India’s food trends: What’s hot and what's not

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Mintel's Yogmaya Chatterjee
Mintel's Yogmaya Chatterjee
Indian consumers are increasingly aware that all fats are not bad, are demanding more products that offer “complete wellness” and are becoming increasingly opening to exploring alternative proteins and natural sugars.

These four factors will increasingly offer new opportunities for manufactures, both domestic and international, but food firms need to do more to communicate these trends on pack, according to Mintel.

Speaking at Fi India in Dehli, the research company’s food and drink analyst Yogmaya Chatterjee said a number of global trends were filtering down to the Indian market, most notably the understanding that not all fats are bad.

“Consumers today are more aware of the different sources of fat and are shedding stigma that all fat is bad,” ​she said.

“Meanwhile companies and brands are recognising this by calling out good and bad fats, and we are starting to see this on pack, such as on coconut crisps here in India.”

With fat gaining recognition as being the sixth food taste, she said manufacturers would have to play an ongoing role in educating consumers, especially considering India’s rising number of obesity and diabetes cases.

Chatterjee also said that India was witnessing momentum towards products that promoted complete wellness, but suggested it was still lagging behind many other markets.

Added fibre

“This ‘from the inside out trend’ amplifies the potential for the market for products enhanced with everything from fibre to probiotics as more consumers recognise their diets connect with way they feel,”​ she said.

The number of high and added fibre products is growing, especially bakery, breakfast cereals and snack products, and Chatterjee suggested this could soon branch out to categories such as juices and ice creams, as witnessed in Europe and Japan.

Probiotics, however, remains at a nascent stage, with the exception of products such as Yakult, she noted.

“We are only slowly starting to see it seep into other channels such as tea and enriched water,” she added.

Two other trends likely to take off in India are alternative proteins and natural sugars.

“The demand for more plant-based proteins is growing​,” she added. “In India we have a large vegetarian population base, but alternative sources are going to be very important. A few to keep an eye on are rapeseed, hemp, pea and lupin. In India this is still quite small but there is huge potential,”​ she said.

In terms of sugar and the sweetness, there has been a surge in the number of products containing stevia since it was approved by the Indian regulator FSSAI last November, and Chaterjee also pointed to jaggery and palm sugar as emerging trends.

“However, given the rate of diabetes there is still huge potential for stevia and natural sugars in India,” ​she added.

One area of concern for the industry, however, is in the use of palm oil.

She said consumers were increasingly aware of its environmental impact and pointed out that only 12% of new product launches in Asia contained RSPO certified palm oil.

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