The food industry has seen rapid changes in the recent past, ranging from changing consumer habits to newfangled products on shelves. The consumer is more aware, his needs and demands are evolving.
One new custom that Indians are leaning towards is eating healthy. Grocery shopping lists read more sensible, including gluten-free foods, juices and yogurts. Healthy alternatives have taken the place of junk food. Consumers are no longer ready to sacrifice nutrition to taste.
This new norm is more popular among men, with 65-70 per cent of households surveyed showing that it is the male member of the family who orders healthy foods and grocery. In fact, according to the ‘India Organic Food Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2019’, the organic food market revenues in India are expected to grow at a CAGR [combined annual growth rate] of around 25 per cent during 2014-19.
Changing consumption patterns
Co-founder, Askmegrocery.com, Ankit Jain says, “Consumer habits have not changed, their preferences have changed and we need to mould ourselves to consumer preferences. We should present ourselves in a different manner, so as to fulfill the consumption pattern of everyone who comes to shop on our e-store. We need to change our business model to align to consumer food habits.”
CEO, Grocery Retail, Reliance Retail, Damodar Mall adds, “Food preferences have not been dramatically changing but the manner in which the family discovers the food, celebrates the food and the occasion are all changing.”
2015 was filled with food-tech innovations focused on healthy foods. Modern kitchen equipment eg: air-fryers, which lead to a healthy living have wriggled their way into Indian kitchens and they are here to stay – a clear indicator of improved awareness levels.
Aspirations Going Up
The millenials (people born between 1980 and early 2000s) or the aspirational generation has the benefit of higher spending power than its predecessors. Incomes have grown much faster in India in the last couple of years than they have in the past.
Since incomes have grown, spending has migrated from staple to discretionary and this has led to a change in consumer preferences. In keeping with this, food makers have started providing consumers with more premium options, which supermarkets and e-marketplaces are liberally stashing.
Millenials view themselves as global citizens. They have less allegiance to geographies, and they are eager to consume new and exciting products, which are health-focused.
CEO, Aditya Birla Retail, Vishak Kumar, concludes, “Health and wellness is becoming increasingly important for consumers. At one level people are opting for health supplements and products that make you healthy. At another level they are becoming aware about how bad adulterated food can be, how bad pesticides can be and various other things which can be done to make your food bad. While there is not enough shift in actual purchase but at least awareness level among some consumers has increased. People now are understanding health and wellness.”