COVID-19 shaping

Food & Beverage industry
trends in India

It has been over a year since the world has been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic and undoubtedly, India has been amongst the worst hit nations. We are still battling a far more brutal second wave, although measures are being taken towards vaccination drive which seems to be the ray of hope for better times ahead. It has been fascinating to note that the pandemic has relatively deepened & diversified our relationship with food. We have started looking at food for maintenance of good health, positivity, and convenience rather than just sustenance or indulgence. Previously, the food industry has addressed the consumer’s physical health needs more than their mental health. The pandemic has brought about a change and is compelling the F&B industry to re-invent health & nutrition solutions, sustainability, convenience and safe & easy end usage experiences with a strong case for physical as well as mental well-being. With e-commerce playing a significantly bigger role today than before, we see strong trends emerging across several F&B categories and target consumers, for e.g., health seeking young adults, kids and seniors. ​


1. Food & drink categories shift focus on immunity,
stress-relief & freshness

The number of people reporting levels of stress and anxiety is at an all-time high over the last 12 months. Consumer centric brands are now offering products that could help get adapted to such challenges. Products with cleaner labels, natural botanical ingredients are trending with a focus on both mental & physical health – Stress relief, immunity & energy boost, mood elevation during work hours and during lock down. Companies are coming up with immunity boosting drinks, stress relieving shots/juices, bedtime snacks for sleep deprived people, convenient ready to cook packs which deliver the comfort of home-cooked food in terms of freshness & taste. Some of the trending botanical ingredients with strong science-based evidence are turmeric, ashwagandha, tulsi, ginger, brahmi, giloy & wheatgrass. Products with high levels of immunity boosting vitamins like vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin A & E and minerals like Zinc, Selenium & Iron are also gaining traction.

2. Convenience has a new meaning in the times of pandemic

Due to lockdown, most of us are working from home, cooking three meals per day, managing other household chores along with office work and this has increased the workload manifold during such difficult times. There is an increased demand for more ready to eat or ready to cook products which have a high convenience quotient.Thus, this space is seeing high levels of innovation. Solutions for traditional Indian hot breakfast items like instant poha and upma, healthier alternatives like multigrain dosa, ragi idli, etc., launches in cold breakfast like muesli, multigrain cereals with nuts & seeds, are on the rise. With a significant drop in dining out, consumers are also experimenting at home with a lot more cuisines and looking for easy to make cooking options that offer great taste and convenience. Brands offering authentic natural taste, ease of cooking and freshness are helping make consumer’s lives much easier. Platforms providing easy to cook recipes on their websites are also adding a ton of variety & diversity to our everyday meals.

Image coutesy via Chef Boss


3. Expansion of affordable plant-based nutrition


Image courtesy via Epigamia store

Image courtesy of Vezlay via Amazon

Pandemic with no proper cure is also forcing consumers to think about how they can eat better in a more sustainable way which is paving way for plant-based meat and dairy alternatives to make their mark. While there is a rise in the number of people in India who are adopting veganism, this space is likely to see more innovation and technology which will offer solutions at an affordable price. It is going to be a space of great interest, which will enable us to see how brands drive adoption in their favour.

COVID-19 is shifting consumer’s focus towards safe, convenient, sustainable and healthy eating solutions for both physical & mental health. The Food & Beverage industry, with its innovative mindset, agile ways of working, use of latest technology and functional ingredients has great potential in responding with solutions that will help consumers make healthier and mindful eating choices.

About author

Seema has an experience of 12+ years in the Food & Beverage Industry and supports Marketing and Business Development activities for Thinking Forks. She is also a member of the Regulatory Practice team and primarily focuses on product labelling and claims for various brands associated with us.
Seema Sudan

Business Development Manager