From an occasional indulgence to a fourth meal, snacks have come a long way since their inception. In recent times, a lot of radical changes are being seen in the snacking industry as urban Indians are opting for convenient, smaller meal portions through the day as opposed to the traditional ‘three square meals’ dietary regime.
The high growth in India’s snacks market can be attributed to rising urbanisation and increasing per capita income as the country develops. These changes have led to busier lifestyles, higher disposable income and a morphing food culture - a good meal replacement while running late and a party staple. As snack manufacturers look to tailor offerings to deliver snacks that appeal to both the palate and the psyche, knowing what drives a consumer to pick one snack rather than another is vital to stay competitive in the $374 billion worldwide snacking industry, which is growing at a rate of 2 per cent year-on-year.
Potato chips are the bestselling snack in India. Valued at $468 million, the packaged potato chips market in India has experienced a 10 per cent growth from 2014. However, preferences for this same snack vary widely across the region. Research has found that northern and southern Indian consumers prefer spicy flavours while western and eastern Indians have shown preference to tomato and cheese flavours. Such varied tastes and preferences have resulted in a large and highly diversified Indian snack market. Currently, more than 50 per cent of the snacks sold in India are sold unpackaged; but branded, packaged snacks with health perspective are enjoying increasing popularity. Hectic lifestyles have led to the need for convenience and packaged healthy snacks are an apt solution. Additionally, since snacks are largely impulse purchases; the use of packaging designs as an effective point-of-sale strategy has become the obvious choice of manufacturers to influence purchase decisions. Startups like Delight Foods are catering only to the regional space.
The healthy turn around
Snacks do not have a good rap as they shoulder some of the blame for eating habits that can contribute to health issues. Resisting the urge to reach for a burger, candy, or chips when you're hit with a snack attack can make a big difference in your health — regardless of your age. In addition, the manufacturers care very less about the health of their consumer. “I was roaming in the country meeting people who are into making snacks, they told me this very bluntly that you can fry a snack or you can go through a powder treatment and the customer would never know that if they are fried or roasted. This experience and my research made me believe that healthy snacks are so much required in India,” said Devang Shah, Founder, Fabbox. “Our mission at Fabbox is to create super yummy snacks to beat all those fried and unhealthy snacks available in the market and create something that grows your mind and loves your body,” he further added.
Startups like Delight Foods are catering only to the regional specialties where healthy measures are rarely executed. “We offer regional Indian speciality products, sourced from the origin, fresh and pure. All of the products we have, we offer with the best taste and quality promise,” added Ramesh Krishnamurthy, Founder, CEO, Delight Foods.
A knack for packaging
Evidently, packaging is a critical aspect in the marketing and sales strategy of snacks in India. Different packaging forms and designs can influence purchase decisions and help snacks manufacturers gain a significant share in this fast-growing industry. The gas-filled pouches provide protection for brittle snack products such as potato chips while the preservatives added are not a healthy reconcile.
“Instead of using large amount of preservatives, we identify ingredients with higher natural shelf life (Oats, Dates, Honey, Dryfruits, nuts) and nutritional values. We do product development trials with different combinations to come out with better health and taste combinations,” said Arul Murugan, Founder, Snack experts.