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Healthy Future Awaits Investments in Food Supplement
Economy, Domestic Economy

Healthy Future Awaits Investments in Food Supplement

Food supplements, dietary supplements and vitamin supplement are all different names of the same product that has found its way into the households’ consumer basket all over the world, including Iranians. The ever-increasing growth of such products has created a thriving market with ample opportunity for investment.
In an interview with the secretary of Iran Dietary Supplement Manufacturer Syndicate, Forsat-e Emrooz daily has looked into the investment opportunities and the pricing of such products.
Dr. Mohammad Nasseri starts off by referring to the modifiers of supplement such as food or dietary and calls for their elimination since “they may mislead people into believing that the supplements may be some kind of food.” In fact, most supplements should be avoided, and people should not take micronutrients except those with clearly shown deficiency. Those people should first consult a doctor.”
These products are not intended to prevent or treat any disease. The intended use of dietary supplements is to ensure that a person gets enough essential nutrients.
In response to a question on the background of supplement production in Iran, Nasseri said the Supplement Manufacturers Syndicate was established in 2010 and was registered at Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture in the following year.
The official imports of supplements date back to 2000 and 2001, however they were produced along with drugs in the pharmaceutical firms, he added.
According to figures by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, there are more than 80 manufacturers of supplements and two ministries of health and industries are in charge of issuing relevant permits.  
According to euromonitor.com, most doctors in Iran tend to recommend the consumption of mineral supplements and vitamins when prescribing Rx medication to patients. Moreover, the activities of leading multinational suppliers have played a major role in increasing consumer awareness. In addition, the Ministry of Health is focusing on improving health levels in the country by encouraging the use of such products.
The syndicate chief claims that tools needed to monitor the market and gather data on the consumption of supplements are not at their disposal.
“We are trying to put in order the supplement market. Around 200 products have undergone pricing but figures on production show more than 700 permits were issued for the manufacture of 700 products. Every single product is made according to a special formula and the Health Ministry’s permits are required for the production of each of them,” he noted.
“The pricing process used to be carried out by the Health Ministry to a certain point but for the time being the syndicate has assumed this responsibility. The approach toward pricing is to curb their price rise. There is this mentality that locally-made products should always be cheaper than their foreign counterparts. Also, the end-price of Iranian products undergoes repeated changes. You cannot keep them fixed. When pricing a new product, we set a higher profit margin in order to maintain its competitive edge and afford the costs such as advertising, raw materials and packaging, so that the product can remain in the market.”  
In fact one of the factors at play in pricing is to support local producers and keep in check the consumer prices.
Nasseri stands up for domestically-made supplements, saying that they enjoy a favorable quality thanks to a comprehensive system adopted in the producing companies controlling all stages from the time raw materials are purchased to the distribution phase.
“The high demand for Iranian products can vouch for their superior quality; insolvent producer units are nowhere to be seen,” he maintained.
“Of course, to compete with imports, producer companies should push for building up a brand. Considerable efforts have been made toward this end. For example we see Iranian producers try to imitate the way big brands package their products. After all, branding is nothing more than sustainable quality, standard packaging and reasonable prices.”
Nasseri believes although more than 80% of the raw materials for manufacturing supplements are imported, their production in Iran is economically viable.
It is worth noting that those who intend to venture into this business can even count on exports regarding the region’s potential and the neighboring markets, he concluded.

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