The Indian FMCG Opportunity

For: Budding entrepreneurs, investors.

I’m publishing this post with the intention to share the opportunities I have identified in the Indian market — specifically in FMCG. Feel free to share this with anyone that can benefit from this content.

Having spent a little over a month in Mumbai, India studying the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) space, below are the opportunities I see. I entered with the assumption that trend adoption in India lags the West (validated). If approached in an organized manner (adequate funding for top quality product development / brand building / customer education via content building), this is the perfect time to elevate benchmarks in several FMCG verticals.

Why? It’s never been faster and cheaper to educate the masses about your brand’s value proposition. Thank you social media. There’s also a shift in purchasing from independent small grocers (kiranas) to modern grocers (Nature’s Basket, Reliance Fresh, Food Hall, etc.) where products are better presented and therefore better communicated to you, the potential buyer.

For reference, the fastest growing trends in food in the US are as follows (2016):

  1. Organic
  2. X-Free (Dairy-free, Soy-free, Gluten-free, GMO-free, etc.)
  3. All-Natural Ingredients
  4. Alternative Protein Sources
  5. Food Sustainability
FMCG Verticals I See Massive Scope in
  1. Plant-based Meats

60% of India eats meat. Westernization of India means that this number is expected to grow. Given sustainability, ethical, and health concerns (cholesterol, heart-disease, obesity) in the US, the meat-alternative market has grown phenomenally. Product development to mimic the taste and texture of meat (imitate US company formulations and localize flavors) will do wonders to develop this market locally. Would love to be a part of this growth chapter.

Ex- @impossiblefoods, @beyondmeat, @gardein, @fieldroast, @tofurky

2. Nutritional Supplements

54% of protein supplements are imported due to lack of consumer trust in local product quality. This also means that quality products in this space are ridiculously expensive (import duty, added middle-men). Protein supplements available: whey and soy. Plant-based protein sources is very unexplored. Industry seems like a clear lag of the US. Build a brand locally in this space by certifying products (organic, non-gmo, vegan, etc.) and content building to back your product. Product scope unexploited: Protein shakes, green superfood powders, food-based organic vitamins (non-chemical).

3. Dairy-Alternative Milks

Dairy-free is a trend catching on in India. Domestically, Hershey’s SoFit Soy Milk brand monopolizes the market. Industry Revenue (2015): $20.5M growing at an 8% CAGR. Catalyst: Affluent urban consumers aware of health benefits of reducing dairy consumption. US dairy-alternative milk market size: $1.2B. Potential products that could do well banking on natural food trends: flax milk emphasizing omega content, oat milk, rice milk, millet milk. Vitamin fortification, clean labelling, and claims such as cholesterol-free, heart-healthy will drive consumer adoption.

Energy Bars

Healthy-living, nutritional consciousness, protein intake, and chia seeds. Industry Revenue: $40M. Westernization is causing more people to seek quick sources of nutrition. The Indian energy bar market has one large player — Naturell California (RiteBite) — developing a whey and soy based formulation. I think they added “California” at the end of their name to sound imported — pretty misleading. Yogi Bars and Mojo are relatively smaller. However, there’s room for more players to strategically enter with on-trend claims (gluten-free, preservative-free, vegan, plant-protein, etc.) and funding.

Ex- @clifbars, @kindbars, @probar, @squarebar, @newgroundfoods