Beverage Trends in India
Progressive Grocer|April 2021
IN A CROWDED BEVERAGE SPACE IN INDIA, ALL SEGMENTS – FROM THE TRADITIONAL CARBONATED SOFT DRINKS AND JUICES TO THE NEWLY EMERGENT CATEGORIES OF FLAVOURED WATER AND FLAVOURED MILK PRODUCTS – ARE COMPETING TO MEET CONSUMERS’ HYDRATION AND THIRST QUENCHING NEEDS.
Rushikesh Aravkar

The post-pandemic interest in nutrition means brands can create standout beverages by going beyond hydration or thirst-quenching needs and delivering better-for your (BFY) benefits.

Some key trends in the category are:

Sugar reduction is high on agenda: In line with Mintel Trend ‘Supernanny State’, globally as well as in India, governments have been stepping up to help consumers make better health decisions through new regulations. FSSAI aims to cut down on salt, sugar and oil consumption in the diet by 30% by 2022.

Need for holistic wellbeing drives drink choices: Mintel Trend ‘Help Me Help Myself’ highlights how consumers are learning new ways to nudge themselves towards better habits and healthful choices. Living a healthier lifestyle is a top goal for almost half of Indian consumers. On cue, forward looking brands are promoting, facilitating and guiding consumers to choose healthy beverages.

Consumers seek proteins in beverages: Mintel Trend ‘Help Me Help Myself’ highlights how consumers are learning new ways to nudge themselves towards better habits and healthful choices. Living a healthier lifestyle is a top goal for almost half of Indian consumers. On cue, forward looking brands are promoting, facilitating and guiding consumers to choose healthy beverages.

Cluttered beverage space calls for differentiated value proposition

The issue: The beverage segment in India is a crowded space. Traditional segments such as carbonated soft drinks and juices and the newly emergent categories of flavoured water and flavoured milk products are all competing to meet consumers’ hydration and thirst quenching needs. Moreover, a significant amount of beverage consumption is driven by street-side shops with the freshly-made beverages such as juices, lemonade, and dairy drinks among others served in unpackaged formats.

The opportunity: While thirst quenching and hydration will continue to be the primary consumption triggers, beverages have an opportunity to play a larger role in consumers’ daily food intake by contributing to a balanced diet with nutrient-rich offerings.

The heightened sense of hygiene during the pandemic makes food safety an unique value proposition for packaged beverage brands. This can be used to engage with sceptical consumers in the short term and to encourage consumers make a switch from unpackaged to packaged beverages in the medium and long term.

Consumers struggle to discern healthful beverages

Many consumers find it difficult to know which drinks are healthier and this suggests there is a knowledge and awareness gap that brands can address. Mintel research highlights that 31% of consumers say it is hard to know which beverages are healthy.

Today’s hectic and stressful lifestyles are pushing Indian consumers to look for healthy and convenient food and drink products.

Almost half of Indian consumers say living a healthier life is their top goal over the next three years. Educating consumers about the health benefits that the drinks have to offer is one way of creating differentiation in the market.

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