Food as pharma: marketing nutraceuticals to India’s rural poor

Alice Street*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This commentary sketches out the politics of the expansion of affordable, fast-moving nutraceutical products into rural India, with a focus on fortified foods and beverages. It examines the relationships between industry, government and humanitarian organisations that are being forged alongside the development of markets for nutraceuticals; the production of evidence and the harnessing of science to support nutraceutical companies’ claims; the ways in which nutraceuticals are being marketed and distributed in rural areas; and the concepts of health and well-being that are being promulgated through those marketing campaigns. Lastly, it asks what kinds of impact fast-moving nutraceuticals are likely to have on the lives of India’s rural poor. It concludes by questioning how smooth a transition to nutraceutical consumption Big Food marketing strategies can really facilitate and how readily low-income families seeking to feed their families and safeguard health will actually adopt concepts of wellness and internalise micro-nutrient associated risks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • bottom of the pyramid
  • fortified food
  • humanitarian technology
  • India
  • nutraceuticals


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