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Herbalife Aims To Benefit From growing Nutrition Demand

The dietary supplements market in India is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 11.60 percent during 2016-2021, growing health consciousness, coupled with growing demand from athletes all across the country

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The dietary supplements market in India is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 11.60 percent during 2016-2021, growing health consciousness, coupled with growing demand from athletes all across the country. 

In this context, Ajay Khanna, Vice President and Country Head of Herbalife India International talks to BW Businessworld about the distribution channels, its strategy and expectations from India as a marketplace.  

How do you see India as a marketplace? What are the distribution channels?

Since its inception in 1999, Herbalife Nutrition has grown considerably. India – as with every nation around the world - is faced with growing levels of obesity and related problems which come with that. The good news is the increased awareness about the importance of good nutrition and a healthy active lifestyle, we see a real demand for our products and the supportive community provided by herbalife nutrition.

We deliver our nutrition products through purpose-driven distributors, who are our unique difference.This ‘distributor difference’ provides consumers with a comprehensive and personalised one-to-one solution to their nutrition and wellness goals. They provide knowledge, encouragement, supportive coaching and community – something you don’t get if you just buy a product from a shelf – and all of this leads to better result for their customers.

What are your investment plans in India and plans about setting up production plants in India? 

We are always alert to opportunities that will enhance our business and enable us to better serve our associates and customers.

Over the past 18 years, we have invested significantly as we have expanded our presence, our product portfolio and our infrastructure. Today, we have more than 450 locations where our associates and consumers can access our nutrition products.

As we continue our mission of giving people a simpler path to a healthier, happier life, we will continue to expand our geographic presence in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities across the country. We will also continue to innovate with our products, including new products specifically for the Indian palate. One of the key initiatives that we undertook in 2017 was to set up a dedicated R&D Centre in Bangalore in collaboration with Syngene, an arm of Biocon. This R&D Centre will focus on local product development, including sensory evaluation and testing.

What is the revenue the company is aiming for?  

In local currency, net sales increased 6.8 percent for the year ended December 31, 2017, as compared to the same period in 2016, according to our annual filing. With our wide range of great - tasting products, our purpose driven distributors, along with a team of enthusiastic employees, our mission is to reach more and more customers in India and to benefit from the predicted growth in demand for nutrition and lifestyle we offer.

Who are your competitors in India and your strategy to counter them? 

We believe that the quality of our products and our unique distributor difference sets us apart from other alternatives and this is only possible through the quality of our products, and the support, encouragement and knowledge that our distributors bring to their customers. They cannot get this from a product off the shelf.

The nutrition segment is growing, presenting an opportunity. The growing realization among consumers for good nutrition and a healthy, active lifestyle for overall well-being places us strongly in this segment to introduce products which appeal to the Indian palate; expand our footprint into Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities to be closer to the consumer; technology advancements making it easier for our associates and consumers to transact business.

Do you plan to foray more into Ayurvedic products? 

As a premier, global nutrition company, we are constantly monitoring the market and the environment for opportunity and looking for new and innovative products that meet the demand of our distributors and their customers.

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