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Health foods and beverages market to touch $30 billion by 2026


In a thought paper released Thursday, the financial advisory firm estimated that there will be a 2x increase in per capita spending on health foods by 2026. The segment will assume a market size of $30 billion in the next five years, it said. India is the fastest growing health food market expanding at 20% CAGR, Avendus estimates suggest.

In 2020 (calendar year), health-focused foods and beverages were 11% of the $88 billion packaged foods and beverages market in India. This share is expected to move up to 16% or $30 billion by CY2026.

Meanwhile, the number of health-conscious consumers is expected to rise to 176 million in 2026 from the 108 million in 2020. Significant growth will be witnessed across categories such as healthy snacking with options such as biscuits, fruit snacks, snack bars and trail mixes leading market expansion, followed by healthy dairy products.

Though the move towards mindful eating has been underway for some years, covid has accelerated it. While consumers still indulge salty snacks and fizzy drinks, their food repertoire also includes less sugar, ingredients such as millets, quinoa, oats, dark chocolate, berries, healthier cooking oil options as well as portion control.

Post the pandemic, 70% Indians said they will focus on improving overall health by prioritizing dietary changes.

The report also pointed to a significant uptick in new, emerging brands that it said has helped broaden consumer choices and further fuelled consumer appetite for such products. Rising disposable income is also leading to increased spending capacity, helping propel demand. E-commerce growth is also reducing the entry barriers for such brands.

Market expansion in India will be driven by multiple levers, the report said.

As consumers across the country’s top urban centres move up the financial ladder and read more on healthy eating habits on social media, they are bound to spend more on such products.

“Indian consumers, especially millennials, are on the lookout for functional and healthy ingredients, driving innovation into new food categories such as plant-based alternatives. With rising disposable income, health-oriented spending is taking up a larger wallet share. On the supply side, with rising e-commerce penetration, digital has become a means for product discovery and purchase, allowing many new health food brands to emerge,” the report said.

Avendus pointed to consolidation in the market over the next decade. Large food and beverages companies are evaluating organic and inorganic growth strategies to capture this market, the report said.

“The last decade saw the emergence of many health food brands that raised private equity and venture capital funding. With such brands reaching adequate scale and demonstrating brand strength, we expect to see increased transaction activity and consolidation over the next 10 years,” said Abha Agarwal, executive director and co-head, consumer, Financial Institutions Group (FIG) and Business Services, Avendus Capital.

The fact is that more capital is available and people are creating such brands while breaking the innovation bottleneck, added Agarwal.

Health food brands command a richer valuation than traditional players, said Saloni Jain, vice president, consumer, Financial Institutions Group (FIG) and Business Services, Avendus Capital and chief author of the thought paper. “The multiples are higher given the large potential addressable market as consumers lean towards mindful, healthier choices,” said Jain.

Avendus expects this trend to percolate into smaller towns and cities. Agarwal said currently, for packaged foods and beverages companies operating in this space, 40% of business is skewed towards the large metros; the remaining comes from the rest of the country.

Jain estimates that the current target consumer for such products is aged between 20 to 35. “While it may have started off as a metro and urban phenomenon. We see that over time it is percolating to the other demographics as well,” she added.

Meanwhile, the country’s top food regulator too has been batting for increased transparency in food labelling.

Mint on Thursday reported that packaged food products in the country will soon be labelled with an official health star rating (HSR), ranking a packaged food item based on salt, sugar, and fat content. The rating will be printed on the front of the package.



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