Rajappan Jayakumar, Co-founder & CEO, Grami SuperFoods

Rajappan Jayakumar started his career as an Industrial Engineer. With 30+ years in the field of online and enterprise technology has worked with brands like Microsoft, and Fujitsu Technologies Senior Executive Level. Apart from learning the ropes about the enterprise industry, Jayakumar has also gained expertise and has led multiple innovations across industry verticals & is now keenly focussed on evangelizing millets & millets-based products.

 

We Indians have an intricate love affair with food! With 1.3 billion people we have as much diversity in our food habits as it has in its people. Food has played a strong part in the culture and tradition and has united the people despite culinary differences. We have watched an emerging trend of people looking for different walks to build and maintain a healthy lifestyle by proactively choosing the right food products to meet their diet and health goals.

Pandemic fast-tracked the movement toward food that supports the immune system.

Pandemic crisis has certainly disrupted life around the world in many ways. As soon as it comes to processed food, the crisis has created a large market opportunity: an increasing demand for food that supports the immune system.

This pandemic has brought the benefits of home food back into focus. With lockdown and seal down, people have rediscovered their cooking skills, and the rise of home chefs – people who earn an income through food supplied from their home kitchens – has created a new booming business.

There are multiple superfoods that are being involved. Our ancient foods are brought back into the limelight, as the world is rediscovering its health benefits.

Superfoods like Quinoa, Millets, etc are making a huge comeback. Seeds like sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds are also making a huge comeback in people’s everyday life. Millets are being proven to be the most sustainable forms of nutrition and immunity in this Covid stricken world. It is not unusual to see a whole range of products right from breakfast products noodles, pasta, etc now made with these superfoods. Startups like Grami Superfoods a Bangalore-based startup that focuses on convenient superfoods have also developed value added products with these superfoods.

Inclusive Health

For a whole lot of people health has been redefined, and not just due to COVID-19. Health is no longer just good health or prolonged existence but now includes sustained physical life and mental quickness. There is a newfound love of personal health goals being as important as a career and other goals. With longer and more stressful living, as well as lifestyle-related diseases on the rise, people believe that health cannot be taken henceforth lightly. Annual health check-ups are becoming rigorous for millennials and young genres, not just the middle-aged and the elderly lot.

There has been a great emphasis on teaching holistic and sustainable health management – gyms, yoga and meditation retreats, and rejuvenating spas.

Nutrition – A key Factor 

The utmost significant expression of this hope for better health is in changing the very nature of food habits. Today’s digitally connected shopper stays informed of new diets and cults, about macro and micronutrients, calorie counts, and portion controls.

Social media study reveals us there is a small but growing adoption of vegan diets, along with subscription-based diets like calorie-counted meals and low-carb meals. While taste remains the main concern for liking across various categories, it is driven by strong nutritional-based claims to encourage health assurance. This has encouraged food and beverage manufacturers to reduce salt and sugar in their products, including noodles reducing salt in their recipe and Pepsi/Coke lowering sugar and replacing with plant-based sweeteners such as stevia – or by launching healthier alternatives. 

Immunity building as potential has also increased in many products ranging from teas to ingredients like turmeric. Taboola claims to have found their content discovery and advertising platform a whopping 39% increase in page view traffic to stories related to health claims about turmeric and immunity-boosting foods during the lockdown (to 5.6 million views). The AYUSH Ministry prescribes Ayurveda and immunity-boosting food has led to an improved focus on drinking kadha (a liquid concoction of Indian spices, sometimes drunk with added tea leaves) and eating supplements like Chyawanprash (an ayurvedic recipe of an immunity building mixture). Superfood Turmeric (Haldi) has been taken up in many recent product launches like haldi milk from national and regional brands like Amul, Mother Dairy, and Nandini.

While we talk of the growing trends towards healthy eating, holistic health, and immunity building, we should also consider the ‘snacking and indulgence’ phenomenon we see in most households. 

The current lifestyle pressures also push consumers towards the comfort food that works as a ‘pick me up. Consumers are looking to manage their emotional wellbeing and treating themselves with easy-going food as one way of managing the spells of stress

Fitness Wakening

This pandemic has forced customers to re-evaluate their lives and their daily habits. The rising consciousness of preserving their health has meant that consumers are making conscious selections when it comes to food and nutrition. The newly empowered customer wants to take charge of their own health. They understand what they eat is an essential contributor to better health, immunity, and living well. They aspire to a disease-free, safe, better quality of life for themselves and their family.

What will the future hold in 2021?

We can expect to see more plant-based foods. We will see a transformational shift to more wholesome carbs from whole grains, ancient grains. Attention will be given to foods that contain Vitamin C and supplements to boost immunity. Blended foods – both made at home and bought ready-made from nearby grocery stores are already being extended to other proteins and other vegetables. 

For certain, our shelves will be overrun with new innovations that are designed to meet the needs of the pandemic shopper. Customers aren’t just eating at home more but they’re also managing their health at home.

How Do You Strengthen Your Immunity?

There are various reasons for a weakened immune system such as poor nutrition, age, acute stress, lack of physical activity, disturbed sleep patterns, and an erratic and imbalanced lifestyle, among other things. 

These reasons are enough to push you to include immunity-booster foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. The food must include nutrients like vitamins C, D, A, E, K, B-complex, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, and antioxidants.

If the food you consume is deficient in nutrients, you may need to opt for immunity-boosting supplements to fill the nutritional gaps in your diet. Undertaking so will help you enhance your body’s immune function. Also, other forms of immunity boosters include exercising regularly, good sleep, managing stress, and quitting bad habits like smoking and excessive drinking.

How do you choose these immunity boosters?

Here are a plethora of dietary supplements out there and choosing the right one for you can be quite challenging. At this juncture are a few pointers to keep in mind, while selecting immunity-boosting supplements of your choice.

The uncertainty you are someone who is always on the run and you find it difficult to cook up a wholesome meal, opt for a supplement that can give you the goodness of farm-fresh greens, veggies, fruits, and antioxidant-rich superfoods. Plus if the supplement in question is organic, GMP-certified, and non-GMO, and in the form of an easy-to-consume, delicious lively tablet then it’s just an added bonus.

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