Market Insight Feature

How Specialty Food is Catching Up in India due to Millennials'​ Changing Preferences

At 400 million, India has the largest millennial population in the world. They account for a third of the population, almost half of the workforce and are key drivers of the country’s fastest growing consumer market.

This demographic segment earns, travels, and doesn’t shy from spending on experiences and the vastly increasing numbers of urban millennials give rise to dual income households with more disposable salaries and a huge global appetite.

From sampling international cuisines to healthier food alternatives, the demand for quality food products (imported gourmet and specialty foods) is insatiable and shoring up profits for major premium national retail chains such as FoodHall, Spencer’s Retail, Nature’s Basket and Le Marche. From a macroeconomics perspective, the global specialty foods market size is expected to grow from $138.79 billion in 2020 to $161.52 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4%.

The below explores some of the behavioural shifts:

Technology Impacting Daily Food Choices - 70% of Indian millennial consumers today use digital platforms for product discovery and research. Widespread technology adoption and access give millennials the opportunity to be exposed to various global food trends that influence their lifestyles and food preferences. A shift in retail shopping trend, Indian millennials are filling their grocery carts with healthier alternatives starting with meat and sugar replacements to form their daily diet. Popular items now that retailers observe are mushrooms, soya, seitan, tempeh, goujons, lupin and fake meat, agave syrup, palm sugar, date syrup and stevia.

Increase in Disposable Income - With per capita income expected to double to USD3,650 by 2025, the sheer economic strength of Indians millennials is a demographic segment to be reckoned with.

As millions of Indian households move into the middle class and high-income brackets, there is a greater willingness to spend. This shapes their purchasing behaviour on staples and specific to food products, they are prepared to buy better, upgrade to premium offerings and sample a vast range of world cuisines.

Pandemic Food Experimentation - The rise of ‘YouTube’ cooking in the ongoing travel restrictions has led to a worldwide explosion of home cooking experimentation and India is no exception.

Supermarkets and online grocery stores are capitalising on this to stock up products that recreate popular ethnic flavours and exotic recipes. From Mexican tacos, Spanish paella, English scones, Japanese sushi rolls to Thai green curry chicken, Indian millennials are cooking up a storm in their own kitchen and the trend is here to stay.

Conclusion
In this article featuring India’s growth story, the country presents a host of exciting business opportunities that are rapidly transformed by its massive millennial population. Tap into the market and unlock the potential in the food and beverage industry today. Here’s to your next billion customers!