Danone to expand offerings under Protinex

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on June 17, 2021

Himanshu Bakshi, Managing Director, Danone India   -  Photo: Manoej Paateel

New variants of the adult nutrition brand to be launched in second half of this year

As the Indian arm of French foods major Danone looks at consumerisation of its flagship specialised adult nutrition offering, Protinex, it is eyeing expansion of offerings across OTC channels like kirana stores, general stores, modern trade and e-commerce platforms. New variants are likely to be launched in the second half of this year.

Acquired from Wockhardt in 2012, the nearly 60-year-old Protinex was primarily looked at as a “prescription driven” health drink, catering to additional protein requirements in adults. It had a strong presence in chemist stores and medical shops.

Danone has been repositioning it as a consumer facing brand for nearly five years now. Conscious campaigns were also carried out to make people aware of protein deficiencies.

The adult nutrition market in India is pegged at ₹829 crore in FY21, and Danone India has a market share of 30 per cent.

Healthy growth

According to Himanshu Bakshi, Managing Director, Danone India, over the last one year, the pandemic-induced health concerns have piqued interest in adult nutrition portfolio.

In 2020, despite supply disruptions because of a nation-wide lockdown, the company saw “better than pre-Covid growth. In 2021, it “continues to see “healthy double digit” growth over last year” (for the first half). Regional lockdowns also have had not much effect on sales.

In fact, base-effect, coupled with increased focus on consumerisation, saw Protinex grow faster through new channels like e-commerce and general trade.

“We are looking at more innovation in the brand, distribution is being ramped up, substantial investments in R&D are being done for India-specific offerings. New variants are expected, and by the latter half of this year, you may see them,” he told BusinessLine.

While pilots with smaller value retail packs are on, a sugar-free variant of Protinex has already been launched.

Danone, globally is into three major verticals, that include essential dairy & plant-based products, waters and specialised nutrition. In India, it exited the dairy segment in 2018 and has no presence in the water category that includes brands like ‘evian’ and ‘Aqua’.

Products in India are across two segments — those for infants and young children are sold under ‘Aptamil’, ‘Neocate’, ‘Farex’, ‘Dexolac’ and ‘Nusobee’ brands — and in adult nutrition through ‘Protinex’. The two verticals contribute equally to its top-line here.

Incidentally, Protinex which was introduced in Thailand earlier this year is already available in ready-to-drink formats.

“Apart from India and Thailand, there is a growing demand for healthy ageing offerings in South-East Asian markets like Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. We are exploring the possibility of entering these markets too,” Bakshi said.

Published on June 17, 2021

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