India is celebrating festival season of 2023. The whole environment is filled with rituals, joy, shopping, fiesta and preparation for Diwali. Firstly accept a hearty Diwali greetings from Team Dairynews7x7. We are in 43rd week of the year and just two days back I was reviewing an article about top 10 trends of 2023 by Innova Market insights. I always like their approach towards the future.

From Indian context these trends have yet to come above threshold of most of the Food companies. Our spending on R&D is very low as compared to developed world. Still I believe in our youth who have been breaking ice with innovative ideas . These startups could be seen on popular shows like Shark Tank . They engage in constructive debate with the sharks and I feel proud of them when they defend their gut feel with conviction.

Top 10 trends in food sector

In the past year, more than half of global food and beverage consumers have prioritized cost and value. They’re saving money by choosing cheaper options and cooking from scratch, while still seeking new experiences, personal well-being, and planetary health support. Brands face pressure to deliver value and meet these expectations.

Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director at Innova Market Insights, emphasizes consumers’ desire for brands aligned with their values, offering quality, trust, and sustainability.

As the world copes with rising living costs, “Redefining Value” tops Innova Market Insights’ 2023 trends. Brands must be flexible and embrace technology to connect with cost-conscious consumers. Understanding where compromise is acceptable is key. Short-term strategies like modest price hikes and adaptable ingredients can work, but transparency and benefits are vital.

Consumers seek affordable ways to stay healthy, and the “Affordable Nutrition” trend encourages brands to push their limits to meet nutritional, environmental, and economic demands through innovative use of raw materials and production processes.

Youth Holds the Key

Younger consumers, Gen Z and Millennials, shape trends, valuing health and international flavors. They appreciate positive engagement from brands.

Younger consumers in the digital age shape trends and influence markets. Gen Z and Millennials view food and brands as expressions of their lifestyle and values.

They have a strong voice and embrace novelty and global flavors. The “Generational Push” trend shows that while health is crucial, these young consumers are highly receptive to positive engagement from brands.

Nature is Future

Plant-Based: Unlocking a New Narrative” focuses on high-quality, flavorful plant-based products. Green gastronomy is set to expand.

Farming the Future” emphasizes transparency, consumer curiosity, and innovative technologies. Brands should highlight how improved production benefits people and the planet.

Quick Quality” meets the demand for convenient, fresh produce, elevating home cooking with meal kit guidance.

Devouring Digital” taps into technology’s potential to enhance real life with immersive virtual experiences.

Revenge Spending” reveals consumers’ pursuit of affordable, enjoyable experiences, even in tough times. Collaborations and limited editions bring novelty, changing brand perceptions.

Tell the truth

It’s essential to “Unpuzzle Health,” as trend number 9 suggests. Clear, certified communication that aligns with consumer experiences is key. On-pack messages are trusted sources for health and nutrition information. To build trust in health claims, information must be clear, concise, supported by respected organizations, and reflected in real experiences.

Despite economic concerns, planet health remains paramount. Consumers reduce waste and recycle more due to financial pressures. Brands can succeed by combining economic benefits with health and sustainability goals.

Innova’s 10th trend, ‘Positively Imperfect,’ acknowledges that consumers appreciate openness about sustainability complexities. Brands need not be perfect; they are forgiven for honest compromises on the path to long-term improvement.”

The food and beverage industry is adapting to meet consumer demands for redefined value, sustainability, and innovation in response to financial concerns. Brands are encouraged to be creative and flexible in their approach.

What’s in it for Indian dairy sector ?

So finally what must be the strategies for the dairy sector to get maximum benefits from these trends

S No Trend Opportunity for Indian Dairy sector
1 Redefining Value Companies may redesign their offerings in yogurts, flavored milk , paneer etc. by slightly reducing the fat but by maintaining the same levels of protein at the same value.
2 Affordable Nutrition Companies may offer high perceived value nutritional products like Probiotics at the same rate as that of conventional products .
3 Generational Push The younger generation may be tapped and engaged through social media in creating some cult around emerging dairy snacks like yogurt, protein shakes, ice creams etc.
4 Plant-Based: Unlocking a New Narrative In this year Dairy could only defend it self by trying our fusion products wherein the customer gets the best of both the world. Oats with milk could make a cool breakfast beverage based snack.
5 Farming the Future Fresh farm milk and milk products are gaining traction. Along with that Free grazing and Single origin milk is gaining traction.
6 Quick Quality Ready to mix powders for Gulab Jamun, Make it yourself pizza kit, Ice cream and milk shakes  mix powder for home made products like Kulfi and Lassi may be interesting areas to work on.
7 Devouring Digital App based holistic engagement has no bounds. It could do wonders if the interface is robust. In Direct to home delivery few companies are creating wonders.
8 Revenge Spending Single use offerings for costlier sweets, chocolates etc  may give opportunities for the burgeoning consuming class of around 487 millions to savor  luxury brands and high end dairy products.
9 Unpuzzle Health, Breaking the myths and developing clarity in the minds of the consumers must be the strategic intent. Making consumers aware of analogues and telling benefits of cholesterol (ghee) may be a few of the areas to be looked into.
10 Positively Imperfect Selling dairy products under the “natural” label is always better than writing Organic on it without any certification. Share with the consumer even the slightest of your efforts to give her healthy and nutritional dairy food, which is sustainable also.
@Suruchi Research

It is high time for Indian dairy sector to start thinking about innovation and focus on health and nutrition aspects with affordability.

We would like to invite you to World Food India a mega fair on food by Ministry of Food Processing and Govt of India from 3rd-5th Nov 2023 at Pragati Maidan. We will be more than happy in welcoming you at Stall No 75 in Hall no 2G and discuss these trends and a lot more about the dairy sector.

Once again a very Happy and prosperous Diwali to you all.

Source : Fortnightly blog by Kuldeep Sharma Chief editor