Riding the juggernaut of the Indian F&B market

Progressive Grocer|March 2020

Riding the juggernaut of the Indian F&B market
An august panel of F&B leaders deliberated on some of the most exciting evolutions in the Indian F&B landscape and their strategic approach in this inaugural session of India Food Forum 2020.
Virat Bahri

A lot of talk of India’s potential is currently obscured by the slowdown in the economy, which is also linked to global turmoil. However, experts assert that this is only a temporary blip on the radar, and India’s long term promise is far from breached. Presently a US$ 3 trillion economy, India is targeting a GDP size of US$ 5 trillion by 2025, which undeniably means tremendous upside for businesses.

Consumption is the most critical bulwark of this growth, with the Indian consumer market projected to grow from US$ 1.9 trillion in 2019 to US$ 3.6 trillion by 2025. While it took 20 years to reach a size of US$ 1 trillion, it would just take 6-7 years to add the next trillion dollars. The prospects are particularly bright for the food & FMCG industry, as it is known to best reflect the growth in lifestyle aspirations and consumption with growing affluence. Moreover, the industry has managed to penetrate well beyond the top six-seven metros. In fact a number of major retailers are reporting rich dividends from Tier II and Tier III towns. The prognosis is only bound to get better with the promise of 100 smart cities and associated infrastructure with planned growth. More and more affluent as well as young working people will be attracted to settle in these cities, thereby driving growth in food, grocery and outdoor dining. Beyond this, online retail has penetrated far deeper into the Indian hinterland, precipitating growth rates that are among the fastest in the world. Online retail has been the game-changer by penetrating the entire geographic reach of the country and the growth rates are amongst the fastest in the world. With 65% of the population under 35 making it the world’s largest youth demographic, the consumption story looks even more promising.

An august panel of industry leaders gathered at the India Food Forum 2020 for an insightful panel discussion on the topic, “Serving The Fastest Changing Consumer Market Of The World”. The panel gave its views and engaged with the audience on the ongoing dynamics in the food retail, FMCG and restaurant businesses, as well as the challenges and growth prospects in these sectors. In particular, the discussion focussed on the impact of foodtech cos, emerging trend of experiential eating, challenges for the mid-rung restaurants, rise of organic/natural food sectors, opportunities in the Indian hinterland and growth strategies for players in each sector.

Following an interactive format with constant audience engagement, moderator BS Nagesh, Founder, TRRAIN, opened the discussion with his views on food consumption trends. He stated, “I have realised that there are some key changes in habits among food consumers. The first is that we are all becoming lazy. We do not have to go anywhere to shop because everything comes home. Second is those of you who want to get into new business capture all the grandmother’s recipes. The way things are happening, there are no more women cooking and no more home-made recipes. The recipes will be from Swiggy and other places.”

He posed the question to Anurag Katriar, ED & CEO, deGustibus Hospitality & President NRAI, “With Swiggy doing 1.8 million services and Zomato doing around 1.1-1.2 million, there are around 3 million homes served meals between them. What do you think is going to happen to the consumer businesses of the future and food behaviour in restaurants, retail markets and homes?”

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March 2020