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Almonds are a preferred snack amongst vegetarians and non-vegetarians across India, as per recent survey


23 Almonds per day

In today's fast-paced world, snacking has become an integral part of many Indians daily diet and routine. This is especially true in the current context, as people across several parts of the country are practicing social distancing. With family members working from home, and children as well as the youth attending school and colleges virtually the opportunity and tendency to snack has also increased. While the idea of snacking encompasses a variety of foods, it’s interesting to note that over the past few years, there has been a conscious change in people’s preferences and habits, and a stronger inclination is seen towards healthier snacking items.

According to a recent survey conducted between 3rd to 24th March by IPSOS, a research consulting firm, 91% of the participants try and opt for healthier alternatives whilst snacking. The survey results point out that the Indian consumer’s preferences are skewed towards mindful and healthy snacking. 

The quantitative survey by IPSOS aimed to identify the snacking habits and preferences amongst a group of people whose dietary preferences were divided into two categories - ‘vegetarian and non- vegetarian’. Overall, the results indicate that the participants across both categories prefer to snack on healthy and nutritious food items such as almonds and fruits. In fact, 72% of the participants mentioned that they consumed almonds (Regular/Often/Sometime) primarily owing to the perceived health benefits of regular consumption. Frequent almond consumption was highest in Delhi (93%), Mumbai (82%) and Chennai (79%).

A total of 4,064 SEC A men and women, between 18 - 50 years were interviewed across 11 cities in India, namely Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.

The survey also highlighted that most of the participants - vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians preferred snacking on homemade items (53%). Additionally, preference for healthier snacking options such as fruits and almonds specifically was also noticed in participants within the age band of 41-50 years. Besides that, the survey observed that women in India were more worried about nutrition needs (63%) when compared to men (53%).

Commenting on the survey, Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, said, “The fact that a larger percentage of women have shown an interest in opting for healthier snacks is a good sign, and in the long run, this can help trigger a shift towards leading healthier lifestyles. For many households in India, women have complete charge of the family’s nutrition and diet, and a higher awareness amongst them can lead to the entire family in adopting healthier alternatives. This trend of snacking on healthy foods like almonds is a positive change, and I strongly recommend to continue to eat a handful every day as they are a source of nutrients such as protein, fiber, iron, folate, copper, healthy fats etc. and known to be beneficial for weight management, heart health and diabetes management.”

According to Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head – Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi, “It’s interesting to note that people across India, including metro as well as non-metro cities, are slowly changing their view of snacking. Whether it’s choosing homemade snacks, fruits or almonds, the survey highlights a trend that most Indians are moving towards healthy and mindful snacking options which is very heartening. Almonds in particular make for a good snack, since they are ‘crunchy’ and ‘healthy’- both properties that most participants associated with. Added to that, regular consumption of almonds can also have a positive impact on a person’s immunity since they are high in Vitamin E, which is known to stimulate the body’s defenses, enhance humoral and cell immune responses.”

The survey showcased that overall 72% of the participants were aware of the nutrient requirements of the body, participants from Ahmedabad (89%), Delhi (82%), Chandigarh(80%), Mumbai(78%) showed maximum awareness and whereas least awareness was seen among the participants from Kolkata (46%). Additionally, amongst both vegetarian and non-vegetarians, 59% of the participants said they worried about their nutritional needs. While participants in Ahmedabad (83%) and Chennai (70%) were most concerned, participating in Bhopal (45%) were least concerned. Weight gain (22%) followed by inadequate nutrients (21%) emerged as the top concerns associated with snacking, and while participants in  Jaipur (55%) were most concerned about weight gain, participants in Bangalore (6%) were least concerned.

In addition to this, Madhuri Ruia, Pilates Expert and Diet & Nutrition Consultant, said, “By switching to more wholesome and nutrient rich snacks like almonds, many families have begun their journey towards a healthier lifestyle. But be sure to make these changes across the spectrum of snacking timings and occasions, and inculcate these in all household members – young or old, to see long term benefits. Snacking on almonds in particular is a good habit that can easily be adapted by all, as they can be consumed anytime during the day, and pair well with Indian spices. Besides that, almonds are known to aid in weight management, which was a key concern amongst most participants. As per a recent study, snacking on 42 grams of almonds everyday also reduced central adiposity (belly fat) and waist circumference, all well-established heart disease risk factors1.”

As India witnesses a behavioral change in snacking patterns and an overall shift towards healthier alternatives across the length and breadth of the country, almonds are a key preferred and healthy snack amongst both vegetarians and non-vegetarians across all age groups.

Key highlights from IPSOS survey:

  • Majority of the participants try to choose healthy snacking items. Top cities include Delhi followed by Mumbai and Bhopal. Participants in Chandigarh  had the lowest consideration for healthy snacks
  • A strong inclination towards homemade snacks was noted amongst both vegetarians and non-vegetarians
  • 59% participations worry about their nutrition needs.  This was the highest in Ahmedabad (83%) and lowest in Bhopal (45%)
  • Interestingly, vegan and gluten-free diet was most common across participants from Bhopal and  Ahmedabad respectively
  • Fruits are the most common snack preferred by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians
  • A higher consumption of almonds is seen amongst vegetarians (74%) as compared to non-vegetarians (68%)
  • Snacking on raw almonds is most preferred in cities such as Ahmedabad  (86%), Coimbatore (67%), Chennai (65%) and Hyderabad (55%)
  • In terms of taste, most participants preferred ‘salt’ (56%), followed by ‘sweet’ (49%) ‘hot & spicy’ (47%)
  • Most participants snack once a day (57%), in the evening (between 4 -7 PM). Snacking twice a day is common in Ahmedabad (71%) and Bhopal (50%)
  • Snacking for both categories is most common while viewing the television and when hungry in between meals
  • ‘Crunchy’ is the first thought that comes to mind to majority of participants (46%) amongst both vegetarians' and non-vegetarians across the age groups when thinking of snacking. This is followed by healthy (41%)
  • Weight gain (22%) followed by inadequate nutrients (21%) are top concerns associated with snacking, participants in  Jaipur (55%) were most concerned about weight gain

 1 Berryman CE, West SG, Fleming JA, Bordi PL, Kris-Etherton PM. Effects of Daily Almond Consumption on Cardiometabolic Risk and Abdominal Adiposity in Healthy Adults with Elevated LDL-Cholesterol: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Heart Association 2015; 4:e000993 DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.114.000993.