Nutrition, Health & Wellness Brands Experiencing An Inflexion Point: Ajay Khanna, Amway

Hence, brands in the segment have adopted a product-first approach, he observes

While concepts such as nutrition, holistic health are gaining momentum steadily over the past few years, the pandemic has only accelerated this trend. There has been a pivot in the mindset from ‘nice to have’ to ‘need to have’ for a holistic approach to health. Today, self-care, combined with holistic wellness, has become a necessity and this heightened awareness amongst U-35 consumers has established that this trend is here to stay. This behavioral change has further paved the way to an interesting trend - OIL – Organic, Immunity and Local, explains Ajay Khanna, CMO, Amway India.

With increasing concerns over food safety, environment, sustainability and health, consumers are looking for quality products with organic ingredients that are closer to being natural with a strong traceability story. Even reports suggest that over 50% of consumers have incorporated supplements in their everyday routine to support their immune systems. Interestingly, consumers are also increasingly embracing locally manufactured products that are gaining more trust. 75% of people trust Make in India products; much more than the US at 65% (Source: Kantar and Global Data Study)

In line with the emerging trends, Khanna expounds how the brand is catering to the new health-conscious consumer, strengthening its portfolio and introducing innovative solutions to its communication.


Q1. A recent international survey revealed that more than 85% of the respondents were willing to pay more for healthier produce. Do you also feel that customers are willing to value the health aspects of their food and monitor their diet post-pandemic, especially in India?

Absolutely. Owing to consumer awareness, the health and nutrition segment was already on a growth trajectory pre-pandemic. The current situation has acted as a catalyst. Now, consumers view health from a much broader lens, it comprises both physical, mental and emotional health. They want nutrition from their diet to help them achieve their wellness goals. Since current lifestyles and food products may not provide adequate nutrients as required, consumers are looking for quality dietary supplements to fill the unmet nutritional gap.

-As per recent reports, over 40% of consumers believe that the shift towards more health and wellness products would be a permanent change

-As per the BCG COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Survey 2020, over 28% of people have opted for nutritional supplements vis-à-vis the pre-COVID-19 era. This is a clear testimony to the fundamental attitudinal and behavioral shift, and we believe it is here to stay

-Additionally, consumers are also concerned with the ingredients that go into the products and their safety and efficacy. We, at Amway, follow the seed-to supplement philosophy. Towards this, we own over 6,000 acres of certified organic farms across the world from where we source the best ingredients and develop premium products in line with global standards. 

Q2. How are brands identifying with this new health-conscious consumer of today?

Brands are connecting with emerging health-conscious consumers by understanding their requirements and offering products and services in line with their evolving needs and market trends. In such unprecedented times, regular empathetic communication plays a crucial role to reassure consumers about a positive, better tomorrow. It is imperative for brands to keep consumers and their needs at the forefront when crafting their engagement strategy.

Consumers today have far more choices in the type of products they want to buy and the way they buy. At Amway, we are engaging our customers with our passion-preneurs through multi-channel media advertising, celebrity endorsements and influencer marketing. Using a targeted marketing approach along with the rising creator/influencer ecosystem, we are now reaching precise consumer segments with tailored storytelling and customised messaging. This not only helps to reach new consumers but also creates a loyal community of existing ones. Another interesting trend is moment marketing. With the ongoing Olympics, brands have joined the fervour with innovative social media posts and activations.

Nutrition, health, and wellness brands today are experiencing a never-before-seen inflexion point. Hence, brands in the segment have adopted a product-first approach and introducing more innovative products. 

Q3. What has been the organisation’s strategy to strengthen its nutrition portfolio, in response to the growing demand for health, nutrition and immunity supporting products?

We already have an expansive range of nutrition products catering to the current consumer requirements. Therefore, we aim to continue to solidify Amway’s leadership in the nutrition domain through consistent product innovation. Towards this, our brand strategy is based on the below fundamentals to building strong communities and product solutions to support these communities.

-Innovative formats and fortification – This new format is particularly targeted at the youth, who, with their heightened level of awareness for health, are increasingly looking at investing in healthy living solutions. Also, keeping in mind the emerging nutrition and immunity market, we are looking at product fortification with enhanced nutrition value. Towards this, we entered into a strategic partnership with ITC last year with the intent to co-create products by leveraging on each other’s expertise. We plan to explore similar partnerships with leading brands to offer the best nutritional solutions to our discerning consumers.

-Affordable health and accelerated Ayurveda – Recognising the growing market for Ayurveda nutrition, we forayed into the segment with Nutrilite Traditional Herbs Range (NTHR) in 2018. Further strengthening the traditional herbs portfolio, we launched Chyawanprash by Nutrilite early this year. We will continue bolstering the category by adding more innovative products to the range and in line with this, we are looking to enter the affordable traditional herbs space. 

-Strengthening our nutrition portfolio with more potent target products- We recently launched Nutrilite Vitamin C Cherry Plus, a targeted supplement in food for special dietary usage (FSDU) category. 

