The fast-evolving consumption trends in the food industry

Food and its ingredients are inextricably linked to family history, culture, and
geography. Food brings people together and various cultures and traditions
related to the particular food item. In 2017, the Government of India issued the
Indian Food Composition Tables (IFCT) that offers information about 586
varieties of Indian food with their nutritional benefits. In the coming years, the
typical Indian household’s food wallet share is expected to increase to 35.4
percent by 2025, up from 33.2 percent in 2005.

The food industry is changing at a breakneck speed as consumers are now more
conscious about their food choices and seeking healthier options. To keep up
with the changing demands, food companies have started offering food products
made up of healthy food ingredients aided with technology in the production
process. Natural calamities like the recent COVID-19 have potentially disrupted
the food chain that altered the connection of food with masses. From illness
breakouts to supply chain disruptions & consumer hoarding behaviors, the
pandemic had left an immediate and major impact on the food industry.

For example, the patties are manufactured with wheat protein, coconut oil, potato
protein, and flavorings to be sustainable and ecologically beneficial. Plant meal
or faux meal is now becoming popular among vegetarians and vegans. People
are again gravitating toward the smart protein industry, which comprises plant-
based, grown, and fermentation-derived meat, eggs, and dairy.

According to ADM research, 56 percent of consumers worldwide strive to
consume more plant-based food and drinks. They choose plant-based
alternatives for four key reasons: health, diet diversity, sustainability, and flavor.
ADM also claims that the product demand is rapidly shifting away from burger
mimics to towards new and unique goods.

Transparency is the most important trend driving change in the food and
beverage business at present. Consumers want to know and comprehend which
ingredients and components are in their products; in consequence, they are
seeking options with shorter, pronounceable ingredient lists. Consumers want
things that are both convenient and of superior quality.

Earlier, it was rare for consumers to read the back of a product before adding it to the cart, but these
days consumers do read the back of the product packaging.
Concerns about sustainability lead some customers to choose renewable food
sources such as grains, legumes, algae, and seaweed.

Foods that minimize waste, such as deformed fruits, vegetables, and by-products that may be
upcycled into healthy components for soups, sauces, dressings, meal
replacement bars, protein supplements, drinks, and more, are also popular.
Organic food consumption has increased dramatically in India, with one of the
primary reasons being that organic food does less harm to the body than
conventionally cultivated food.

Organic food is in high demand in India due to its online availability of consumer tastes have also increased toward organic foods. Food consumption is no longer limited to meeting the body’s fundamental energy/nutritional needs, but now it is also being seen as an organically
improving health quality product.

As a result, superfoods including berries, seeds, oats, kale, and quinoa have also gained appeal with Indian customers due to their high nutritional value, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
There is a greater need for transparency, quality checks, ingredients, and
attention to the environment for well-being with the rapid expansion rate in the
food industry.

Furthermore, global management-enforced processes have
resulted in stricter rules, higher safety standards, and a surge in new sales
channels. The rapid change in food habits leads the nation to become a healthy
and disease-free population.

The growing adoption of healthy eating is pushing
the F&B industry to innovate healthier eating options that are significantly fueling
the growth of the health food market across the world.

Authored by Ms. Chitra M Sharma, Business Head, Skyland Group

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