Sustainability and wellness to drive supply chain and consumer demand

The pandemic has caused hygiene, nutrition and wellness to become one of the topmost priorities for consumers. Experts from Danone India, Abbott Nutrition, IFF India and Zydus Wellness look at how shifting consumer demand patterns are set to drive the industry forward

29 Mar 2021 | By WhatPackaging? Team

(Clockwise) Prakash MG, Swati Dalal, Himanshu Bakshi, Steven Bartholomeusz and Tarun Arora

Prakash MG, managing director, IFF India, Tarun Arora, CEO, Zydus Wellness, Swati Dalal, managing director, Abbott Nutrition and Himanshu Bakshi, managing director, Danone India, were the panellists for the session. And Steven Bartholomeusz, policy director, Food Industry Asia (FIA) was its moderator.

According to Tarun Arora of Zydus Wellness, one of the biggest changes the pandemic had caused was addressing the demand-supply gap. “We used this situation as an opportunity to build our supply chain processes from a long-term perspective. This included a relook at our warehousing infrastructure. Increasing our supply chain’s agility and digitising it has become one of our key focus areas now.”

He then touched upon the nutrient-focused and health-conscious consumer behaviour in the last year. Himanshu Bakshi of Danone India concurred with Arora on the rise of a health-conscious consumer trend. He said, “Preventive health has become a trend. Consumers are rooting for immune-boosting products now. Besides this, eCommerce has grown and the rise of virtual reality has increased the digital involvement of brands. Thus, in terms of a long-term impact, food safety, eCommerce and focus on nutrition are here to stay.”

“People are reading more back-of-the-pack labels now to check the product’s nutritional benefits. According to a recent study, the search for this nutritional aspect of products have gone by 120% and we have experienced this trend at our company,” said Arora.

Swati Dalal of Abbott Nutrition, added, “Consumers are seeking more information about the product and ingredients. This has prompted brands to promote healthy lifestyles and employ transparent and responsible marketing strategies. This consumer’s focus on health has created newer opportunities. However, this concept of good nutrition requires a collective effort from brands, consumers, academia and organisations, so that we can build healthy communities.”

She also shared numbers that highlighted how consumers are prioritising products with health defence – The past year saw 66% of consumers determine their product choices based on health impact; there was 34% growth in immunity boosters and multivitamins purchased online; 75% of consumers are rooting for immunity boosting products in the post-Covid era.

Prakash MG of IFF India discussed how the company focused on core brands and products to a smoother manufacturing flow during the pandemic and how it was able to collaborate with organisations such as FICCI to ensure continuous supplies and deliveries. He also highlighted the developments at IFF India during the Covid-19 pandemics. “We saw two major developments last year - our merger with Dupont and the commissioning of a new facility at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh – both are huge milestones for us,” he said.

The panellists also highlighted the role of consumer education and how a transparent marketing strategy to connect with customers can help the brand.

WhatPackaging? take:

Supply chain agility will be one of the key drivers for growth. Healthiness and nutrition will have to be backed with the right taste and price affordability to drive market demand as each aspect is equally essential from a consumer perspective. Packaging will play a major role in communicating the nutritional benefits of their products. Portion-based packaging will see an upswing due to these health-conscious consumer trends.