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Study reveals majority of Indians prioritise nutrition over taste
Wednesday, 29 May, 2024, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
Wonderful Pistachios, the world’s largest grower and processor of pistachios and distributor of California Pistachios in India, released, World Nutrition Day, the findings of a new global study that sheds light on the snacking habits of urban Indians. The study, commissioned with Material, a leading global research consultancy, included 10 countries and over 12,400 respondents, revealed a new behavioural trend that urban Indian consumers prioritize nutrition over taste when it comes to snacking. This growing preference for healthy snacking emphasizes the importance of good nutrition for overall well-being.

For the India market specifically, the study delved into the snacking habits of 2,415 shoppers across six Indian cities, which represented a population of approximately 35.9 million consumers. Remarkably, a majority of urban Indians (58%) reported basing their food purchasing decisions on nutritional benefits more than taste, exceeding the global average of 52%. Delhi and Ahmedabad lead with over 60% of urban shoppers preferring nutrition in their food. Bengaluru and Chennai follow closely, indicating a nationwide shift towards smarter snacking preferences. In India, Millennials and Gen Z are leading the charge in health-conscious purchasing decisions, with more than 83% of consumers in these age groups reading nutritional labels before buying.

Indian consumers prioritize four key factors when shopping for nutritional snacks: natural (free of artificial colours and preservatives), heart-healthy, protein-rich, and provides energy. Nine out of 10 urban shoppers consciously seek protein-rich food options, compared to the global average of seven out of 10. The focus on nutrition has fueled the rise of nuts as a preferred snack choice, becoming essential to daily eating habits. The study found a staggering consumption of nuts, with 86% of Indian shoppers report purchasing them in a span of 6 months, compared to just 75% globally. With 6g of protein in per 28g serving, California Pistachios are a smart snack choice that provides benefits without sacrificing taste.

Shail Pancholi, country director, India, Wonderful Pistachios, said, “Nuts were traditionally used as garnishes and consumed during festivals, but have now become a popular snack in India, indicating a notable shift in dietary habits. Pistachio consumption in India has doubled in the last six years, as consumer awareness of the nutritional benefits that pistachios offer has grown. Consumers are discovering that pistachios are naturally cholesterol-free, rich in plant-based protein and dietary fibre, and provide over 30 different vitamins and minerals.”

Interestingly, the study found that nuts are the second most preferred snack among urban Indian consumers, with 64% of Baby Boomers and 59% of Gen Z prioritizing nutrition over taste when selecting food. This indicates a growing focus on health across generations, with Baby Boomers focusing on senior wellness and Gen Z reflecting the rise of mindful purchasing. Though on opposite ends of the age spectrum, these two generations take the lead in seeking protein-rich options, as well as preferring natural snacks.

Mumbai tops most of the consideration sets when choosing a snack. Residents opt for natural ingredients (35% vs. the national average of 30%), heart-healthy options (33% vs. 30%), and protein (33% vs. 29%). Chennai residents look for energy-boosting snacks (31% vs. the national average of 29%).

The fact that 69% of urban Indians surveyed have the opinion that that plant-based protein is just as good as meat-based protein reflects a positive shift towards varied dietary preferences. Pistachios are a good source of high-quality complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. A 28g serving of pistachios provides 6g of protein, which is 11% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) according to FSSAI.

The Wonderful Pistachios study unveils a compelling shift in Indian snacking habits. Nuts are evolving from festive treats to a daily snacking staple, fuelled by a nationwide preference for more nutritious options.  The trend transcends generations, resonating with Gen Z and Baby Boomers alike, underscoring the growing importance of mindful eating in urban India. As consumers increasingly seek natural, heart-healthy, protein-rich, and energy-boosting snacks, the future of Indian snacking appears to be firmly rooted in nutrition and well-being.
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