Indians are now willing to pay more for healthier snacks

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags: Nutrition, India

Indians are becoming obsessed with the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, according to market intelligence that suggests some food companies have already been taking measures to appeal to this change in demand.

Almost half of Indian consumers now cite a “healthier lifestyle​” among their goals, far ahead of other aspirations, including better time management (30%), improving relationships (25%) and travelling (24%).

Mintel, the market analyst, found that close to three quarters reported increased happiness as their motivation for leading a healthier lifestyle, while over half each said this was either to look better or feel better. 

Though 41% claimed their goal was to live longer, only 10% wish to do so to manage a health condition. Fifty-two per cent of Indian consumers claimed to eat a suitable diet to achieve their health goal.

With healthy living and better time management on consumers’ radars, the time is ripe for brands to innovate within this space​,” said Ranjana Sundaresan, senior research analyst at Mintel, adding that this was particular true within the food and drink segment given attitudes towards healthy eating.

This way of thinking is reflected in product launches last year, whereby “natural​” was behind only “suitable for​” as the most common claim for new releases. 

Natural claims—defined as food and drink with on-pack claims including “All-natural product​”, “GMO-free​”, “No additives/preservatives​”, “Organic​” and “Wholegrain​”—accounted for 28% of all launches in 2016, up from 22% in 2012.

Indeed, India witnessed the highest number of “natural” food launches in Asia between 2012 and 2016—and was the fifth biggest market for these launches globally, accounting for 6% of the world’s new products labelled as such, according to Mintel’s database of global launches.

Awareness of natural products has grown in India and consumers are increasingly demanding cleaner labels and organic attributes. That said, there are still opportunities for manufacturers to innovate within the natural space, particularly in the snack category​.” Sundaresan added.

Indeed, 19% of consumers say they would like to see a wider variety of natural snacks. Moreover, as many as half of those who snack think it is important for snacks to be healthy.

And it seems that they are willing to pay more for nutritious snacks, with 39% of snackers saying they are willing to pay extra for fruit or vegetable snacks, while a quarter would pay more for fortified nibbles.

Elsewhere, India’s ready-meal market has also seen trends move in a healthier direction, after 25% of products launched in 2016 had the claim “all natural product​” written on-pack. 

It is known worldwide that healthy and natural foods tend to be more expensive, and many think twice before making a purchase​,” said Sundaresan. 

However, powered by higher disposable income and increasing health consciousness, India’s growing middle-class urban population is now more willing to pay the additional cost for healthier options​.”

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