India And It’s Love Affair with Nature Leave a comment

Over the last few years, consumers in India have laid extreme importance on their health and wellness. The testament to this can be found in the rise of availability of healthy, clean and organic products across categories. This increased focus is not only limited to food and nutrition but also comprises products in the baby care, apparel, skin care, hair care and home decor category. 

At the core of plant based derivatives or veganism lies thoughtfulness – towards other living beings and towards the environment. Today, more than ever, consumers are compassionate and are not choosing products that have used animals as ingredients or for testing. Although vegetarianism is the more popular practice in India, veganism is slowly gaining a strong foothold. In order to elucidate this shift towards more organic and plant based products, we have tried to demarcate all major products across different verticals to look deeply into this healthy transformation. 

  1. PLANT BASED NUTRITION: 

The global plant based nutrition market is valued at USD 1,630 million in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 3,290 million by 2025. Rise in the vegan population, development in technology, rise in cholesterol related diseases and increased focus on sustainability are some factors behind this change. Around 63% of Indians purchase plant based nutrition regularly.  It is set to become the epicentre for vegan products and dairy development. 

Nearly 80% of people in India practice Hinduism; the religion does not require a meat-free diet but vegetarianism is a choice opted by most Hindus. Rising upper middle class households, increased awareness of the global trends and food habits and the need for protein transitions for human and planet health make plant based food ideal for the country. 

Veganism is taking the world by a storm. Food chains, restaurants and manufacturers around the world including Dominos, Cornetto, McDonalds are coming up with plant based alternatives. Of late, Forbes has been encouraging businesses to turn vegan as well. Closer home, the Indian subcontinent has been witnessing an exponential increase in the vegan population. To keep up with the growing demand for plant made nutrition, food chains including Jumping Beans, Smart Alec, Vegan Burger Kitchen, Vegan Oven, Justbe and Bodhi Greens have opened their doors to Indian customers. 

  1. PLANT BASED SKINCARE: 

In recent years with the influx of influencer marketing, one segment which sells like hot pancakes is skincare. People are very mindful of the products they put on their skin, with a complete disclosure and knowledge about the ingredients. There is an increased emphasis on the harvesting and selection process of these substances before inclusion in the skincare ritual. The thoughtful consumer believes in choosing cruelty free cosmetics or cosmetics derived from plants or a similar natural origin. Cosmetics made from animal ingredients or animal derived ingredients such as beeswax, honey, albumen, carmine, gelatine, keratin and lanolin are not environment friendly. 

Over the years with the advent of information, there is an increased awareness related to the mistreatment of farmed animals and environmental exploitation related to the rearing of animals for milk and meat. The urban Indian consumer is more aware of how their purchases impact the planet and their skin. 

According to Market Research Future, the cruelty free cosmetics market is set to grow by 6.1% from 2017 to 2023 globally, with India as a major exporter. In 2019, more than 40 brands offered vegan products in the Indian market in the fashion and beauty segment. Infact, healthy and clean cosmetics are seen to impact consumer loyalty in the long run. 

  1. PLANT BASED HAIR CARE: 

Consumers today seek convenience in hair and personal care routines and are well versed with the damaging effects of harsh chemicals. Millennial consumers definitely lead this trend of seeking the natural, untouched, unfiltered and unmade-up look with their skin and hair care. Furthermore, increased awareness regarding the detrimental impact of synthetic chemicals including sulphates, parabens, fragrances is a catalyst for this shift. India which is the epicentre for herbal and ayurvedic hair and skin care has seen a prominent shift, back to the roots in the recent times. The ecosystem of hair care products features organic ingredients which are responsibly sourced with traditional methods. 

There has been a rise in the demand for organic shampoos with pure plant ingredients to fit specific hair needs such as scalp management, hair growth, reduction in hair fall and dandruff woes. In accordance to which, manufacturers are shifting from solvent based hair care products to water based for minimal side effects. In order to accommodate the ever rising demand for plant based hair care, a growing number of market players are focused on developing refreshing and exciting lines of products with certified ingredients to tackle hair concerns for all hair types and textures. 

Another interesting facet is the affinity of consumers for recyclable product composition and packaging, bereft of plastic. Increased transparency from brands in terms of their carbon footprints, ingredient disclosure and biodegradability efforts is winning applause from consumers. Overall, it is a good time for consumers with plenty of options at the click of a button as well as for producers, with healthy competition.

