The time is ripe for food and drink brands to take their cues from new research showing that nearly half (48%) of consumers in India aim to live a healthier lifestyle, with many believing it will have a “knock-off effect” on their personal happiness, according to Mintel.
“There has been quite a bit of publicity regarding the rise in lifestyle diseases among Indians, and, thus, growing awareness of the importance of being healthy,” says Ranjana Sundaresan, senior research analyst at Mintel. “With healthy living and better time management on consumers’ radars, the time is ripe for brands to innovate within this space. This is particularly true within the food and drink space, since over half of Indian adults say they eat a healthy diet as part of their healthy living habits.”
A new study from Mintel notes many Indian consumers believe leading a healthy lifestyle will have a knock-off effect on their personal happiness. Food and drink brands are responding. India had the highest share of ‘natural’ food product launches in Asia between 2012 to 2016.
The research is based on a list of goals and aspirations for the next three years to June 2019 conducted with 3,029 adults aged 18-64, who were polled in June 2016. Close to three in four (72%) Indian consumers report increased happiness as their motivation for leading a healthy lifestyle, while over half say that they aim to live healthily in order to look better (56%) and to feel better (53%). Additionally, two in five (41%) say they aim to lead a healthy lifestyle in order to live longer, while just 10% wish to do so to manage their health conditions. Currently, over half (52%) of Indian adults say they eat a healthy diet as part of their healthy living habits.
Additional statistics also show 30% of consumers seek better time management, followed by 25% who want to improve relationships with family and friends. Another 24% cite the desire to travel. Much further down, 8% say they wish to get married in the next three years, rising to less than three in 10 (27%) of those who are still single. Only 5% of consumers say they’d like to have a child, making this the lowest priority on the list of consumer’s goals and aspirations.
Providing convenient solutions
While healthy living tops the list of aspirations, the Mintel study notes one in three (34%) say they are always trying new things to improve their health, while one in four (26%) say they research health concerns. Another 10% say they research or think about health a lot but rarely make changes. This opens up quite a bit of opportunity for companies to offer consumers convenient solutions that could encourage making that change, the agency states.
There is progress, with research indicating that the food industry has already taken steps to appeal to consumers changing demands. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), “natural” was the second largest claim carried on food launches in India last year, behind “suitable for” claims, accounting for 28% of all food product launches in 2016, up from 22% in 2012.
As a result between 2012 and 2016, India had the highest number of food product launches carrying a natural claim in Asia and was the fifth largest market for these launches globally, accounting for 6% of the world’s food launches labeled as natural. The “natural” claim category is defined by Mintel as food and drink with claims on pack including all natural product, GMO-Free, no additives/preservatives, organic, as well as wholegrain.
“Awareness of natural products has grown in India and consumers are increasingly demanding cleaner labels and organic attributes,” Sundaresan says. “That said, there are still opportunities for manufacturers to innovate within the natural space, particularly in the snack category.”
Offering a wider variety
While India is leading the charge with Asia’s natural food production, Mintel research reveals that one in five (19%) Indian consumers say they would like to see a wider variety of natural snacks. Indeed, as many as half (47%) of those who snack think it is important for snacks to be healthy.
It also seems consumers in India are willing to pay more for healthier snack options. Two in five (39%) who snack are willing to pay extra for fruit or vegetable snacks, while one in four (25%) would pay more for snacks with added nutrition, according to Mintel.
Additionally, the ready meal market has also seen changes toward healthy living. Mintel GNPD data shows that one in four (25%) ready meals launched in India 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,” Sundaresan adds. “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.”