afaqs! news bureau

Indians fancy healthy, natural and sustainable products: Nielsen report

Nielsen’s BASES study shows that sustainability for consumers is more about tangible benefits of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and organic ingredients.

Nielsen BASES released its highly anticipated Top Breakthrough Innovation Winners in India, for 2020. The release unveils successful innovations by brands across India, showcasing winners’ effective strategies and how they brought their plans to life.

“When it comes to evaluating innovations, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach anymore. It is critical to understand the business objectives and the innovation strategy. A key factor to also consider is the endurance of innovation over time in sync with revenue objectives and other criteria,” said Vidya Sen, BASES Leader, South Asia.

BASES uses different evaluation criteria for innovations that are meant to be mass vs others that target a more niche audience by strategy. This varies depending on whether the objective is to garner long-term revenue gain vs. short term, growing the category pie, gaining share within the category or just staving off competitive pressure. Nielsen BASES scrutinized more than 4,000 innovations across 85 categories with a minimum 18 months in market presence in FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) and OTC (over-the-counter) and has released a list of 23 winners.

Consumers in India have prioritised health over the last few years, and this focus is fueling growing interest in natural and plant based products. In a study conducted in November 2020, 60% respondents indicated that natural products were more important to them today than a year ago.

“While naturals as a trend has been around for the past few years, it is really interesting to see how the nuances are changing over time and going beyond the goodness of nature”, said Sen. “New age brands are re-defining it as safe, fresh and focusing on homemade fresh, transparent processes and a clean label,” she added.

The BASES consumer study shows that sustainability for consumers is more about the tangible benefits of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ (66%) and organic and natural ingredients (58%). Fifty-six percent of the consumers contacted by BASES say they would definitely switch to an eco friendly brand, given a similar product experience as their current brand. Innovations that made it to the Breakthrough Winners list are very conscious of this shift in consumer behaviour and healthy, natural and sustainable are core to their product offerings.

Another trend that emerged in a BASES study conducted in April 2020, was concern for the family. Consumers ranked products that claimed to ‘protect their family’ over those that claimed to kill germs and bacteria, or boost immunity. This ask of emotional benefit of the innovation for consumers has been amplified by the onset of the pandemic earlier this year, with the lockdown and people at home.

Some winners have innovated in their go-to-market strategies with a ‘digital first’ strategy, moving from ‘mass marketing’ to ‘personalisation at scale’. These trends have led to launch and market in an accelerated and focused manner. Others have mapped online audience behavior to deliver personalised and relevant messages to their target group consumers. Their media strategy also then helped them to deliver the messages in an integrated manner across all the touchpoints of the consumer journey.

“As we look to identify innovation spaces for the future, marketers and brand managers would do well by taking note of shifts in consumer behaviour towards products offering a ‘Healthy for me’ and ‘Healthy for we’ promise,” says Sen. “‘Vocal for local’ is a trend that has picked up steam this year, and now innovations from local brands can be proudly vocal about their origin through their ingredients, packaging, and even brand name,” she added.