Mintel: Nearly 5 in 10 Indians are cooking more at home due to inflation, while dining out preferences focus on healthy options

January 17, 2023

Eating habits among Indians see home-cooked meals becoming more relevant, driven by the rising cost of living, according to new research from Mintel. Half (51%) of consumers* who said they were cooking more in May 2022 compared to the prior three months stated that they would reduce their spending on eating out when the price of ingredients increases.

However, as Covid-19 restrictions ease, consumers are eager to eat out again, with 42% preferring to eat at restaurants that offer healthy options such as plant-based food – indicating a continued focus on health and wellbeing.

Saptarshi Banerjee, Senior Lifestyle Research Analyst, Mintel Reports India, said:

“The series of lockdowns in the last two years drove many people to take up cooking not only as a survival skill but also as a way to derive fun and enjoyment as an activity. This is particularly the case for Younger Millennials aged 25-31, who are more engaged in home cooking than any other generation (55%). Consumers will stick to this eat-at-home trend fueled by inflation and increased interest in healthy eating and the perception of home-cooked food as safe and hygienic.”

However, Mintel research shows that eating out will gain momentum as consumers seek to re-establish those in-person relationships: Indians have returned to restaurants to celebrate special occasions (56%), go on dates (54%) and hang out with friends/families (52%), among other occasions.

“As our research indicates that consumers will return to eating out, restaurants and other eateries can attract them by expanding their healthy offerings. A key opportunity is to leverage the attention towards plant-based foods as Indians aspire to consume a more nutritious diet. The health halo associated with plant-based alternatives is well-suited to address this demand,” Banerjee added.  

Similar to home cooking, consumers’ eating out experience is heavily influenced by hygiene perception, with 40% of Indians prioritizing a clean dining environment over the taste of the food. This rises to 42% among Younger Millennials aged 25-31.

“It is clear that the pandemic has heightened the importance of sanitation. Restaurants and food outlets need to provide hygiene assurances — that they are safe to visit and that their products are safe to use and consume. 

“The rising scepticism of food safety and hygiene perception is drawing consumers’ attention towards sustainability. According to our research, nearly two in five Indians are encouraged to visit a restaurant that is ethical (39%) and promotes sustainable initiatives (37%). Along with their own health, they are becoming more aware of the health of the planet and will seek eco-friendly dining experiences in the future,” Banerjee concluded. 

*3,000 internet users aged 18+

Additional research on Indian consumer attitudes toward eating/eating out and interviews with the analyst are available upon request from the Mintel Press Office. For those interested in purchasing the full report, please visit the Mintel Store.

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