The popularity of Cold Cuts & Deli meat is finally finding its way home with Indian consumers experimenting with everything from prosciutto to salami to hams as part of their diet.
With India, currently, being the second fastest growing market for processed meat and poultry with a CAGR of 22%, it comes as no surprise that cold cuts are finding a share in the Indian plates right from breakfast to dinner.
Various factors are helping boost the popularity of this segment including consumers’ demand for convenience, the greater availability of a variety of cuts from manufacturers and the fact that many Indians are foregoing the vegetarian diet for a comparatively protein-rich meat diet in general.
The expanding urban population base, rising demand for on-the-go foods and increasing awareness about different cold cuts with travel and exposure are definitely some of the drivers for the current spur of growth in the Indian cold cuts market.
Besides the overall booming market for cold cuts, here are the top four trends we see in the Cold Cuts & Deli Meat segment in India:
The Shift in Consumption from Frozen to Fresh Cold Cuts
5 to 10 years ago cold cuts rarely delivered on consumers’ taste, availability and price expectations. Unlike International Markets, where frozen cold cuts are unheard of (and even looked down upon), the supply of Cold Cuts in India was being driven completely by Frozen Cold Cuts & Sausages.
In the last five years, the adoption of consuming Fresh Cold Cuts has been significant across the major cities with consumers foregoing the frozen cold cuts owing to the availability of far better tasting and nutritious fresh and chilled cold cuts.
The difference in taste between freshly-made hams, salamis and sausages versus the same cold cuts in frozen formats is so noticeable that customers are adopting these at a frenetic pace.
Once reserved to a speciality market and meat shops, conventional grocers across cities and feeder cities are slicing into the action with dedicated charcuterie counters stocked with fresh cold cuts to tap into the increasing demand for fresh & never frozen cold cuts.
Emphasis on Ingredients and Quality
Consumers, nowadays, are willing to pay much more for high-quality ingredients and quality. With growing health awareness among consumers, the result can be seen in the increasing demand for cold cuts using natural and healthy cuts like the use of certified hormone and antibiotic free meats in all sausages and cold cuts.
With information being readily available to consumers, this has served as a boon for manufacturers who have primarily focused on providing quality over others looking at only costs.
Further, producers are pushing the envelope to both differentiate their meats and to tap into consumers’ evolving palates. This has given rise to cold cuts and sausages with flavorful ingredients such as the use of Imported Spices and quality cheese inside the meats as well as smoky or spicy offerings.
Highlighting Claim-Based Labels
Today, consumers have become avid label readers and when it comes to meat products they are not only curious about how they are made but also how the animals are raised.
These traits are important to customers. Ten years ago, no one asked for “hormone-free” pork or where it came from—but now transparency is top of mind. From clean labelling and callouts to use of nutritious ingredients and brand transparency, the consumer trend towards health and wellness has placed focus on highlighting claims on the labels.
This makes sense, as health claims in deli meats overall are trending up. According to Nielsen, antibiotic- and hormone-free claims are up 15 per cent in volume, products labelled with no artificial preservatives are up 7 per cent in volume, while all natural is up 2.5 per cent in volume.
Sales of products and brands with a focus on transparency claims including free from artificial ingredients, sustainable and health-focused sourcing and quality ingredients have been the ones to grow over the past few years. Further, products made from heritage breeds—ones that were once raised by our forefathers and are humanely raised and bred for certain traits and consistency of taste and flavour—are getting a lot of attention.
Innovation based on Health and Evolving Palates
Everyone is still very focused on being more health-conscious and conscious of what they're putting into their bodies. Processed products have been notorious for having a concentration of sodium nitrate. However, the deli meat categories have taken leaps ahead been increasingly cooking up offerings to appeal to the health-conscious consumers.
Brands like Prasuma have provided consumers with choice and accessibility for purchasing their favourite cold cuts.
Consumers especially the millennials are increasingly choosing brands that are socially responsible, charitable and authentic. Fewer the ingredients mean a better product with highly wholesome attributes.
About the Author:
Lisa Suwal, CEO, Prasuma Meats & Delicatessen brand since August 2016.