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The Rise of India Whey Protein Market

India Whey Protein Market

Consumer Goods and Retail | Oct, 2017

Whey is a liquid product procured from manufacturing of cheese or curd. It is a mixture of immunoglobins, bovine serum albumin, beta-lactoglobulin and alpha-lactalbumin. Whey protein can be of three primary types like whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate and hydrolyzed whey protein. It has come a long way from just being a by-product to becoming one of the highly sophisticated industries functioning in food/food derivatives segment.

India is one the fastest developing countries globally. The food sector in the country had grown 3 times during the past decade and is expected to follow the same trend over the coming 10 years. Functional food and beverages have gained immense popularity among the western-influenced and health-conscious Indian population. In particular, those containing Whey protein have gained importance due to its health benefits. Personal care products also contain some amount of Whey proteins, which also witnessed a growth in the country with higher demand for these products in the country. The market is expected to grow considerably over the coming decade.


Proteins are substances that are formed by combination chains of amino acids. They serve as the major part in structural component of muscle and other tissues in the body. For proteins to be used by the body, they need to be first metabolized into their simplest form such as amino acids and other ingredients.

Whey proteins are highly solvable and proficiently perform emulsification and whipping functions in a food supplement. Whey protein specially whey concentrate is most popular dietary supplement due to its strong amino acid profile and ease of absorption quality. Whey protein has been shown to improve immune system, insulin sensitivity, improve muscle protein production and support fat burning.

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Figure 1 : Amino Acid (in grams) per 100g of protein

Amino Acid



Breast Milk

Essential Amino Acid

Isoleucine (ile)




Leucine (leu)




Lysine (lys)




Methionine (met)




Phenylalanine (phe)




Threonine (thr)




Tryptophan (trp)




Valine (val)




Histidine (his)




The Growing Demand for Whey Protein Market:

The Asia-Pacific Whey Protein Market was worth USD1.40 billion in 2016 and anticipated to be growing at a CAGR of 8.05%, to reach USD2.07 billion by 2021. High population growth and growing demand for food supplement in the Asia-pacific region is anticipated to boost market for whey in this region.

Large portion of population in India are now extensively opting for whey protein mainly for body building and as dietary supplements. High scope of the product in segment of sports nutrition and personal care and increasing prescription of supplements by doctor are some of the driving the market growth.

The India Whey Protein market is segmented on the basis of type into Whey protein concentrate, Whey protein isolate and Whey protein hydrolysate. Whey protein concentrates, which is high in lactose and low in protein, leads the market with highest number of shares. The whey is used in the production of nutritional supplements and protein beverages. 

Figure 1 : Healthcare Expenditure in India (Total % of GDP), 2011-2015


In July 2015, Government of India issued a draft notification as Food Safety and Standards (Food or Health Supplements, Foods for Special Dietary Use, Nutraceuticals, Foods for Special Medical Purpose, Novel Food Regulations and Functional Foods, 2015, which will amend Section 92 and 22 Food Safety Standards Act, 2006.

This Regulation includes foods special dietary uses, containing prebiotics, health supplements, foods for special medical purposes, novel foods, nutraceutical and foods mentioned in traditional Indian systems of medicines. This Regulation provides an idea about composition of products, labelling requirements, claims to be made and inclusion of calorific values in products.

Increasing Fitness Conscious Consumer

In India, gyms are opening across the country in both small and big cities, thus serving as main promoters of sports nutrition products. The advice of fitness and coach instructors has significantly influenced the sales of dietary supplement, along with high celebrity endorsements and the fitness trend among younger generations. Previously, teenagers and youngsters would hide these products either containing steroids or found counterfeit. However, consumers started to opt for international quality products. Several pharmaceutical such muscle blaze and other companies are entering this market segment realizing that nutraceuticals can act as supplementary for their products. There are more International players than the Indian players in the market.

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It can be concluded that fitness is key to staying fit in the era of high globalization rate. Consumption of nutrition products for maintaining fitness is essential required as it provides appropriate balanced nutrition for sports and body building needs. Sports nutrition has seen high growth since last three years in India as well as internationally. Although, there is high penetration of international brands companies in market as compared to the Indian players, these remain behind in competition due to lack of quality of products due to non-compliance with FSSA standards and non-GMP manufacturing.

Apart from this, non-compliance with export market is the reason. As solution of this, companies need to understand regulations across the globe and also follow quality standards for the same. Moreover, apart from sport drinks, products such as weight gainers, whey protein, protein blends, and branched chain amino acids will be in high demand in the market segment owing to increased awareness in consumers about fitness and increasing number of young adult populations turning their viewpoints towards fitness in the country.