India, just like the entire world, is fighting against the worst crisis with the outbreak of Covid-19 since the early beginning of 2020, and this has brought a fundamental shift towards Ayurveda for immunity boosting, prevention, and health.
Ministry of AYUSH too specifically recommended Ayurveda as an extensive knowledge base for the prevention of the deadly disease. Individuals today have become more aware and alert on the importance of good health, immune system, and healthy eating habits and are now increasingly depending on prophylactic health remedies and methods in order to strengthen their ability to fight the virus.
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of health and well-being practiced for more than 5,000 years, is slowly but steadily growing under the product ecosystem mainly because these are personalized medications based on natural products with a primary focus on the holistic approach.
The pandemic has led to a drastic change in consumer behavior towards the natural healing and herbal market and this has helped major players in the Ayurveda segment. There has been a rise in demand for Ayurvedic products such as Chyawanprash and Ayush Kwath and ingredients like giloy, ashwagandha, tulsi, cumin, coriander, garlic, and turmeric, as also skincare and other wellness brands with Ayurveda as their base.
According to a report by Research And Markets, the market for Ayurvedic and herbal wellness products in India is expected to grow from around US $4 billion in 2018 to over US $9.5 billion by 2024. And while this market is continuously on a growth trajectory, brands connecting directly with their consumers, eliminating the middlemen, are the most in-demand and are slowly on their path to ruling the market. The year 2020 saw a number of brands adopting this business model and consumers too are opting for brands that are directly connecting with them.
With the market for pure, natural Ayurvedic products expanding rapidly, a number of new brands have entered the space with D2C business model, giving competition to the giants like Dabur, Himalaya, etc. A few of these Ayurvedic health and wellness D2C brands are:
Ayurvedic lifestyle brand and wellness community Amrutam is run by Agnim Gupta and Stuti Ashok Gupta since 2016 after facing a massive financial loss the same year. Before this, the business was run by their parents.
In 2017, Amrutam moved from supplying herbal medicines to medical stores, prescribed by doctors, to sell premium personal as well as healthcare OTC products online, through its website, directly to the consumers. The brand works with a goal to bring together a community of individuals who are as passionate about Ayurveda and natural living as the brand.
“All our ingredients are ethically sourced from as far as Karnataka in the down south and Gujarat in the west. Some of our recipes take months to prepare but we do not compromise on the quality at all. We have also been continuously improving our processes and have also created an internal quality analysis lab as a stepping stone to collate Ayurveda with modern science. A big reason to take the D2C route was to avoid the hassle that one has to deal with in the offline market. We aim to be able to directly connect to our consumers with the capital we have and as we want to stay bootstrapped,” maintained Agnim Gupta.
Currently, the brand offers 100+productson its website in different categories -- hair, skin, and health and has 1,000+ recipes approved by the Ministry of AYUSH.
Founded by brother duo Vishal Kaushik and Parag Kaushik in 2017, Upakarma Ayurveda is one of India’s fastest growing Ayurvedic brand fulfilling everyday wellness needs with Ayurvedic wisdom.
“Though Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical science, it started seizing the market shelves only in the recent past. We started Upakarma Ayurveda to bring a mix of healthcare, wellness, and trusted, age-old Ayurvedic system, in a contemporary form for today’s generation who is turning to natural remedies. For manufacturing of the products, we have channel partners on our board along with the OEM facilities. Currently, there are two OEM facilities based out of Uttar Pradesh. We source the best quality products from across India, including Shilajit from the Himalayan Nepal range, Saffron from Kashmir, Ashwagandha from Uttar Pradesh, and more,” Vishal Kaushik said.
A D2C brand, Upakarma Ayurveda has a strong presence at all leading online shopping portals like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, 1mg, etc., and it also retails through 10,000+ stores across the country.
The brand has seen over 100 percent year-on-year rise in its revenues, in a span of just four years. Upakarma Ayurveda gives utmost attention to R&D and suggestions from industry experts before launching its new product range.
