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The food in my plate – Convenient, Tasty and Healthy

, February 15, 2016, 0 Comments

food-Indian-consumption-marketexpress-inDistinct changes are happening in the way food is prepared and consumed in India. Busy lifestyles are giving rise to consumption of convenience products.The world over, on-the-go consumption has risen steadily in line with urbanization, same is true of India. Recent trends in milk consumption have a story to tell. India is the biggest consumer of milk and in-line with increased protein intake by the average Indian, per capita consumption of milk is rising too. But the story does not end here. There is a sub-segment of milk that is surpassing the sector growth – UHT milk (Ultra High Temperature – sold in  Tetra Pak packages ). This ready to consume milk has a longer shelf life and an open pack can be consumed over 4-5 days. Despite a price premium of 50-100% over fresh milk, there is a growing class of consumers who are willing to pay for the convenience.

The numbers confirm the trend. GCCMF (better known by its brand AMUL) is the country’s largest milk producer and also the largest dairy cooperative. GCCMF sells UHT milk under the popular brand of AMUL – Amul Gold, Amul Taaza, Amul Calci and Amul Slim ‘n’ Trim. It witnessed a growth of 34% in UHT milk sales in 2014-15. This comes on top of 40% growth in the previous year. Simultaneously, sales of Amul UHT cream increased 25%. Fresh milk sales grew at slightly lower CAGR of 21% during last five years. Milk is only one of the several products where technology is helping increase the shelf life of the product and increase the convenience factor of use.

India is being on the expressway of urbanization, it is likely to further fuel on-the-go consumption and demand for convenient, time-saving products. In addition to seeking convenience, consumers are increasingly more health conscious and are also eager for new experiences and tastes.

As per Tetra Pak, flavored milk, encompassing both taste and health, has emerged as the sweet spot for milk producers. Consumers globally are seeking taste, convenience and nutrition; this has the potential of making flavoured milk the growth engine of the global dairy industry globally as also in India. By 2015 flavored milk consumption is expected to top 19.2 billion litres up from 17 billion litres in 2012, driven primarily by BIC of BRIC countries. India accounted for 1.2 billion litres of consumption in 2012 (~7% of global market) and this is expected to grow at CAGR of over 5%. In India, Kids and teenagers will continue to drive future growth. All major milk producers like Amul, Nestle, CavinKare and Tamil Nadu Co-op Milk Producers have launched their flavored milk brands.

Moving away from dairy products let us observe the growth of greens. Microgreens more popularly known as premium baby salad has seen a robust demand across metros. Chefs at hi-end restaurants are experimenting with their dishes using microgreens for garnishing and tickling the taste buds of the ‘ready-to-experiment’ customers. While Bengaluru is the natural production center, for favourable climactic reasons, producers are willing to grow these under controlled conditions, even in not so favourable climes of Delhi and Mumbai. Delhi and Mumbai, besides Bengaluru are significant consumption centers.

Empirical evidence suggests that unhealthy dietary habits and cooking medium have contributed to high cardiac cases in India. It is estimated that over 40 percent of urban Indians have high cholesterol and triglycerides, primary cause of coronary disease in this part of the world. But things are changing and dietary awareness is increasing among Indian consumers. A case in point is the change in consumption pattern of edible oil.

Indians are consuming more edible oil, and most of the increase is contributed by non-traditional oils, namely olive, rice bran, sunflower, soybean oil and other vegetable oils. Changing lifestyles reflect a growing bias towards consumption of healthier edible oils. Rising number of Indians are taking to olive oil with its acknowledged health benefits. The entire consumption need is met through imports – ~11,000 tonnes, expected to climb to 40,000 tonnes by 2025. But consumption is still highly price sensitive. Olive oil faces stiff competition from rice bran oil. It costs a fraction of olive oil and the feedstock is fully met domestically by Indian rice production.

The consumption pivot reveals differentiated consumption pattern

While the above examples highlight new trends in consumption habits, the demand for convenience, new tastes or healthy variants is not manifested uniformly across the consuming class. Young consumers, unwilling or unable to put too much time into food preparation, are more likely to pay a premium for convenience. On the other hand a mature consumer, necessitated by age and facilitated by experience, is more inclined to seek healthier options. Receptiveness to new tastes and variants, on the other hand, maybe prevalent across different age groups, brought on by the urge to try new things or being open to new tastes after having been exposed to them.

This need for convenience and healthy alternatives along with the urge to experiment in taste is providing deep insights into consumption preferences of different demographic segments. Granular data on consumers opens the possibility of creating consumption pivots – mapping consumption characteristics to different demographic and income segments.

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