India is a country with a rich history of spices, seasonings, and seasoning mixes. From turmeric to cumin, black cardamom to mustard seeds, India is famous for its diverse and flavorful spices. Traditionally, consumers in India have purchased these products in unpackaged formats, but recent changes in the landscape brought by the pandemic have led to a shift towards ecommerce.
During the pandemic outbreak, online shopping saw a surge in popularity as consumers spent more time at home, and this extended to the buying and selling of spices, seasonings, and seasoning mixes. Mintel Trend Straight to You highlights how consumers expect products and services to be delivered directly to them, wherever they are. Our research shows that metro-dwelling Indians and non-working women are seeking value-for-money deals – something that ecommerce channels can offer. For instance, 77% of non-working Indian women (vs 72% of working women) said deals given for spices, masala mixes or seasonings by ecommerce sites are better than ones given by general kirana stores.
Brands like Fresh Ground are leveraging consumers’ affinity towards ecommerce channels for purchasing spices. It is said to be India’s first spice subscription company powered by patent-pending grinding on-demand technology. Subscribers can also enjoy the freshness of spices that are claimed to be ground just hours before arriving at their doorsteps.
One of the driving forces behind this shift towards ecommerce is the growing consumer demand for authenticity. Today, consumers want the ‘real thing’ (i.e. food that is not only made from real ingredients but also able to deliver an authentic experience), with over a third (36%) of Indians saying they are interested in tracking food online from source to shelf (i.e. tracing the origin and history of its ingredients). This consumer sentiment calls for brands to provide ways to verify product information through supply chains that can be digitally tracked and ingredient platforms that detail the origin and purpose of each ingredient and some DTC brands are taking note.
For example, Pahari Roots claims that its chillies are grown in Dulongnar, a small village in Meghalaya. Meanwhile, Be Filtered’s Instagram page conveys authenticity by showing footage of how spices are sourced, made and processed.
While the traditional spice markets of India still hold a special place in the hearts of many consumers, ecommerce is changing the way people shop for spices, seasonings, and seasoning mixes. Brands that can adapt to this changing landscape by offering convenience, dialling up hygiene and purity, using technology to showcase transparency and authenticity and even providing customised offerings to capture the attention of the next generation of spice consumers in India.