Can moringa, amla and turmeric spur India towards superfoods success?

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Curcumin, which gives turmeric its yellow colour, is increasingly under the spotlight for its health benefits
Curcumin, which gives turmeric its yellow colour, is increasingly under the spotlight for its health benefits

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Indian manufacturers and suppliers can tap in to the latest wave of superfood trends both domestically and internationally by playing to the strengths of the country’s traditional ingredients.

Mintel trend and innovation consultant Neha Nayak said global superfood developments – where Indian ingredients are becoming increasingly popular – should provide inspiration and encouragement to Indian food firms, as should shifting consumer preferences within the country.

In terms of local ingredients that have superfood potential both locally and globally, Nayak said turmeric was of increasing interest due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

“We use turmeric all the time in India but we need to be aware that it is becoming very big globally. On a local level, there is also a company in Bangalore that is making a chocolate milk containing turmeric called Moo Shake,”​ she said.

Another local product highlighted as having superfood potential is moringa.

“This is the extract of the drumstick leaf and it is becoming popular due to its anti-aging properties. It is also high in vitamin C and calcium. It is a product that we are starting to see move from beauty to beverages,” ​she said.

Nayak also pointed out that amla – Indian gooseberry - was starting to appear in US products, and said manufacturers could look for a local alternative to the South American ingredient maca that is increasingly being used globally.

Local alternatives

“We have such a rich food history in India that I think we can capitalise on​,” she said. “We need to develop these superfood ideas in India, not necessarily by using the same ingredients, but by inspiring entrepreneurs to look at our own alternatives.”

Away from local products with potential, Nayak also highlighted a number of superfood ingredients that are likely to creep into products on Indian shelves as the market progressed.

While the notion of a diet heavy in pulses is nothing new in India, she predicted there would be future growth in plant-based proteins, especially pea and lentil fortified products.

“In addition, super-seeds such as quinoa, pumpkin and chia have grown massively globally and we are starting to see a small fraction of consumers in India looking out for those products too​,” she said at the recent FI India conference in Delhi.

More microalgae, natural sweeteners and collagen products were also worth looking out for in India in the coming years, she added.

“These products will be more niche, and not mass market in India, but the idea of health and wellness is growing with 46% of Indian consumers wanting to become more healthy. This was a negative figure just three years ago,”​ she said.

“Natural is also becoming a big trend because consumers are more aware than ever before of what is in products, and we are also seeing a big trend for organic products.”

She said the organic market was forecast to jump from $500m today to $1.3bn by 2020.

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