Why startups focusing on healthy food sector may be the next big disruptor?Samrat Reddy
Nature has its own way of balancing everything on the planet. No matter what we do, one thing humans cannot rewrite is the balance of life. This also holds true with the food we consume. The stone age man lived off natural fruits, vegetables and meat. And until a few decades ago, most of the food grew organically and was sourced locally.
However, over the last two decades, F&B (food and beverage) has become more industrial than ever. Mass production of F&B products with better shelf life meant higher revenues. So, food with preservatives and food which can essentially be processed in factories has taken a huge market share.
Off late, there has been a realisation across the globe, with respect to health and wellness. Most people these days make it a point to invest their time and energy into staying fit and eating right. With the advent of the internet and the availability of information over the last 20 years, the customer is well informed of what is really healthy and what is not. The global wellness industry grew 12.8 percent from 2015-2017, from a $3.7 trillion to a $4.2 trillion market. To put that in the economic context, from 2015-2017, the wellness economy grew 6.4 percent annually, nearly twice as fast as global economic growth (3.6 percent). (source: https://globalwellnessinstitute.org).
A shift towards wholesome & healthy food options
Now, talking about healthy F&B, there are very few things which can be mass produced and stored and transported like industrial goods. Natural, fresh and locally sourced food is considered to be more wholesome and healthy than packaged food off the shelf. The progressive health and wellness consumers are increasingly influencing and changing the F&B culture. The consumers are looking beyond the weight loss fad as wholesome food, which gives us energy and connects to our body, has become more valuable than a zero sugar or a zero fat food product.
Capitalising on new market trends
Recognising the market gap for wholesome food options, a lot of new businesses in the F&B sector are focussing towards health and wellness. Some of these companies aim to meet the customers need for minimally processed products containing natural ingredients while at the same time maintaining shelf life and food safety standards. On the other hand, few companies concentrate on providing fresh and wholesome food to the consumers, which mean the products having a lesser shelf life. According to Nielsen, the overall health and wellness food products segment crossed Rs 10,000 crore sales mark in 2015, less than 10 percent of the overall food market, and the entrepreneurs are capitalising on the rising demand for healthy F&B.
A big challenge in this model is the logistics and sourcing. Fresh food production is highly dependent on the seasons and weather conditions and there is a very heavy investment in cold storage for retaining the freshness of the product. But a lot of new startups are being very innovative and are implementing new methods and processes to solve these issues and make sure the market gap is addressed.
As a consumer, we have thousands of options for processed food but very few organic and healthy options. The market is there, but there is no real big game changer who has come and captured this huge market to cater to the needs of the new age consumer who demands a high quality wholesome and healthy product. But like any other market need, this would be filled and satisfied in the near future and it is likely to have the next disruptor from the startup serving healthy F&B.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)