Indians have a love affair with food! A country of 1.3 billion people has as much diversity in its food habits as it has in its people. Food plays a strong part of Indian culture and tradition and unites people despite culinary differences.
In this new Ipsos country briefing paper, we explore the latest food and wellness trends in India, with a key focus on the changes we are seeing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key takeaways include:
Holistic health goals
What health means to people has been redefined, and not just due to the pandemic. Health is no longer just good health or longevity but now encompasses sustained physical vitality and mental alacrity. The emphasis today is on holistic and sustainable health management, gyms, yoga and meditation retreats, and rejuvenating spas.
The nutrition factor
One of the most significant manifestations of the aspiration for better health is in changing food habits. Today’s digitally connected consumer stays informed of new diets and fads, about macro and micronutrients, calorie counts and portion controls. Social media analysis shows us there is a small but growing adoption of vegan diets, along with subscription-based diets like Keto, calorie-counted meals and low-carb meals. While taste remains the main driver for preference across categories, it is tempered by strong nutritional-based claims to bolster the health promise.
Safety and hygiene expectedly will be top of mind for customers, with contactless dining the new mantra for all brands. Even as restaurants and dine outs reopen slowly, safety concerns remain paramount for customers and it will take a long time for eateries to work at full capacity.
While we talk of the trends towards healthy eating, holistic health and immunity building, we should also consider the ‘snacking and indulgence’ phenomenon we see in most households – a contradiction even more pronounced during major festivals in India. Modern lifestyle pressures also often push consumers towards comfort food that works as a ‘pick me up’. It presents an interesting paradox in the context of the larger desire to eat healthily and embrace a fitter lifestyle.