Majority of Indians Are Seeking Healthier Lifestyles Through Diet and Exercise


The COVID-19 outbreak has made healthy living the prime focus for many consumers. According to the latest Mintel research, more than half of all Indian consumers* say they included all essential nutrients (eg proteins, vitamins) in their meals (52%) and consumed more food and drinks containing potentially healthier ingredients (eg brown rice, organic fruits) (50%) more often during the pandemic (2020) than before the pandemic (2019). Furthermore, 51% say they exercised (eg brisk walking, doing yoga) more regularly (eg at least 3 times a week) in 2020 compared to 2019 for Healthy Living. Nine in 20 consumers say they actively sought out ways to improve their sleep and reduce stress (eg practising meditation) more in 2020 (47% respectively).

For the majority of Indians, remaining physically active (eg.: jogging, cycling) (57%), eating regular meals (ie, not skipping meals) (55%) and building immunity (eg, preventing common colds) defines a healthy lifestyle or Healthy Living.

Nidhi Sinha, Head of Content, Mintel India Consumer, said, “The pandemic has amplified the need for healthy living, driving greater consumer focus on holistic health solutions across diet, physical, mental and environmental health. Brands can tap into the changing habits of consumers and nudge them towards making healthier choices by offering innovations such as added functional benefits in foods and drinks, and grooming products for a relaxed mind, rooted in familiar traditional ingredients.”

Holistic well-being is a common goal among Indians due to the impact the pandemic has had on nearly every part of consumers’ lives. Consumers now associate a good night’s sleep with a healthy lifestyle. Food and drink brands can tap into the well-being trend by introducing a host of sleep-inducing products that aid in relaxing, stress-free sleep.

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She added, “For consumers focused on boosting immunity, including more than half of women, according to our research, there is an opportunity for brands to position supplements focused on life-stage needs, for example, bone health and hormonal issues for women. What’s more, incorporating immunity boosting ingredients in familiar food items and customising by cohorts, such as added protein for young consumers and vitamins for those pursuing fitness, will help brands tap an audience interested in trying new things.”

Health goals determine consumer profile

The majority (48%) of Indian consumers are ‘influenced health consumers’, those who are influenced by advertisements and social media campaigns to live more healthily: 62% of these consumers claim to have eaten more healthy foods in 2020 compared to the year prior.

One in five (22%) Indians are ‘health seekers’, individuals that look for products and services that fit into their way of life and will help them live a healthy lifestyle: 35% of these consumers say they actively reduced consumption of unhealthy ingredients in their food in 2020 compared to 2019.

Sinha also said, “The cohort we call the ‘influenced health consumer’ are motivated by advertisements on different diets and regimes that promote healthy eating, exercise and relaxation, like steam inhalation and pranyama. Brands looking to target this majority group should consider streamlining healthy living including mental wellness and relaxation products and services using social media and other digital channels, and leveraging social media influencers, celebrities, and online videos to drive engagement.”

“While ‘health seekers’ believe physical and mental wellness is important, they are inclined to seek fun and easy ways to achieve their health goals, especially through enjoyment of foods with added nutritional benefits. Food brands could innovate with ingredients like millet and flax seeds that add fibre to the diet to enhance the health quotient of categories like snacks and bakery. Including de-stressing, emotional wellbeing, and paraben- or sulphate-free claims across categories like bath products, body oils, and creams could help this consumer group take to a holistic health regime,” concluded Sinha.

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