However, direct to consumer brands in the health food space have managed to raise just about $100 million, despite most companies claiming that the sub-segment will grow significantly post covid.
"Historically, the Indian consumer has strongly preferred taste-led snack categories such as potato chips, extruded snacks, chocolates, and cookies. Hence, it only makes sense to give consumers healthier options in these categories rather than expecting them to change their taste preferences suddenly to health bars and makhanas," said said Anish Basu Roy, founder, TagZ Foods that is popular for its potato chips, and has recently launched gourmet dips and premium bar snacks.
For instance, health bars and makhanas accounted for a minuscule share of the Rs 80,000 crore healthy snacking segment in India last year with sales of Rs97 crore and 150 crore each.
Research firm Kantar had forecasted snacking to grow by about 9%. About nine in 10 Indians or 88% said they are snacking more during the pandemic than before it, with millennials likely preferring snacks over meals, according to a 2020 study by Mondelez International and The Harris Poll, which covered nearly 6300 people across 12 countries.
Packaged salty snacks and biscuits are an over 65,000-crore market, and two of the largest categories within India’s fast moving consumer goods basket. While Indians prioritised snacks over meals over the past year , three-fourths of Indians have relied on snacks for nourishment and a majority of them are actively seeking snacks that are high protein and vitamin rich, the study added.
"It is improbable that consumers will completely ignore their taste preferences in their search for healthier snacks. The need of the hour is to innovate using global advances in food technology and provide the consumer with better-for-you chips, chocolates, and cookies," added Roy.