Ayurveda is an alternative medicine system used in Indian traditions that focuses on natural approaches to health and wellness. Ayurveda, which translates to ‘knowledge of life’, has been a large part of Indian lifestyles for more than 5,000 years. The system places great emphasis on maintaining health through close attention to balance, diet, lifestyle and the use of herbs. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian market has started to see development of beverages that promote Ayurveda.

Over 15,000 herbs are mentioned in Ayurvedic scriptures, including turmeric, neem, ashwagandha, ginger and amla (gooseberry). Turmeric and holy basil (tulsi) are commonly used to support the body’s digestive system. Indian companies have understood the sentiment and vitality of Ayurveda and have continued to make a conscious effort to maintain its presence in the market, ensuring that herbs such as turmeric, alma and tulsi are included in their product portfolios.

According to Week 11 of GlobalData’s Covid-19 Recovery Survey Consumer Survey Results, 31% of Indian consumers have paid slightly or significantly more attention to products that are natural and free from synthetic ingredients since the pandemic began, while a further 28% said that it is now their top priority. Indian beverage companies have started capitalising on this surging demand for natural products and health-boosting ingredients. Gujarat-based dairy cooperative Amul launched Haldi Doodh, a turmeric milk latte product, in April, followed by ginger and tulsi flavour additions in June. Ginger is known for its antibacterial properties, whilst tulsi has a history of fighting respiratory diseases.

Kolkatan consumer goods company Tata Consumer Products has released two new products, Tata Tea Tulsi (tulsi and green tea leaves) and Tata Tea Gold Care (infusion of tulsi, ginger, cardamom, mulethi and brahmi), whilst Hyderabad-based dairy firm Heritage Foods launched an ashwagandha milk product, with ashwagandha claimed to support anti-stress and anti-inflammatory issues.

Modern consumers are becoming more accustomed to traditional views that Ayurveda is a holistic approach to wellness, and this is increasing demand for beverages that contain ingredients of this type. GlobalData’s 2020 Market Pulse Consumer Survey Results in India reports that three in five (60%) of consumers aged 18-24 have found products with ‘natural’ claims between somewhat appealing and very appealing. Many natural ingredients are perceived to have immunity-boosting claims, so these results highlight that there is a growing trend for immune health amongst the younger generations. Brand such as Dabur, Patanjali and Himalaya and start-ups such as Zenith Drinks, Kapiva and Kiva&Me have also seized the opportunity to manufacture convenient packaging, on-the-go and healthy beverages for health-conscious Indian consumers.

Ayurveda has not only been a growing phenomenon in India, but has seen global communication on the topic. In November, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced its plans to set up a Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India. The centre will combine the Ayurveda knowledge in scriptures with 21st-century modern science to develop solutions according to modern needs. Ayurveda is widely recognised in South Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar as an alternative natural medicine, and has been gaining popularity in countries like the USA, Canada and Europe. This growing fascination with natural and chemical-free products around the world bodes well for Ayurvedic products in future.

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