  1.  PLANT BASED BABY NEEDS: 

The wave of turning towards natural and organic products started with food and nutrition and slowly made its way into every industry. Surprising enough, the most significant growth has been seen in the beauty and baby care industries. A growing number of aware parents have created an absolute need for natural baby products. They prefer to invest in the safest and most secure products for their babies, without chemicals or preservatives. Infact, they are moving towards green parenting which involves taking into account the production process and minimizing the carbon footprint prior to consumption. 

The Indian baby care market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.2% from 2020 to 2025. In order to leverage this situation, brands are using innovative technologies based on robust research to get ahead of their competitors. Some innovations include baby products being made from spun lace, certifications from international certifying authorities, transparency in ingredient disclosure, adoption of a natural process and dermatological testing. As a result of such extensive innovation, the baby care market has expanded into skin care, hair care, baby food, toiletries, footwear, nursing, apparel and more.   

As awareness and per capita income rises among middle class households, parents have become more and more conscious of the products the baby consumes. The most important decision while purchase of baby products is to ensure they are safe, natural and eco friendly. Over the last few years, there has been a large inflow of homegrown baby and mother brands in India including, The Moms Co, Mamaearth, Mimmo Organics, Slurrp Farms , Masilo and Maate. 

  1. PLANT BASED CLOTHING:

Like for most industries, green is a buzzword in the textile industry as well. There is a sudden shift from traditional fabrics to new age fabrics including bamboo and eucalyptus. The growing awareness about climate change is bringing to light the fact that fabric is our second skin; it is important that it is breathable and free of any harsh chemicals. Even though plant based fabrics are expensive, they offer great quality and richness. This comes as a result of greater research by consumers before any purchase, awareness about more sustainable options and a lifestyle switch. 

With the availability of upcycled, fair trade, ethical, eco-friendly and organic alternatives, Indian homegrown brands are making a real statement. Brands including Ka-sha, Maati, Nicobar, PANI swimwear and No Nasties have become very popular with the consumers for their transparent policies, innovative designs and authenticity. Apart from taking care of the environmental concerns, brands also need to focus on respectable working conditions for their artisans and ensure they are paid fair wages.  

With a huge market ahead in the textile industry, it is imperative that these brands keep working towards more ethical and fair policies, ensure good working conditions for their artisans, continue to be honest and transparent with the consumers and also, present our textile expertise to the world. 

  1. PLANT BASED HOME NEEDS:

The growth of veganism in India is not just restricted to the food and wellness industry, it has invaded our homes too! Vegan or cruelty free interiors are made of environmentally friendly materials that do not use any animal by-product. While vegan interiors are still in the nascent stage of popularity and use, we have mentioned some vegan alternatives for our day to day household products. Some of these are mentioned below: 

  1. Use of natural textiles – In curtains, rugs, carpets, cushions, which are not made from animal based materials like cotton, jute, bamboo or linen
  2. Avoid candles made from beeswax or paraffin wax – These are made from animal derived stearic acid. Instead, opt for candles made from soy. 
  3. Go for vegan paints – They are made with vegetable casein which is a protein glue instead of conventional paints which are made from milk protein binder
  4. Wood from sustainable plantations is renewable and offers biodiversity – On the other hand, laminated wood furniture is not vegan as it contains animal derived glue
  5. More indoor plants – Like Snake Plants, Aloe Vera, English Ivy that are perfect for the living room and bedroom. They purify air, eliminate toxic gases and create a relaxing ambience
  6. Artifacts made from any animal bones is a complete no no!
  7. Organic wallpapers – Made from recyclable materials like natural inks and waste materials is another option. 

With tedious work and social lives, today people spend around 80% of their time inside           buildings whether in offices, schools, colleges or homes. Hence, it is important to adopt eco- friendly home interiors for a green home and planet. 

In conclusion, it is important to note that India’s traditional methods of ayurveda, yoga, medicines and organic products are the need of the hour; not only because it is in trend these days but because they are essential for our survival in the long run. Climate change, pollution, bad air quality and less green cover is a major concern for the entire world. It calls for action each minute and that begins with a small step! 

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