolving need for convenient formats and formulations. As the interest in Ayurveda has increased among young consumers, both established companies and new entrants are tapping into the concept of Ayurveda 2.0, combining traditional ingredients and formulations in new and modern formats that appeal to this consumer segment.

COVID-19 is expected to accelerate the focus on preventive healthcare in 2020 and beyond, with young consumers paying more attention to their health and immune system. This creates opportunities for new and existing brands to launch Ayurvedic products in innovative and modern formats that will continue to appeal to them in a post-COVID world.