-Greater acceptance of nutrition products and awareness for individualised health and nutrition needs has created a market for personalised nutrition. So, beyond vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements, we will continue to explore and develop nutrition products, keeping in mind the evolving consumer needs and nutrition trends.

-Enable and empower our direct sellers to live their passions by providing young, focused individuals the opportunity, platform and scope to build communities across health & wellness, nutrition, beauty and more. Thereby, we create an influencer ecosystem that supports and promotes brand Nutrilite and its offerings to the targeted consumers.

-Our brand strategy is further backed by strong innovative marketing and communication approach with the aim to increase awareness, favorability and consideration among the new age consumer

Q4. It is often seen that health-conscious consumers are sceptical of sensational messaging. How have you rejigged your communication strategies, given that there is a significant shift to organic and more healthy eating options? Any change in your marketing mix?

We have focused our communication on Nutrilite’s four pillars of optimal health philosophy -EARN, advocating a holistic approach to wellness with proper Exercise, positive Attitude, adequate Rest along with a well-balanced healthy diet and Nutrition. It is important to meet the body’s regular nutritional needs as it provides us with energy, supporting normal growth, development and ageing leading to overall health and wellbeing. 

So, our communication strategies aim to reinforce the role of dietary nutrition supplements, which is primarily to fill the unmet nutritional gap found in the daily diet. Towards this, we are always looking for innovative communication campaigns creating awareness on the subject. One such initiative is ‘How you can plug your nutrition gap’, a targeted campaign in association with Momspresso, the content marketing platform. We have conceptualised and successfully managed topical campaigns such as #immunityeveryday, 24*12 immunity, Protein BEST and Liv Nutrilite @360, which primarily address the daily nutrition requirements along with helping build a strong immune system.

Aligned with our business objective, our marketing mix is conceived keeping in mind our consumer requirements, changing market trends and consumer behaviour. We have re-aligned our product innovation strategy to match the evolving needs of our consumers. Keeping up with the growing demand for certain product categories such as immunity supporting products, Ayurveda nutrition etc., we are driving innovation to strengthen our product portfolio in the immunity and Ayurveda space, besides boosting the existing formulations to cater to the changing nutrition needs.

With increasing thrust for online, we have witnessed our business significantly shift from offline to online since 2020, with online contributing close to 70% of the total sales today. It has blurred the lines between urban and non-urban regions and has helped with deeper market penetration across geographies. To cater to the growing online sales, ensuring seamless shopping experience and smooth last-mile delivery of orders, we have developed a robust supply chain and home delivery strategy that has enabled us to successfully manage the surge of in-home delivery orders, which is close to 200% as compared to 2019.

As for the promotion, digital and social have evolved to become one of the key pillars of Amway’s marketing and communication strategy. Leveraging these platforms, we created a dynamic, informative and educative ecosystem for our direct sellers and their consumers highlighting the safety, quality, and authenticity aspects of our products, while building trust and recall. Supporting the movement of our direct sellers to the online space, we have shifted to digital assets. We are working closely with our direct sellers, enabling them with the tools and skills required to help them deliver personalised product experiences and knowledge. We have introduced Team Nutrilite program where we train our direct sellers with the expertise to become nutrition advisors. Influencer marketing, particularly in the nutrition and the beauty space, has gained a significant footing in Amway’s Marketing & Communication strategy as it helps us target the right audiences and build deeper connect and trust with our consumers. We believe consistent and transparent communication across mediums builds confidence among consumers, helping them navigate the entire buying journey from awareness to purchase.

Q5. How are the future months going to unfold for Amway? What are your plans for this year?

As we continue to live in these unprecedented times, self-care remains a top priority for most of us. With a strong focus on the nutrition category, we have a robust product line-up for this year, coupled with targeted brand campaigns and strategic partnerships with other leading brands. Aligning with our 10-year vision of unleashing entrepreneurship with social commerce, we will continue to drive our growth journey aligning with the three megatrends i.e. rise in the gig economy, increasing health-conscious consumers and emerging online communities.

Our nutrition category has achieved tremendous momentum in 2020, achieving double-digit growth. Currently, the nutrition portfolio contributes over 60% to the business revenue and we expect the contribution to scale up to 65% by 2024. In line with this, all that Amway sees is a vision to OWN the immunity space - with 10x focus on immunity products and solutions to boost India’s immunity. Towards this, we have already launched two powerful nutritional solutions with products such as Chyawanprash by Nutrilite and Nutrilite Vitamin C Cherry Plus, and now we have a strong portfolio awaiting to be unveiled.

To enable factors such as taste, convenience and ease of consumer, to influence purchase decisions for nutrition supplements, we will soon be coming up with appealing and engaging new ‘never before’ formats in supplementation allowing consumers to have a more sensorial, enjoyable experience than with a tablet.

Ayurveda nutrition has gained significant popularity in the last few years, especially among the youth. Building on the market trend and consumer needs, you will soon witness the launch of ‘affordable’ Traditional Herb nutrition range from brand Nutrilite.

Beverages play a major role in a balanced diet. Catering to the emerging fortified beverage space, we will soon be launching a nutritious juice format co-created with one of the leading brands in FMCG space.

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