Healthy Life

Majority Indians seeking healthier life through diet, exercise, says report

NEW DELHI: The coronavirus pandemic has made healthy living the prime focus for many across India, as per a report by researcher Mintel released on Monday.

As per the findings, more than half of Indian consumers say they included essential nutrients (such as proteins and vitamins) in their meals. Around 52% of participants said they were consuming more food and drinks containing potentially healthier ingredients (such as brown rice, organic fruits), while 50% said they were consuming such ingredients more often during the pandemic (2020) than before the pandemic (2019) . About 51% said they exercised (brisk walking and yoga) more regularly at least three times a week in 2020 compared to 2019.

Nine in 20 consumers said they actively sought ways to improve their sleep and reduce stress (practicing meditation) more in 2020.

For the majority of Indians, remaining physically active (through jogging, cycling) (57%), eating regular meals (55%) and building immunity by preventing common colds etc defines a healthy lifestyle.

Nidhi Sinha, head of content, Mintel India Consumer, said the pandemic has amplified the need for healthy living, driving greater consumer focus on holistic health solutions across diet, physical, mental and environmental health. “Brands can tap into the changing habits of consumers and nudge them towards making healthier choices by offering innovations such as added functional benefits in foods and drinks, and grooming products for a relaxed mind, rooted in familiar traditional ingredients,” she said.

Holistic well-being is a common goal among Indians now, given the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives. Consumers now associate a good night’s sleep with a healthy lifestyle. Food and drink brands can tap into this wellness trend by introducing a host of sleep-inducing products that aid in relaxing, stress-free sleep.

“For consumers focused on boosting immunity, including more than half of women, according to our research, there is an opportunity for brands to position supplements focused on life-stage needs, for example, bone health and hormonal issues for women. “What’s more, incorporating immunity boosting ingredients in familiar food items and customizing by cohorts, such as added protein for young consumers and vitamins for those pursuing fitness, will help brands tap an audience interested in trying new things,” added Sinha.

About 48% of Indian consumers are ‘influenced health consumers’, those who are taking cues from advertisements and social media campaigns to live more healthily. Around 62% claim to have eaten healthier foods in 2020.

One in five (22%) Indians are ‘health seekers’, individuals who look for products and services that fit into their way of life and will help them live a healthy lifestyle. 35% of these consumers say they actively reduced consumption of unhealthy ingredients in their food in 2020 compared to 2019.

Sinha noted that while ‘health seekers’ believe physical and mental wellness is important, they are inclined to seek fun and easy ways to achieve their health goals, especially through enjoyment of foods with added nutritional benefits.

“Food brands could innovate with ingredients like millet and flax seeds that add fiber to the diet to enhance the health quotient of categories like snacks and bakery. Including de-stressing, emotional wellbeing, and paraben- or sulphate-free claims across categories like bath products, body oils, and creams could help this consumer group take to a holistic health regime,” she added.

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Published: 30 Aug 2021, 11:59 AM IST

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