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A Sneak-Peak Into 2020 For Indian Snacking Industry

By informing and educating shoppers on the products they’re putting into the consumer’s basket, brands can bring out the best in their consumer’s snacking habits.

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Food in India holds a value beyond a mere survival necessity. It holds the fort of sentiments, culture, heritage, innovation and way of living for millions of Indians. Over the course of time, India has travelled miles to come to the current state of food and consumption patterns witnessed today. As a testimony to this, from freshly-made snacks, we now see solid traction for packed, instant and ready-to-cook snacking food items.


The Indian snacking food industry is a promising and a booming arm of the FMCG category, thanks to the evolving consumer consumption patterns. The shift in demographics is fueling changes, as the fixed'three meals a day' model seems to no longer be relevant. With the rise in busy lifestyles, millennials and Gen Zs have adopted snacking attitudes and are making different snack choices based on health, convenience, brand and trust. Consumers are intentionally looking for snacks to indulge in, to satisfy a craving or to hold themselves up until their next meal.

The consumption frequency has increased and as a testament to this, the market for snack food segment is on the rise. The revenue in the snack food segment amounts to over $5000 million in 2019 and the market is expected to grow annually by 7.5% (CAGR 2019-2023). Brands are capitalizing on this opportunity through their product offerings, bringing the goodness of healthy food items to Indian consumers in different formats suited to their lifestyle, taste and convenience.

Identifying trends that are showing a surge and anticipating customer needs can illuminate FMCG brands to help them stay ahead of the competition. Below are some of the trends anticipated to rule the Indian snacking market in 2020:

Evolving consumer habits – A step towards healthier food options:

Consumers demand a range of natural products that deliver health benefits in convenient formats. They are more attuned to healthy eating habits and what goes into their food. The definition of food that falls in the snacking category is changing, with the rising consciousness to nutritious ingredients. Brands are responding to this demand by focusing efforts on developing snacks that contain healthy ingredients, satisfying cravings throughout the country. This growing innovation has led to rapid shifts in the category and brand portfolios. The increasing urbanization, the soaring need for an on-the-go snack for people with hectic lifestyles coupled with the increasing consumer spending power is propelling the market growth.

Businesses extending their SKUs with new launches:

The advent of healthy and convenient snacking is bringing a whole new dimension, and therefore opportunity, to the industry within the food and adjacent categories. The significant changes in what people choose to eat and drink and the tastes they prefer are redefining snacking, leading to interesting innovations across this spectrum. Brands are starting to integrate superfoods into snacks in order to give busy consumers a quick health fix. Moreover, the diverse taste palette of the modern consumer is a great opportunity for brands to integrate traditional flavours and cuisine ideas from across the country into their offerings. The increase in the variety of snacks is allowing the mindful consumer to indulge in guilt-free snacking.

Increasing consumer consciousness around sustainability:

With the changing food categories, broader shifts in how consumers shop for packaged food is also on the rise. Today consumers are making purchase decisions with a level of mindfulness towards themselves, society and the planet. They are growing increasingly loyal, willing to repeat purchases of brands which they know align with their morals.

Consumers believe the choice of their consumption is an expression of who they are and what they stand for. Brands are contributing and focusing efforts in exploring and developing different packaging methods to create a zero-waste future. They are working to innovate new collecting, sorting and recycling schemes. Reflecting on the single-use plastic issue, they are turning into the reusable packaging and innovative business models designed for the betterment of the society.

Consumers seeking organic options for kids:

In a kid's world, any time is snack time. The mounting need to have on-the-go snacks, high on nutrients, for children has worked in favor of the global healthy snacking market. Adequate nutrition ensures they grow to their full potential. Parents want their children to consume healthy snacks that help them improve memory and concentration, as well as maintain their energy levels throughout the day and circumvent lethargy. These snacks further help to control hunger between meals and to avoid overeating at mealtimes.

Snacks touting nutritious grains:

With an explosion of healthy alternatives being introduced, there has been a radical shift in the types of snacks consumers are looking for. They are actively looking at snacks as a way to boost nutrition. Products that tout an added benefit like including grain or high protein, low sugar content are experiencing an upswing due to the various benefits they offer. More manufacturers are launching products owing to these trends to deliver better-for-you items.

Every snack should tell a story:

Today’s Gen Zs are inquisitive about the story behind their snacks. They would like to be aware of the authenticity or the historical benefits behind their food. Consumers are embracing old-fashioned snacks and adopting ancient food practices. With nostalgia playing a big factor in the choice of food, millennials and Gen-Zs look for creative options to share with their families. Today, brands look to bring back the classic meals through a creative rebranding to appeal to its new-age consumers.

Balance is key

Consumers are striving to detox with their eating habits to reduce, delay or reverse preventable diseases. But the presumed notion of healthy snacking being boring is long gone. Snacking is not simply a quest for ‘healthier’ but also delicious foods. Brands are bringing in the same robust and ethnic flavours into their offerings.

By informing and educating shoppers on the products they’re putting into the consumer’s basket, brands can bring out the best in their consumer’s snacking habits. In the days ahead, the blurring boundary between a meal and a snack are expected to increase, leading to even greater scrutiny by consumers around nutrition.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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snacks Trends in 2020

Prashant Parameswaran

The author is CEO and MD, Soulfull

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