NEW DELHI: Indian consumers will increasingly become picky about product safety and quality as well as the environment footprint of the food and beverages they consume, a report by researcher Mintel on global consumer trends has found.
The pandemic has shifted focus towards brands that are packaged and considered safe to consume. This is a key in a market like India where sales of loose beverages and foods is quite common, both for staples and other kinds of food produce.
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Nearly half of the consumers surveyed by Mintel want assurance on quality of the product, followed by proof of safe production (43%) and environment friendliness (43%).
Over 40% Indians said their family or friends would influence them to try new food flavours.
Both in India, and across the world, these trends will dominate choices made by consumers during purchase foods and beverages until 2026, the research said.
“One of the major reasons pointed out by the report for the change in consumer expectations is that they are looking for approachable upscale meals for special ‘hometainment’ occasions. Indian consumers could expect brands and retailers to launch appropriately priced products with ethical or environmental claims,” Mintel said in its research note.
The trend is largely in line with shift that companies have been noticing with shoppers wanting more healthy and hygienic products. This has helped several large fast moving consumer goods companies, especially those selling packaged tea, biscuits, snacks gain market share.
Stress levels have also increased during the pandemic, prompting consumers to focus on foods and beverages that are perceived beneficial for them. Wellness will be a key theme going forward, Mintel said. Companies such as Hindustan Unilever, Dabur, Marico and others are improving the nutritional content of their food and beverage offerings.
“The covid-19 global pandemic has made consumers recognise that well-being is a vital concern. In the coming years, consumers will be looking for more products and services that offer mental and emotional health benefits. Food and drink products with relaxation and sleep benefits remain a white space in India. Potential exists for brands to offer these benefits targeting different day-part occasions,” said Daisy Li, associate director, Mintel Food and Drink.
Consumers, as Mintel’s research report, could seek products with formulations that enhance stress relief activities.
The report noted that the top three factors that could encourage new brand and product trial include friends or family, a well-known brand and review on social media review.
“Word-of-mouth, whether online or offline, is highly influential in encouraging consumers to try new flavours. In fact, social media and e-commerce reviews are taking over traditional methods of marketing such as TV or newspaper advertisements and cookery shows,” said Li.