Health Conscious Consumer Essay

“Health means wealth”, once an adage has now become a motto of the major food processing companies in India. And this motto is not a far-fetched perception of the current consumer needs in the Indian foods and beverages market. The Tata Strategic Management Group (TSMG), a management consulting firm has estimated the current worth of the health and wellness foods market in India at INR101.5bn and sees it potentially rising at a compounded annual growth rate of 23% to INR550bn, by 2015.

This trend of consumer buying behaviour started with the weight-conscious consumer who looked for products that could aid him in losing weight, which was perceived as the easiest route to healthy living. One of the products leading this trend was the artificial sweetener with Sugarfree and Equal being the major players. But with time, the Indian consumer has evolved from weight-consciousness to health-consciousness and we have seen an uptrend in the sales of products that offer more holistic health benefits.

The past decade has seen a plethora of products in this category from all major players in the Indian Foods & Beverages industry. According to the TSMG report, curd or yoghurt, flour, savoury snacks, juices and edible oils are likely to be the top five fastest-growing food categories in India by 2015.

Among the savoury snacks market, the biscuits industry is poised for a very steep growth path with companies trying to promote biscuits as a healthy snack. Britannia Industries has recently rebranded itself and used the tagline ‘Swasth Khao, Tan Man Jagao’ or ‘Eat healthy, rejuvenate mind and soul’ to launch NutriChoice, a range of high-fibre, five-grain and naturally spiced biscuits earlier this year. Anuradha Narasimhan, category director, health and wellness, at Britannia Industries says: “We believe the health and wellness category in India is poised for an explosion.”

Indian Branded Breakfast market is worth around Rs 300 crore. In volume terms it is 140000 tonnes. Oats market is worth around 4000 tonnes. After the Kellogg’s foray in to the breakfast market in 1990, Quaker is the only high profile product launch in this segment that might indicate major upheavals in this category. With Pepsi’s Tropicana also rebranding itself as a breakfast juice, the breakfast foods market in India has emerged as an entirely new consumption trend for these products. The branded fruit juice market in India is estimated to be worth Rs 750 crore (nectars, drinks and juices combined) and the segment is growing at about 30 per cent per annum. Big players like Dabur, Pepsi, Godrej and Parle Agro are already in the market and in view of the swift growth in the market, a newcomer like Coca-Cola Minute Maid have come into the market with new products in the recent years.

The current Indian market is young – the median age is 25 years – net savvy and health conscious. It seeks an easy route to health rather than a lifestyle change. Eating healthier food is one such easy route. According to a survey conducted, nearly 64% of the consumers were consciously working to eat/drink healthy products. This statistic not only indicates the magnanimity of current market for health conscious products but also depicts the yet untapped potential of 36 % of consumers and the scope of making them health conscious for driving future growth.

Health awareness

Health awareness is something which the FMCG companies have been taking very seriously. They have been reemphasizing their category point of parity again and again to make the customer aware of the product. According to the survey majority i.e. 48% of the consumers came to know of the brand from the TV advertisements. A surprising statistic which came with it was that the second best method of awareness was Friends and Family which shows word of mouth marketing holds a big chunk in the brand awareness drive of brands.

Consumption Pattern

Marketers of all major FMCG houses have been taking consumption patterns really seriously. The consumption pattern of consumer determines what expectation does the consumer have with the meal at that time and also at times what preference he might take. The consumers were asked what time did they consume their favourite health-related product. A huge proportion of 76 % in ‘No particular Schedule’ shows the disorganized behaviour right now in the sector. Now, it is how well brands who have already entered the category differentiate itself from the other brands and organize the category well to get maximum benefits out of it.

Reasons to Buy

The consumers were also asked what are the major criteria they judge a health-related products on. The results shown depict how different reasons lead to preference of one product over other. It can also be considered as parameters which effect the consumers the most in this category. Firstly, a very important insight visible is that only 24 % of the people surveyed pointed out price as their parameter to decide the preferred product. Two-Thirds of the consumers use the specified nutritional value to be the deciding criterion.

After establishing a strong footprint in the urban markets, the trend of health-conscious consumers is now moving to tier-II and tier-III cities and to remain competitive in these markets the companies might have to focus on creating competitive price points for their products for sustainable long-term growth in India.

Leave a Reply