With the number of lifestyle-related diseases escalating steadily in recent times, more and more people are looking towards healthier options when it comes to food. Natural foods and low-sugar drinks are rapidly becoming the preferred choice. This has, in turn, pushed the bigwigs in the food industry to rethink their products so as to comply with the new demands and Nestlé is already on it.
Enabling a “healthier future” is one of the main purposes of the organization according to Suresh Narayanan, MD, and chairman of Nestlé India. Fortune India reported him saying that the company has reduced the sodium content on a product like Maggi by more than a third, in the last 10 – 15 years. It also has a patented technology, which has the ability to reduce sugar by up to 50% in chocolates without compromising on the taste.
India Brand Equity Foundation has reported that the Indian food and retail industry is expected to reach $482 billion by 2020 and the fastest-growing segment among them is the consumer goods. “For us, it is not the nomenclature what we give it but the scientific veracity of the ingredients we use. For us, it is more the science we use rather than calling it organic or Ayurvedic,” says Narayanan in response to the massive growth of Patanjali, the Ayurveda brand from India.
Nestlé bought a majority stake in Terrafertil this February. It is an Ecuadorian company selling natural and organic plant-based foods. Looking further back, Nestlé purchased Canadian vitamin maker Atribum Innovations for $2.3 billion in 2017. Both these acquisitions are steps towards healthier food products for their consumers.
When it comes to organic food, Narayanan says that they are still working on how and what can be done with regard to it. “However, in that space, all efforts and endeavors will be to reduce and to replace some of the areas, which are a concern of the customer from a scientific point of view,” is Narayanan’s statement on the continuing demand for processed foods. How this balance is going to be met by food giants like Nestlé and PepsiCo is yet to be seen.