Perspectives on Healthy Snacking: Opportunities & future of Snacking

Healthy Snacking Brands India | Hexagon Nutrition

The webinar explored a spectrum of perspectives on Healthy Snacking in the wake of the new normal.

After a warm welcome to the esteemed panelists and a brief introduction to the elite panel the webinar kickstarter.

Setting the context for the Webinar, Moderator Mr. Siraj Chaudhary, MD & CEO, NCML mentioned that food has gone beyond hunger & malnutrition amid Covid-19. Not only has it become synonymous with entertainment but also became an act of bringing people together, not just the ladies of the house but the entire family turned into kitchens to explore their hidden skill-sets

Similarly, All these elements have brought new dimensions to food and snacking on the whole. Thus, initiating the discussion he asked how does each panelist here see the scenario and position of their organization today as compared to 2019 nationally & globally.

In response to the above Ms. Signe Causse, Global Marketing Leader, Digestive Health & Bakery, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences commented that “Seeing the rapidly changing dynamics food service as a sector has declined, and so we have geared our offerings as per the retail requirements of the foodservice industry.”

There has been a higher awareness about digestive health, muscle strength & recovery, snacking, plant proteins in recent times thereby creating opportunities in terms of product innovation. Seeing the current growth statistics of the snacking industry in India alone which is seeing an accelerated trend of 10% each year signifies that people are more focused on snacking healthy.

The importance of indulgence is something that needs to be focussed as innovatively as we can keeping in mind long-term sustainability.

Talking about the food category growth in India, Mr. Salil Murthy, MD India & SEA, General Mills highlighted that, In-home consumption has dramatically spiked viz-a-viz out-of-home consumption. This is sure to show as an industry how consumption of staple ingredients at home will continue to grow.

A lot of consumers have started to experiment beyond the usual food consumption; a recent example is the Dalgona coffee trend which went viral in the initial phase of the lockdown. Another eg. is baking, where people have experimented exponentially in covid times which was not a consideration in the pre covid era. Snacking, in terms of healthy food is a growing concern for weight management, curbing indulgence, etc when we compare food behavior and food patterns pre & post Pandemic

Talking about the operational disruptions due to COVID-19 at a factory level Mr. Kalpesh Kumar, Country General Manager, Mars Wrigley India Pvt. Ltd highlighted that due to stressful situations amid the lockdown and school, colleges & workplaces closed there has been a considerable decrease in the terms of gums and mints consumption.

He also added that the snacking industry has grown from $1 bn to $13-14 bn in the last 15 years and will continue to grow due to per capita consumption. Snacking patterns have a lot to teach us & we have to work towards responsible innovations in-terms of controlled portion size and healthy ingredients.

Moreover, In support of the FSSAI’s Eat right Movement, Mr. Vikram Kelkar, Group MD, Hexagon Nutrition highlighted that with these unique conditions spurring concerns over nutrition and over-existing lifestyle-related diseases like obesity and diabetes, the plant-forward and nutrient-dense snacks that offer supplemented vitamins and minerals will remain much in demand.

Brands are taking note of the changing consumer needs, and are said to be replacing artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and other preservatives with natural, plant-based, and clean label items to realign their portfolios.

Not just a mere search for ‘healthier ingredients like vitamins and minerals, but also plant-forward, tasty, and versatile items are the future of snacking. It doesn’t have to be boring to have a healthy snack. However, We can introduce the same strong ethnic flavors that we see in food trends to our snacks, he further added.

Furthermore, Talking about the disruptions in the supply chain from raw to finished products Moderator Mr. Siraj Chaudhary, MD & CEO, NCML asked the panelists to share their challenges and solutions concerning the same and communication/marketing strategies.

To this, Mr. Kalpesh Kumar, Country General Manager, Mars Wrigley India Pvt. Ltd responded that the consumer’s behavior at-home has changed drastically when it comes to consuming media & digital communications. Therefore, the right marketing mix of traditional. And digital media is what should be the go-to strategy in this digital age. Moreover, Where the at-home consumer is having a screen time of 10-30 hrs a day.

Talking about the supply chain disruptions, Mr. Salil Murthy, MD India & SEA, General Mills mentioned 3 key areas namely labor issues, legislation issues & logistics which were hugely affected. Working closely with the leadership team and retooling strategy for hygiene, shift timings, training for employees has helped manage these disruptions and make the business more resilient in these unprecedented times. Ms. Signe Causse, Global Marketing Leader, Digestive Health & Bakery, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences also added that digitalization. And online engagements have seemed to be working to maintain that physical touch amongst the consumers.

Mr. Salil Murthy MD India & SEA, General Mills, also added that ‘’Traditionally snacking has been home-based snacking in the form of savories and chats, etc. but seeing the concerns such as weight gain, lack of nutrition are gaining space which will contribute more to instant healthier and mindful snacking.’’ Echoing his thoughts, Ms. Signe Causse said that targeted personalized snacking is where the future and opportunities lie when we talk about placing health benefits as a primary need and the problem it solves.

He also added that from a regulatory perspective, a lot of issues still need to be answered. And we need to be more proactive to spread. And support the Eat Right Movement with the help of Public-private partnerships.

Moreover, Mentioning the endeavors of FSSAI, Mr. Vikram Kelkar, Group MD, Hexagon Nutrition said that FSSAI has come forward bringing more clarity about RDA, mandatory staple food fortifications, testing and monitoring the mechanisms of fortified foods

The webinar concluded with a pool of QnA’s from the audience and a superb engagement.

However, Topics such as cost-effectiveness of the snacks, the well-being of the consumer from an Indianized perspective were discussed.

Concluding remarks were as follows:

  • “With COVID-19 consumers are becoming more mindful & plant-based trends are also emerging in the light of sustainability for which the consumer is ready to pay a premium price. The more local, visible and tangible the ingredient is the more the consumer sees the value these days.” – Ms. Signe Causse
  • “With screen time increasing and a cut in the outdoor timings the elderly are also getting educated and are becoming more aware and health-conscious as compared to past and thus we need to be more thoughtful towards their health requirements. – Kalpesh Kumar
  • In India, Geriatric Nutrition needs dire attention and is still under-explored, attention to specific needs and requirements hence a great opportunity lies here and needs to be explored in terms of new product development & innovations. – Vikram Kelkar
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