Ingredient makers have been finding increasing opportunities in India’s bakery market, with consumers’ changing lifestyles driving the recent phase of growth.
Speaking at last week’s Fi India exhibition in Mumbai, Vinod Kandpal, a bakery product manager, told FoodNavigator-Asia that the middle-class’s increasing purchasing power is behind much of the market for baked goods.
“The demand for more innovative products is driving our growth. There is a social change in India—a lifestyle change. With the growth of the urban population, dietary habits have changed,” said Kandpal, who works for Stern Ingredients India, which offers Germany-based DeutscheBack’s functional systems for bread and pastry goods to its clients in India.
While previous generations of Indians preferred to make their own fresh dough and consume traditional home-baked items, “The new generation does not have that kind of time, especially those in the metros. They prefer ready-to-eat food to home-cooked, and bakery items are ready-to-eat,” he continued.
“Indian consumers might in the past have consumed no more than bread when it comes to the bakery segment. But now, at least in urban India, they are eager to try new items, such as cakes, cupcakes, croissants and rolls.”
The industry is seeing dramatic changes in bread choices, forcing bakers to innovate more with their ingredients. There is also a newfound demand for brown and multi-grain breads across India.
“Consumers are more aware of what goes into their bread; they want to know the ingredients of what they eat. They are aware of health and wellness issues, so they want more wholewheat and want multi-grain bread,” he said.
This has created a host of new opportunities for ingredient producers as bread makers strive for more nutrition and consistency in their formulations and taste profiles, said Kandpal.
His insights were similar to the National Institute of Nutrition's observations earlier this year when it asked bakeries to focus more on innovation and better ingredients to keep pace with fast-changing consumer trends.