COVID 19 has changed the way we perceive life. We as a society have become more conscious of what we eat, how we live our lives, and how we want our future to look. The Pandemic has increased our awareness of a healthy living lifestyle. The consumer trends show there is a high level of desire among consumers today to make dietary changes that will aid in improving overall health and immunity. The paradigm shift towards healthy eating habits has been budding among Indian consumers for a decade. However, the Pandemic has accelerated the adoption rates. Healthy food and wellness is gradually migrating from a niche consumer base to the mass market. And, this trend is likely to continue in the post-pandemic era!
Along with the pandemic, here are some other factors that have been building the Indian consumer psyche and pushing the masses towards the adoption of healthy food.
● Localized flavor in Healthy Food Version
The first thing that comes to our mind when we think of healthy food is a salad or a sandwich, which no doubt is healthy but most find them bland and not as per Indian pallette. Indians are more conscious of the taste and our food preferences are localised - multiple local cuisines exist in India. Economic development has seen people migrating from their home towns and settling in other cities. This has created an opportunity in the packaged food and dining industry to offer multiple cuisines pan India. There is a need for localisation in healthy packaged food too.
We are seeing a few new age startups like FittR Bites working in this space. Fittr Bites is offering healthy ready to cook food options inspired by traditional recipes like Dosa mix, khichdi mix, and immunity brew to name a few.
● A conscious approach to the homegrown ingredients
With the Make in India campaign and focus on conscious eating, Indians are showing interest in purchasing Indian brands offering homegrown ingredients and superfoods. Conscious eating habits are all about being aware of the health benefits of the food we consume. Indian consumers are seeking homegrown ingredients to add more value to their daily diet. The consumption of local superfoods like millets, herbs, vegetables and fruits have grown in the last couple of years.
● The Rise Of Food Transparency
According to the report 'India Unjunking: A USD 30 Bn appetite for Health Food', released by Avendus in March 2022, today’s health conscious consumers are willing to pay more for products that offer transparency on product benefits and nutrition profile like calories and protein measure per serving. The increased levels of concerns around food safety and how it is produced, packed, processed, and delivered, is also leading to higher consumption of organic food.
“We are seeing an emergence of Health-Conscious Individuals who look for healthy but quick food options, keep themselves away from junk foods, and actively read nutrition and ingredient labels while making their food purchases. FittR Bites is trying to make life easy for these time-pressed health-conscious individuals by offering ready-to-eat healthy snacks and quick ready-to-cook breakfast and meal options, which are 100% natural, nutritious, and free from preservatives and synthetic additives.” says Shilpi Singh, Founder FittR Bites.
● On-Demand delivery & Direct to consumer Branding.
The growth of E-commerce in India has given many options for consumers to choose from. The consumer can discover new brands and products daily on the various marketplace or on social media. Increasing awareness, easy availability of products, and accessibility to products have helped homegrown healthy food brands to flourish in India.
● Lifestyle diseases
Lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, etc are very prevalent. WHO estimates that 80 percent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries and the diabetic population’s death rate is expected to double between 2016 and 2030. India is considered as the diabetes capital of the world. Increased awareness among Indians of diabetes being a lifestyle disease and that it can be prevented and managed with dietary changes and exercise is driving people to move towards healthy food. The recent pandemic where people with diabetic have faced serious complications has also led people to become very serious about their food choices.
Overall, as more and more consumers are heading towards a sustainable lifestyle in the post-pandemic era, the adoption of healthy food will observe an increase. Indian consumers are adopting healthy food at a faster rate than anticipated. The pandemic has definitely accelerated the semi-aware consumer about healthy eating habits and improving immunity.