The 10th edition of India’s largest food intelligence event – India Food Forum 2017 – currently underway in Mumbai kick-started with a debate on how innovation is leading to growth and potential for food market.
The forum is a crisp barometer of the rapid changes sweeping food retail in India – the world’s fastest growing major market – and provides in-depth insights on navigating the future.
While the food retail sector is steadily growing over the past five to seven years, there is a clear, emerging trend of preference for wellness and health foods. However, despite the increasing demand for it, health food is still unaffordable for majority of the population. The experts in the retail food industry feel that the market needs to concentrate on increased penetration of affordable health food in Indian market.
During the Inaugural session on ‘Food For Tomorrow, How Current Trends are Shaping The Growth of Tomorrow’ at the mega industry event India Food Forum 2017, corporate honchos from India’s major food & grocery retail and foodservice companies agreed that health food market has huge potential and can do wonders if penetration and affordability were taken care of.
The question that was being debated in the inaugural session of India Food Form 2017 was: What is the new normal? What’s the next wave of consumer demands? And where will new food trends take us?
India Food Forum, and President & Chief Executive Officer, Walmart India, Krish Iyer said, “Trends in India is a difficult subject as there is so much diversity in the country. While the willingness to experiment is a key trend among urban population, they are also keen on health and ready-to-cook food is catching up really fast.”
He stressed that health food, though sought after by majority of the consumers, is not picking up as it should have been, because of the cost issue.
“Health food is still unaffordable to majority of the urban consumers. The consumers are willing to experiment with health food, but the high pricing is the biggest hurdle, we need to overcome to develop this segment,” Iyer said. He added that the pace at which Ayurveda is growing in India was surprising and that it was a good opportunity for players in food industry to grow further.
“The dependency of the Indian population between the ages of 25 to 35 on cooked food, delivered at home is growing rapidly. Their preferences too are changing. They are ready to explore new food items and experiment with health food as the basic criteria,” Reddy added.
Mohit Kampani pointed out that there is huge trust deficit among consumers when it comes to packaged food.
“This has grown over past few years as various serious details about packaged food started coming out. Due to this, local food gained importance and sense of nationalism also made a huge difference in changing the eating habits of people. This will bring about paradigm shift in food industry over the years to come,” Kampani said.