Indian children are among the most severely malnourished in the world. While low incomes are a key factor, urban children do not eat balanced diets. The growth of nuclear families and less time to cook at home contribute to nutritional deficiencies. Millennial parents pay more attention to their children’s nutrition. Though kids’ nutrition has attracted a lot of attention, few products focus on meeting their needs. A few manufacturers seek to address this by introducing children’s snacks.
The Indian population is undergoing dramatic shifts that are reshaping how people relate to food. The rise of nuclear families, urbanisation, changing gender roles and independent living are altering food consumption habits. These changes are extending to what parents are feeding their children.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development’s National Family Health Survey highlighted the extent of malnutrition among kids in the age group of 0-5 years. In India, there is void when it comes to kids’ nutrition, as child-specific products have yet to take off in packaged food. Currently, parents are feeding their kids traditional homemade dishes and snacks that are thought to fulfil their nutritional needs.
Packaged food companies in India do not typically target specific age groups, but rather offer products for all ages. However from 2015 India has seen the emergence of a few food startups that focus on kids’ nutrition. However, these companies offer limited product categories within snacks and need to explore a wider range of food options.
More than designing the right product, manufacturers need to keep in mind consumption inertia, creating the right distribution channel and communicating the message. New entrants and the existing packaged food conglomerates should assess the opportunities in the kids’ snacks market in India, and also draw learning from the successful kids’ snack startups.
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