Ayurvedic brand Vedix was launched by Hyderabad-based IncNut Digital in 2017 by Chaitanya Nallan, Sangram Simha, and Veerendra Shivhare. The company also houses the personalized skincare brand SkinKraft.
Vedix’s approach is to leverage the secrets of Ayurveda which has been a part of the lives of almost all Indians in different forms for thousands of years. The brand curates products based on the user’s prakruti. It asks the customer to fill out the Vedix Dosha Assessment Questionnaire that aims to chart his/ her three doshas (namely vata, pitta, and kapha) which is believed to have an impact on the quality of their hair. The answers help develop a map of the doshas and, subsequently, link the profile to specific ayurvedic ingredients that will be used to make the products.
Today, Vedix already has a 65 percent return rate on its customers. A digital-first D2C brand, Vedix went live on Amazon this year with select offerings and is building a strong customer network by leveraging the strength and reach of social media. The brand is also planning to explore various traditional and offline marketing platforms going forward.
Vedix launched a skincare range in December 2020 and is still scaling it up and currently, is working on building an app for customers enabling them to track their orders, get instant notifications, and continue their hair and skincare regime seamlessly and uninterrupted.
Currently, the annual recurring revenue of Vedix is Rs 160 crore, which is expected to grow to Rs 500 crore by 2025.
Founded in the year 2016 by co-founders Mihir Gadani and Aarti Gill, OZiva is a leading clean plant-based nutrition brand that offers a variety of products for daily fitness and lifestyle, nutra-cosmetics for hair and skin care for all age groups.
OZiva prides itself in sourcing the most authentic ingredients from farms across the globe and creates products combining thousands of years of Ayurvedic wisdom and modern-day foods. The brand is committed to supporting every single person who wants to be a better version of themselves and has recently joined hands with Deepika Padukone, to amplify the messaging of #HarTarahSeBetter with clean, plant-based nutrition.
OZiva raised US $12 million in a Series B funding round, which was led by Eight Roads Ventures, in March 2021.
Aarti Gill maintained, “We started with an aim of enabling 100+ million households with a healthier lifestyle with clean, plant-based nutrition. We have been able to create strong equity in the nutrition and wellness market in India. Ayurveda helps us in gradually healing the body from within whereas modern food science aims at convenience and faster results. Our products are formulated according to the most basic concepts of the Panchabhautic theory, the Prakriti concept, and Tridosha theory (balance and imbalance of the three doshas, i.e., vata, pitta, and kapha) and combining different clean nutrients along with powerful botanical extracts to bring the benefit of both the sciences to the human body.”
OZiva products are available on its website and other e-commerce platforms like Flipkart, Amazon, Nykaa, etc. The brand is looking to strengthen its product portfolio in the vitamins and minerals category and venture into the kid's segment and is looking to grow 3-4x in the next 12 months.
Namhya Foods was founded by Ridhima Arora in 2019 with an aim to bridge the gap between tasty food and health, using Ayurveda, and the company sold inventory worth Rs 5 lakh in just six months of its inception.
Namhya Foods has introduced seven SKUs so far, including Ayurvedic teas with ashwagandha, brahmi, and fresh rose petals, instant breakfast with natural proteins such as sattu nuts, tea for heart ailments, brain foods to satiate evening cravings, among others. The brand manufactures its products in Jammu and sources all the Ayurvedic herbs and ingredients from parts of India.
“With #BackToRoots as the brand’s tagline, we are aiming to create a space in the preventive health care segment. I think a brand like ours will be more relevant in the post-COVID-19 era when health care will be taken seriously, both by the consumers and the government. Food often called RASA in Ayurveda nourishes our senses and body and cannot be treated as carbs, protein, fats in isolation. The sense of belongingness to our plants and nature is intrinsic and idea is to stick to it. There isn't a space created for everyday foods based in Ayurveda that could help you prevent such common but dangerously spreading diseases like diabetes, thyroid, BP, Cholesterol, PCOS, etc.,” asserted Ridhima Arora.