By: Mr.Abhishek Saareen *
We, at Trident F&B Consultants Pvt. Ltd., strongly believe that India with its economic growth is seen as the most potential market for food ingredients. Consumers are increasingly looking for convenient, affordable, healthier food. Chefs and operators should seek out collaborations and investments in emerging companies that could benefit from their infrastructure and experience to serve fast-changing consumer demand. Operators should take advantage of all opportunities to improve their bottom lines by reducing waste. The increasing number of health-conscious consumers with preference for convenience foods is fuelling the global speciality food ingredients market.
Increasing urbanisation and growing consumer preference for processed foods is driving the speciality food ingredients market.
However, the consumer is aware of the use of food additives that strip the product of its nutrients. This paved the way for consumers demanding for a safe, quality product having a long shelf life. Ingredients used for improving the shelf life of the processed foods are seen by consumers as using artificial ingredients and containing high trans-fat content making the product anti-nutrient. Companies, by introducing functional food ingredients, have increased the demand and kept the nutrient value intact. Also, organised retail sector is seeing inroads in the processed food sector, thus increasing its penetration and fuelling the demand for speciality food ingredients.
Food ingredients have been used since many years to flavour, preserve, blend, thicken, colour and also maintain the nutritional content of foods, thus reducing serious nutritional deficiencies in the consumers. The speciality food ingredients find major applications in fruits and vegetables, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, vegetable and animal oils, bakery and confectionary, dairy, meat and marines food, pet foods, starch products, etc. Functional food ingredients constitute maximum market followed by growing demand for enzymes, acidulants, emulsifiers, etc. The key issue, we face is in the supply chain sustainability, as we lack infrastructure, cold storage facilities that are affecting the imports and exports of the processed foods, and also which is a key restrain for supply of speciality food ingredients for the Indian food processing industry.
Despite low levels of public awareness compared to western markets, functional foods and ingredients are finding growth in areas of India, as consumers switch on to the promise of healthier foods, beverages and supplements. As customers are getting exposed to the food ingredients available abroad due to globalisation, there is growing expectation among them to find those products in local markets back home. Buttermilk, pro-biotic yoghurt, omega-3 fortified health drinks, baby foods are high in demand as more people are becoming health conscious.
As a lot of companies are investing in R&D and new product development plus there is significant increase in FDI, the Indian food ingredients market is growing at a rapid pace. There have been many developments in pro-biotic foods and beverages as they are in high demand due to ever growing health awareness among consumers. It means that people are willing to pay more for health benefits. There is more demand for anything (ingredient) ‘roasted,’ rather than ‘fried.’ Pasta market in India has grown immensely over the last 5 years and still is growing at a rapid pace. This presents huge opportunity not only for the international pasta manufacturers but also for our own local players. This is due to the growing preference of western lifestyle and increase in demand for the convenience foods among Indian consumers.
What to expect from near future?
• Veganism is on the high
As the awareness for veganism is growing so are the numbers of vegans in the country. To capitalise this trend, many companies have become aggressive with their marketing campaigns for their products like soy milk, almond milk, etc and there are many takers which are increasing day by day.
• Old is gold
Powders like matcha, cacao, etc have found their places in various foods and drinks. Turmeric is considered to be a rage yet again not only in India but the entire world has been taken by the ‘turmeric’ storm. Turmeric latte is sold as ‘the golden drink,’ especially in the west. This trend is going to go upwards.
The trend towards locally sourced, plant-forward, seasonal, convenient food continues to grow rapidly.
• Use of entire fruit/vegetable
Stems and leaves of fruits/vegetables have sadly been ignored while cooking. In order to curtail food wastage and most importantly to explore new textures and flavours, the trend is to use root-to-stem fruit or vegetable. This was also an age-old tradition in India, which was not put to use recently but has come back now and is expected to remain and flourish.
• Spices from middle-east
People in India have cherished the middle-eastern delicacies like hummus, baklava, falafel, etc. Now expect more ingredients/spices from the region to India by the likes of za’atar, harisa, tahini, etc.
• Innovation in tea and coffee
This is due to the changing demands of the consumers. Due to health awareness, more and more customers are expecting natural ingredients rather than artificial flavours and colours, and want their teas/coffees with a personal touch.
• Use of flowers
Infusing botanical into beverages and the use of petals or in some cases whole flowers into making a dish aromatic and flavourful is high on trend. As the customers like it so it will grow.
* Executive Director,
Trident F&B Consultants Pvt. Ltd.*