The food industry has seen an increasing demand for natural, unprocessed foods in the last few decades. As consumers become increasingly aware of the production and manufacturing processes behind the everyday ingredients that they consume, they are moving more and more towards organic and natural foods. The term ‘organic’ is given to any food product that has been produced without using any chemical additives such as pesticides, preservatives, or GMOs. Such products usually have to be certified by boards such as India Organic. The health benefits of organic food are more and it is therefore generating a lot of demand among an increasingly health-conscious population.
The organic food market in India is projected to go from $177.14 million in FY2020 to $553.87 million in FY2026, with the increase of farming land being used for organic food cultivation. With such an exponentially growing demand for natural and organic food, there has been an increase in demand for brands that are offering natural and organic products. Himalayan Natives is one such brand, which was founded in 2018 with the sole objective of offering all-natural food products that have been sustainably farmed and ethically sourced. Having grown up eating only natural and nutritious food, our CEO and founder Bhupendra Khanal started Himalayan Natives to not only share his love for natural food with the world but also to help educate customers on the benefits of consuming food that is natural and free of chemical additives.
With this increase in consumer awareness regarding the quality of food that they consume, there has been a steady increase in demand. However, this is not the only factor that has contributed to this demand. Let's take a look at some other factors:
So Many Chemicals!
The first-factor pushing people towards organic and natural food, and probably the most important as well, is the use of chemical additives in the food production processes. For decades together, chemicals have been used in almost every stage of the food manufacturing supply chain, for a variety of reasons. In the agriculture industry, the use of chemical pesticides is extremely common for the purpose of keeping away pests that would harm the crops and prevent a good harvest. However these pesticides are difficult to wash off with only water, and when consumed can have harmful effects on the internal organs, especially when these chemicals accumulate in the body over a period of time.
In addition to pesticides, a lot of finished food products tend to have other chemical additives such as artificial flavoring, colors, and preservatives which are aimed at improving the flavor, aesthetic, and shelf life of the products. However, these chemicals are harmful and can cause long-term damage to the body. The presence of all these chemicals in everyday food products is a major factor that is pushing people towards opting for natural and organic foods.
Himalayan Natives’ entire product range is produced without the use of any chemical additives, preservatives, or GMOs and this has truly been a major selling point for us as our brand aligns with the consumers who are demanding chemical-free products.
Tradeoff Between Flavor and Efficiency
Typically, most commercially manufactured finished food products tend to have artificial flavoring compounds and enhancers that are designed to replicate the original flavors of the ingredients using chemicals. Additionally, in recent years most produce harvests of fruits and vegetables have been of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that have been genetically altered to improve on aspects such as size, color, and a reduced tendency to attract pests. These modifications have been made at the cost of the natural flavor and nutritional content of the original fruit or vegetable.
While the use of these chemicals and biological processes has been for the purpose of making food production cheaper and more efficient, consumers have been choosing more and more to purchase natural/organic foods at a higher price, as this means the natural flavors and nutritional contents of the foods are retained. This is another example of the growing health consciousness of today’s society.
This is a big reason why Himalayan Natives was founded and why we have been able to establish ourselves as a leader in the natural food product industry - we emphasize the importance of organic food nutrition in all our brand communication.
Bad for Health AND the Environment!
A big reason there has been a growing trend towards adopting natural and organic food consumption habits is the concerns surrounding the negative effects of chemicals and manual intervention in the food production process. Food safety has increasingly been a determining factor in a consumer’s purchase decision, and this has allowed many natural food brands to flourish in this new landscape of the food industry.
As mentioned earlier, the use of GMO products has become increasingly common in food manufacturing. While this compromises the taste and nutritional value of the ingredients, it has another unforeseen consequence - the altered biological composition of these crops is creating imbalances in the natural pH levels and fertility of soil and agricultural lands. This is certain to have major impacts on the food production levels on a national and even global scale in the long run - affecting not just the quality of food grown but also the quantity. Being more educated about these consequences is also contributing to the shift towards naturally grown food products.
Himalayan Natives has always been extremely transparent about their food safety practices, even more so during the pandemic and this has allowed us to build a good relationship with our consumers.
The Unforeseen COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic, having been a major public health crisis, forced an entire society to re-evaluate its habits regarding health and safety. Unsurprisingly, this outburst of concern for health spilled over onto the food industry. Since 2020, there has been a boom in the global demand for natural, organic food as consumers became more aware of the nutrition and factors affecting their immunity.
A prime example of this is when Himalayan Natives saw a 32% increase in demand for our products that are typically considered ‘immunity-boosting’ such as our Raw Multifloral Honey and Organic Bilona Ghee. As we dealt with the surge in demand for natural food products, we seized the opportunity to expand our product range to include other categories of natural food products.
Entering the Organic Food Market
Having recognized this shifting awareness towards health-forward food practices years ago, Himalayan Natives has always been at the forefront of the natural food movement, catering to our growing consumer base’s needs and evolving our brand accordingly. Given the success that we have seen so far with our natural product range, Himalayan Natives aims to promptly enter the organic foods market and build upon our current trajectory as an industry leader. We will be tentatively launching close to 100 SKUs in our organic foods range by the end of this year. Not only do we aim to dominate the market in the Indian geography, but also expand to newer territories such as Australia and the Middle East to spread our love of natural food to the world.
The food industry has always been a broad, horizontal e-commerce industry, with a large range of players catering to an even larger range of consumers with constantly changing preferences. Despite this, the shift towards more natural and organic food consumption habits is no longer just a trend - it is slowly becoming the norm. With large-scale and significant factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing awareness regarding the health effects of chemical accumulation, in the long run, consumers are being more choosy with their food habits. Himalayan Natives is proud to be one of the foremost players that are constantly educating our consumers about health, nutrition, and food safety. We are excited to take this journey!