Health food needs to be priced lower in India: Walmart India President & CEO, Krish Iyer

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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?
krish-iyer-president-ceo-walmartindiaIndia 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.

“I think affordability will remain an important part of food retail trends,” he further stated.
The 10th edition of India Food Forum – India’s largest food retail intelligence event is being held from January 31st to February 2 at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai. The three-day major industry event includes a large exhibition, over 35 Conference sessions and the annual Coca Cola Golden Spoon Awards ceremony on February 2, 2017.
MOHIT KAMPANI“Health and Wellness foods are the emerging trends in Indian food sector. The phenomenal growth achieved by Patanjali and Sri Sri Products is testimony to this. However, much more needs to be done to expand this market through multichannel business modules. At times when more and more consumers are shifting to ready to eat food items, we need to tap the sector to ensure they get health food,” said CEO, Aditya Birla Retail, Mohit Kampani.

According to Swiggy Co-Founder, Nandan Reddy, “There is a definite shift in cuisine preference. Consumers now want to try latest trends. Focus on health foods is also increasing.”
“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.

Jamshed S. Daboo, Managing Director, Trent Hypermarket Ltd (THL)Adding to this, MD, Trent Hypermarkets, Jamshed Daboo said, “Food consumption trends reflect the lifestyle of consumer. Hectic urban lifestyle has changed food habits completely. With the growing trend of being health conscious, consumers are inclined to choose healthy food. But at the same time, they are keen on the ingredients as well. Purity and authenticity of the ingredients has become most sought while choosing food items. At the same time, current generation has more sense of pride in being Indian. They see a lot of merit in ancient Indian traditions and culture. This has given rise to a mixture of pride and authenticity of ingredients has suddenly become the core issue.”
arvindvarchasviTrustee Sri Sri Ayurveda Trust and Group Advisor – International Affair, Ayush Advisory Group, Arvind Varchasvi, added to this saying, “Purchasing food has now become an experience and not a mere activity. Consumers are highly educated and they know exactly what they want and choose accordingly. The health food sector will grow even faster, if the food is made tasty too.”
devender-chawla-futuregroupGroup President, Food and FMCG Brands, Future Group and CEO, Future Consumer Ltd, Devendra Chawla, said authenticity of food has become paramount. “Like every other decision making may it be deciding holiday, shopping household items, authenticity of ingredients of food items has now become the core issue when it comes to decide what food is to be consumed in a family. Patanjali and Sri Sri Ayurveda have done exactly the same and achieved phenomenal growth.”
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.
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