As the world around us changes rapidly and access to information grows exponentially, there has been a shift in the way consumers across India are viewing their lifestyle and food choices. This shift in perception is especially evident amongst younger Indians, between the ages of 18 -35 years, who have become cognizant of their lifestyles, and are consciously taking steps to improve it.
According to a recent survey conducted between 5th – 25th March 2021 by Ipsos India, a research consulting firm, 78% respondents feel healthy snacking is important (Very important (58%) and Fairly Important (20%) amidst changing lifestyles. The quantitative survey by Ipsos India aimed to identify the changing snacking habits and preferences amongst India’s urban youth amidst the evolving modern lifestyle. Overall, the survey results showcase how increasingly younger people in India are becoming more concerned about their health and this is propelling them to change their snacking habits. The survey highlights how younger people across India, are increasingly opting for healthy and nutritious snacking options like almonds and fruits, instead of high calorie junk foods.
A total of 4,148 respondents, NCCS A men and women, between the age group of 18 to 35 years were interviewed across 12 cities in India, including, Delhi, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Hyderabad.
Almonds have emerged as a top choice amongst the Indian youth as 64% respondents mentioned that they considered almonds as a snacking option owing to the perceived health benefits of regular consumption. Choice of snacking amongst respondents, is most influenced by ‘Taste’ and ‘Health/Nutrition’. Interesting to note, that Gen Z and millennials associate almonds with nutritious (41%), healthy (39%), protein dense (38%) and vitamin loaded (36%). Majority of respondents (84%) believed that regular almond consumption helped in strengthening immunity, which made snacking on them relevant. Besides almonds, almost 50% respondents also mentioned that they had started to include healthier options like green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits and juices to their snacking routine.
This move towards healthier snacks like almonds, seems to be prompted by the youth’s concerns about their nutritional needs as 66% respondents highlighted that they were worried about this. ‘Weight gain’ as well as ‘eating unhealthy food’ were primary drivers for these concerns. Respondents from northern cities (Delhi, Lucknow, Ludhiana and Jaipur) were most worried about their nutritional needs, as 3/4th respondents from this zone highlighted this. 51% respondents also claimed that they paid attention to the ingredients and nutrients present in foods, before choosing snacks. Within these, female respondents in age group of 26-35 years were higher. Additionally, another noteworthy finding was the fact many respondents (61%) preferred home cooked foods or snacks prepared at home, over packed goods.
With several young professionals working from home since March last year, and students attending schools and colleges virtually, the sense of routine that many followed pre-pandemic has hit pause, and many are struggling to adapt to this new sense of normal. Younger consumers have since acknowledged the need to re-look at their lifestyles, and incorporate healthy habits like mindful snacking, exercising every day, and taking breaks from the various screens that surround us.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, said, “This past year and a half has been very challenging for all but has also forced us to prioritize our health. The results of this survey are very heartening, and it’s great to see how invested the Indian youth is in maintaining their health and lifestyle. Snacking on nutrient dense foods like almonds is a way to maintain one’s weight, while also adding more nutrients to the diet. So be sure to eat a handful of almonds every day and urge others too. The health benefits of doing this are diverse!”
According to Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head – Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi, “The results of this survey are very interesting, as they highlight an important shift in food choices, and snacking patterns amongst the majority of the Indian population – the youth. Contrary to our expectations, it’s great to see how younger Indians are already so concerned about their lifestyle and nutritional needs and are actively making an effort to stay healthy. Almonds, indeed, makes for a very good snack. They provide satiating properties, which help keep a person full, and can be eaten anytime during the day. There are also several ways in which the youth can experiment with almonds – they could eat them raw, soaked, roasted, salted or combined with several other flavours and in recipes. From a nutritional point of view, almonds make for a wonderful addition to the diet as they provide benefits across heart health and diabetes, both lifestyle disorders which are increasingly impacting younger Indians.”
Another noteworthy finding the survey highlighted was the increase in frequency of snacking for Indian youth during the pandemic as almost 1/4th respondents mentioned this. More than 1/3rd of the respondents felt that snacking had replaced their main meals. The common reasons for these were because they were ‘Too busy to eat a sit-down meal’ and ‘Snacks are convenient in the busy schedule’. While 50% respondents mentioned they snacked once a day, 41% mentioned they snacked twice a day. Frequency of snacking is higher in the younger age group (18-25 years).