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Friday, March 21, 2014

Market Insights and Nutritional Trends from Nestle's chief

We recently came across a rare interview with a major food marketing and processing firm. It is not often when a well known food brand leader engages the Indian media to share their vision and goals. Parsing between the marketing nuances, we thought Nestle's Worldwide Executive Director Mr Nandanand Kishore, had some interesting observations about food and nutrition trends.

  • First, the marketing spiel. Nestle's largest portfolio of brands is in the processed food and snack categories. While such foods are inherently not healthy, Mr Kishore coined an interesting term, 'Responsible Pleasure'. He believes that between the fried snacks, frozen processed foods and such, it may be possible to strike a balance between taste and nutrition. Right there, we knew that he seems like a seasoned marketing professional but what caught our attention was what he felt about Indian nutritional intake later.
  • For the first time worldwide, over 50% of the worlds population is living in urban environments. Not surprisingly, India is leading the pack of rural exodus to urban centers. This metric expected to only move one way. Mr Kishore spins consumption of processed food being better as fresh food consumption in India. The point we almost agreed with is that Indian consumers are often not aware of the food source. Chemical fertilizers and harmful pesticides remain constant hazards among fresh produce. Processors like Nestle claims to screen out such tainted produce making their processed products relatively safer.
  • By 2050, India's demand for food and nutrition is expected to double. Food production is definitely not at pace with the projected demand. For instance, though India is the world largest dairy producer, it is not because of our production efficiency. Our per animal productivity is 10th in the world for dairy. At the end of the day, food suppliers and distributors will gravitate towards the cost effective source of production and today Indian agriculture practices have become outdated and needs major infusion of funding and technology.

  • Nestle is leading the pack of over a dozen major food brands to reduce the salt, sugar and fat content in their products. Allegedly, hundred of million tonnes of transfats have been removed from current snack and processed products. With that said, we still felt the aggressive F&B industry marketing really puts the onus of healthy snack choices on the customer and most Indian customers are not very informed.
  • Lastly, Mr Kishore seems to have a noble cause close to heart. Women often receive less nutrition in developing nations like India. Supposedly it may be due to them being late or last in the family eating order. This has long term impact during pregnancy and during the girl child's youth. Babies who suffered malnutrition have been shown to be predisposed to Diabetes and Blood Pressure ailments as adults. Upto 30% of Indians are said to be Diabetic which translates into the largest Diabetic population in the world.

Overall, the interview was worth a watch. Mr Kishore pitches processes food industry as a long stay in our society and ventures a few data points which indicate the safe & smart production with ethical & efficient distributed will prevail in an increasingly competitive industry. The community should take heart that this should translate as opportunities in agri production, packaging, value addition and as always, in marketing. What do you think?


  1. Very nice and informative video, Thank you. What you are telling (Agri production, packaging, value addition and marketing) is correct. This is what many successful guys are doing. For example, Baiju in Kerala is packaging coconut water (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz-QNnMuwgQ) and selling to hospitals, local people.
    I don't know how much it is possible to produce the safe food by a poor farmer. When the milk price is low and the production cost is high, he will naturally add water (at least). Good thing is lot of wealthy people are coming to farm sector. Hope they will make production safe and distribute ethically without getting upset by our people (lost trust on everything) and government.

  2. The bottom line is that processed food is detrimental to human health. Even the West, suffering with high rates of illness, is now waking up to and opposing the processed food industry and their marketing gimmicks - Marketing Food to Children: Anna Lappe at TEDxManhattan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEFL8ElXHaU. No wonder that these Processed Food Corporations need to extend themselves into other markets.

  3. Rightly said by Ivor Marks...
    Unfortunately, in India, the cities are becoming bigger and all the produce is coming from far away places and this is adding to the cost

  4. My understanding is that costs are high due to dependency on Petroleum (Pesticides, fuel for machinery, irrigation & transportation etc.) along with inefficiencies in produce distribution. In India, major cities are becoming larger due to the lack of earning a livelihood elsewhere in the country and/or because wages are higher in the cities. Some solutions: bring down farm costs by minimizing dependency on Petroleum by using Organic/Natural means of agriculture; create more livelihood opportunities in other parts of India; develop other towns/small cities in India; create 'Farmers' Markets' in large cities as in the West; create a Farmers' Transportation Co-op. etc.

  5. Produce food locally. We do not need Nestle, Kraft, except when you feel like paying for a doctor. Responsible agriculture, using minimum of everything, planting what you need, and not over eating, walk when you need to go somewhere, do not eat processed foods except when you want to indulge in a Chocolate, make your own. I grow plenty of fresh produce, I am a fan of Bloomberg. Please do not get trapped by words like contaminated produce. You do not need insecticides at all, trap insects that you do not want around Use mating disrupters and pheromones. Wash produce before despatching to markets. Handle Produce with washed hands. Be careful not to leave produce on bare fields especially when you have used chicken, cattle, manures.Use early morning (~2am) temperatures to your advantage etc.

  6. Produce food locally. And encourage farmers to cultivate Millets instead of rice and wheat. If people started using Millets in their diet, then it will solve all the malnutrition defects in India
    Encourage farmers to do multi cropping methods.
    Encourage farmer societies.
    Reduce input costs by doing zero budget Natural farming by subash palekhar

    Government should Introduce zero budget Natural farming . His method of farming is entirely based on Desi cow dung and cow urine. Even Fertilizers and Pesticides can be prepared on our own(using Desi Cow Dung ,Urine and locally available leafs e.t.c ) without buying from market. Even production is more. This will save lot of farmers from suicides. Please visit the following website links.

    Website :

    His Books published:

    Model Farmers who are doing his farming

    His trainings are Conducted all over India: