Vitamin C, zinc and protein supplements are flying off the virtual shelves of nutraceutical startups as the ferocious second wave of COVID-19 has led to a spike in demand for immunity boosters.
Neutraceutical startups, including food delivery startup Zomato which forayed into this category recently, have marked products with combinations of these micro and macro nutrients either as bestsellers or as being sold out on their platforms.
Fitday, launched in last April, has seen a 28-30 per cent demand surge in the last 5-6 weeks for immunity boosters, with a major focus on vitamin C, zinc and protein products, its founder Suresh Raju said.
Oziva co-founder Aarti Gill said, "Our vitamins and minerals category, which we launched only two months ago, is bringing sales of Rs 50 lakh per month now." The Mumbai-based startup's annual revenue is around Rs 180 crore.
Zomato has also marked its zinc and vitamin C supplements as bestseller, but did not respond to Business Today's queries.
These over-the-counter products are certified by FSSAI or Ayush ministry as they are not considered as drugs, and fall under the food supplements category. The demand for these products has spiked as it is common knowledge now that doctors prescribe vitamin C and zinc supplements in COVID recovery and to boost immunity.
"We are seeing a demand for vitamin D3 and iron, too, along with vitamin C and zinc. We saw this kind of spike in the first wave too. Over a period of time, it will reduce and stabilise like last time. Protein herbs is another category that is in high demand," said Gill.
There seems to be a correlation between the number of COVID-19 cases in a city and the demand for these supplements from that city, Gill added. "Hyderabad is the top buyer for Oziva products. But for vitamins and minerals, Delhi and Bengaluru, where COVID caseloads are high are the top buyers."
Meanwhile, Hyderabad-based Fitday said it is also seeing demand from city's hospitals and clinics to provide the supplements to their COVID patients.
"We manufacture some of our products for which we import some ingredients. We are facing a supply challenge as well because of import restrictions that are in place. Customers voluntarily ask for these products and we are unable to keep up with that demand," said Raju.
Fitday said it made Rs 3 crore in last year from sale of products manufactured by its parent firm Genomelab. The platform also sells products from other brands.