Off the Shelf provides a platform for Retailers and Consumer Packaged Goods companies to discuss and gain insights on the pressing problems, trends and solutions.

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January 20, 2011

Promoting Health and Wellness for Indian Consumers

India is now a rapidly growing retail market with organized retail at 6- 7 % of the annual $ 400 bn pie and growing significantly every year. While the Indian Government grapples with the idea of allowing large global retailers to set up shop and sell directly to end consumers, Indian Retailers should focus on offering benefits beyond price and convenience to retain leadership and the loyalty of the growing consumer base.

India’s middle class market is estimated to be over 300 Mn strong and incomes and lifestyle of young Indians are changing. Indians are becoming more health conscious in the larger cities evidenced by the mushrooming of gyms and fitness centers. Indian retailers can seize this trend and promote health and wellness by guiding consumers to choose and shop for healthier products or substitutes among the plethora of competing brands and items. This not only positions the retailer as a sensitive and responsible entity in the eyes of the consumer but also promotes overall well-being of the population.

Packaged food items that are present on retail shelves carry ingredients information as well as nutrients information. Most Indian consumers do not have the knowledge to interpret this information and apply them in their daily diets. While a large number of food brands might be packaged and priced attractively they may not be scoring well in nutrition. Retailers can interpret the ingredients and nutrients information effectively and suitably advise consumers on their purchase decisions.

One case example where this has been successfully introduced is at Hannaford Bros, a large retail chain in the US. The retailer developed a scoring methodology and attributed star ratings to their different food items by interpreting the ingredients and nutrients information present on the case packs. This was seen as a great value addition by the consumers and general population alike.

It’s also obvious that such endeavors have to actively use technology as an enabler to operationalize and successfully implement. Retailers should use such case examples as a guiding engine to effectively compete in what I perceive would be a highly competitive war for the share of the Indian consumer wallet in the next decade.