Indian food tastes turn premium amid Covid outbreak

Despite the Covid-19 outbreak having impacted Indian consumers’ spending power, their food tastes are increasingly turning towards more premium products, according to a report of the US Department of Agriculture.

Perceived as being more hygenic and safe, domestic consumers are increasingly buying packaged food products ranging from pasta and noodles to sauces and savory snacks.

“Given the damaging impact of Covid-19 on the Indian economy and household disposable incomes, manufacturers of packaged food products are more likely to launch smaller package sizes to remain affordable,” the report said.

Indian consumer preference is also shifting to more fresh fruits, eggs, meats, beverages and organic as well as immunity boosting foods. Protein-rich vegan foods are also rapidly emerging as an alternative to meat and poultry.

Packaged products is the fastest growing segment in foods and this is likely to double over the next five to ten years. Currently food constitutes almost half of all consumer spending and the trend is unlikely to change for the next decade, USDA said.

Blessed with a diverse geography and climate, India is currently the world’s second-largest food producer and soon expected to become the No. 1. India’s domestic industry is rapidly emerging as the biggest competitor to US exporters of food ingredients.

The Indian food processing industry is highly fragmented with thousands of unorganised players. Yet there are major domestic players like Amul, Dabur India Limited, ITC Ltd, Hindustan Lever, and Mother Dairy.Many of the bigger companies have started making products like mayonnaise and Mexican cuisine that previously Indian consumers could only get in hotels and restaurants.

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