Chennai/Bengaluru: As the coronavirus pandemic rages, health has become an important element even in food and grocery items. Indians are warming up to the idea of building immunity and maintaining healthy diets to prevent a Covid-19 infection.
Products such as olive oil, soya oil, mustard oil, fortified bread & biscuits, and powdered chocolate drinks are in huge demand. During normal times, such products would grow at just 5%-10% annually, but now, they are registering annualised growth of 20%-40%, industry executives say.
“Health has taken more share of the mind thanks to app-led information and lots of WhatsApp forwards on health/immunity and even Instagram/TikTtok posts leaning towards health. People are trying to increase immunity, leading to higher consumption of branded healthy eggs, health oils, health mixes, energy/health bars, chyawanprash and even branded health salt,” said Devendra Chawla, CEO of Spencer’s Retail and Nature’s Basket.
Dabur, whose chyawanprash sales hit the roof after the outbreak of coronavirus, has strengthened its immunity-boosting portfolio with the launch of new products. “We have been working on two fronts. On the one hand, we have enhanced production of our existing immunity building products, and on the other hand, we are introducing ready-to-use immunity-booster products such as tulsi drops, amla juice, giloy-neem, and Ashwaganda, to name a few,” said CEO Mohit Malhotra.
Biscuit brands Unibic and Parle are seeing a 50% growth in their healthy segment such as oats-based and digestive biscuits. Srini Vudyagiri, CEO, Unibic, said that May would see the highest ever growth in the healthy segment since they began operations. “People are even paying 20-30% extra to eat healthy,” he said. Bengaluru-based food startup Sproutlife Foods, which sells under the Yoga Bar brand, has seen 100% growth in muesli and breakfast protein bars, as people try to include more protein and fibre in their food, chief operating officer Suhasini Sampath said
Marico’s health segment too has got a boost. “We have continued to witness strong growth in the healthy foods portfolio, led by Saffola Plain and masala oats. Select offerings in the Saffola Fittify Gourmet (including green coffee, moringa green tea, hi-protein meal replacement soups and shakes) and the Coco Soul range have also trended well,” said Sanjay Mishra, chief operating officer — India sales and Bangladesh business.
Hemant Malik, divisional CEO of ITC Foods, said such portfolio shifts are happening as people consume more at home. “People are looking at little more connotations on health.”