China today dominates the herbal medicine market. One of the reasons for that is branding.
In many ways the natural leader in that market should have been India. Unfortunately we as a nation have missed that bus in the 50-70’s. Ayurveda our core herbal offering to the world lay mired in home enterprises which never concentrated on branding. Most remedies were dispensed as powders, given in unmarked sachets, with little or no standardization on packaging or consumer literature that one sees with other allopathic offerings.
In that gap China catapulted itself in the global space. Today Chinese traditional medicine popularised by the Kung- Fu movies has travelled far more than the Indian science of Ayurveda. According to a report by Global Industry Analysts the market is estimated to be $ 100 Billion by 2015. The rate of growth of the market is around 9 %. The largest market for these therapies remains Europe while Asia Pac as market is fastest growing.
Herbal therapies have received a shot in the arm from the adoption of the cGMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) by most of these firms as prescribed by the FDA. Also there is a growing feeling within the patient community to adopt herbal medicines from a prevention and diet supplement point of view.
The other trend in this space is a shift by many manufacturers from single ingredient formulation to a multi ingredient formulation with a focus the outcomes. This shift from source to outcome is also leading to a spurt in the growth of herbal medicines.
With China slated to dominate this market what can Indian manufacturers do?
For one they can take a cue from Dabur and Himalaya and focus on branding their products. Dabur for example is one of the leading Indian Ayurveda brands and continues to lead the charge on getting India the rightful place in the Global Herbal market.abur
Secondly many firms might have to adopt the cGMP practices as laid down by the FDA. This will lead to opening up of many markets especially in Europe and America.
Thirdly firms need to spend time on patient education, Letting both Indian and global consumers know the benefits of using Ayurveda. I do feel that many young Indians associate Ayurveda with the older vision of India and do not want to adopt it. During a recent trip to a Natu Marandu (Traditional Ayurveda )Shop in Chennai I saw that most customers were in the age group of 50 plus. As a matter of fact many in my peer group found it funny that I was buying traditional medicine despite being trained in Allopathy.
In conclusion I feel the future of Ayurveda is in our hands. Firms need to get smart about branding, manufacturing and patient education for us to get our due in the global market place.