Tackling the 'taste-health paradox': Indian snack manufacturers advised to focus on health, nutrition and 'Indian-ness'

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Snack manufacturers in India have been advised to take a health and wellness and localisation approach to snack production to appeal to local consumers. ©Getty Images
Snack manufacturers in India have been advised to take a health and wellness and localisation approach to snack production to appeal to local consumers. ©Getty Images

Related tags India Snacks Health and wellness

Snack manufacturers in India have been advised to take a health and wellness and localisation approach to snack production to appeal to local consumers.

According to a new report from intelligence agency Mintel, 60% of Indian consumers snack at least twice a day and 15% snack four or more times daily, a reflection of the large value and potential of the snacks market in the country.

Along with this, 37% of snackers stated stress-relief as their reason for snacking, but increasing health and nutrition awareness in the country has raised the demand for functional snacks.

“Brands can tap into this by offering snacks that provide indulgence along with health and taste in today's world,” ​said Mintel Consumer Research Analyst India Minu Srivastava.

Over half (51%) of Indian snackers expressed a desire for the availability of more healthy snack options, and 62% of all Indian consumers aspired to living a healthier lifestyle

“[Health guides many consumers' life choices, and snacking is no different,”​ added Srivastava.

“[Indian] consumers are now looking at the functional benefits like added nutrition, lower calorie content, [so] snacks need to evolve and transform with these changing consumer lifestyles and habits.”

Amongst the healthy snack alternatives that Indian consumers now look for include items like nuts, oats, fruits and energy bars, which are not traditionally considered to be snacks in India, according to the report.

“To address the taste-health paradox in snacking, the opportunity for snack brands lies in marrying indulgence with nutrition to help improve the health perception of their products,”​ said the report

“This can be done through the use of better-for-you ingredients such as nuts, seeds and traditional grains, in an indulgent snack format such as chips.”

Catering to local tastes

Although India has one of the fastest growing retail snack markets in the world with a CAGR of 20.4% from 2012 to 2016, the bulk of the overall snack market was described by the report as ‘unorganised’​.

“[Many of the players] may be small, but they have a strong regional hold given their low price points and ability to cater to local taste, [thus] form a sizeable challenge to mainstream organised players,”​ said Srivastava.

Here, the organised sector was advised to take a leaf from the small players’ books and tailor products to suit a ‘hyper-local’ ​consumer base.

“[Local] Indian brands' popularity stems from [their innovation] and growing pride in [these] Indian brands,”​ stated the report.

Data revealed that 46% of grocery shoppers preferred local brands over global ones.

“[To deal with this challenge], brands need to highlight their ‘Indianness’,” ​said Srivastava.

Companies were advised to localise their snack products via approaches such as incorporating regional flavours, using local ingredients, and supporting local communities and initiatives.

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