Ranjana Sundaresan
Ranjana is Mintel’s Senior Research Analyst based in Mumbai. She specialises in analysing global consumer trends—with an Indian focus—and global trend observations.

Ayurveda is a widely accepted traditional system of medicine in India and many elements of it are used in everyday home remedies, particularly when it comes to herbs and spices. According to Mintel research, one in four Indian adults aged 18-64 said that they have used Ayurveda as a complementary medicine. Older consumers were more likely to have used Ayurveda than younger ones, and women more likely than men.

In recent years, Ayurvedic ingredients have been finding their way into everyday consumer products, not just in India, but globally as well, as a means for holistic wellness. This is in line with Mintel’s 2017 Food and Drink Trend ‘In Tradition We Trust’, which highlights how brands are increasingly looking to the past for inspiration.

In India, the majority of product innovation with Ayurveda as a descriptor has been in the beauty and personal care space, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD). This has been driven by the immense popularity of local FMCG company, Patanjali Ayurved. The uptake of Ayurveda in food and drink launches, however, has been far slower. Between 2015 to 2017, fewer than 1% of food and drink launches made overt Ayurvedic claims, with tea being the top category. This is likely because herbs and spices are commonly added to tea in India to enhance taste and functionality, making this category more conducive to such value-addition.

In 2016, Tata Global Beverages (TGB) added an Ayurveda-inspired range to its tea portfolio. Tata Tea Teaveda offers three variants that combine Assam black tea with Ayurvedic ingredients to give ‘Indian consumers access to everyday practical Ayurveda’, according to the company. Teaveda is said to have been launched more than two years after the company had conducted a pilot for Ayurvedic tea.

Other tea brands in the country have also started to tap into this trend, with the number of tea launches with Ayurvedic cues trebling between 2015 and 2017. However, only 4% of overall tea launches featured Ayurvedic ingredients or cues. This indicates significant opportunity for the tea category in terms of giving consumers a convenient, ready-to-use blend of tea and herbs for both general and specific health benefits. Highlighting the functional benefits of the ingredients can add to the health association with the product and in turn justify premiumisation of the segment.

Local tea brands highlighting their Ayurveda connection

Khadi Tulsi Green Tea

Himalaya Wellness AyurSlim Tea Methi, Green Tea & Lemon (Fenugreek, Green Tea & Lemon)

Organic India Tulsi Sweet Rose Tea

Recent innovations in green tea and herbal teas have seen this segment of the retail market grow significantly faster than black tea, particularly due to the health benefits highlighted by green tea brands. In 2016, green tea volume sales grew considerably more than black tea, according to Mintel estimates. This indicates that consumers are willing to pay extra for quality products with functional benefits, opening up opportunity for more value-added launches within the tea space.

However, black tea—with milk and sugar—remains the mainstay in India, accounting for majority of volume sales. In light of this, using black tea as a base for herbal or Ayurvedic infusions will allow consumers to experiment and trade up within a familiar space first before exploring other tea varieties.