Why British Companies Should Export Food & Drink To India

November 27, 2023

India is a country with a population of over 1.4 billion people, making it the second most populous country in the world. With a growing middle class and a strong economy, India presents a huge opportunity for British companies looking to expand their export market.

One industry that has seen significant growth in India is the food and drink sector. Indian consumers are becoming more health-conscious and are willing to pay a premium for high-quality, imported food and drinks. In this blog post, we will explore why British companies should consider exporting their food and drink products to India and how they can tap into this lucrative market.

The Growing Demand for British Food and Drink in India

The Rise of the Middle Class

India’s middle class is growing at a rapid pace, and with it, the demand for high-quality, international food and drink products. According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), India’s middle class is expected to grow from 50 million households in 2015 to 583 million households by 2025. This growing middle class has a higher disposable income and is willing to spend more on premium products, making them an ideal target market for British food and drink brands.

indian family

The Rise of Indian Foodies

India has a large and diverse population, with a variety of regional cuisines and tastes. However, in recent years, there has been a rise in the number of Indian foodies who are interested in trying new and exotic foods from around the world.

These foodies are typically young, urban professionals who have a higher disposable income and are willing to spend more on premium food and drink products. They are also well-traveled and have been exposed to different cuisines, making them more open to trying new and international flavors.

The Influence of Social Media

The rise of social media has also played a significant role in the growing demand for British food and drink in India. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have made it easier for foodies to discover new products and trends from around the world.

British food and drink companies can leverage social media to showcase their products and reach a wider audience in India. By partnering with influencers and creating engaging content, they can generate buzz and interest in their products among Indian consumers.

indian girl using social media

The Influence of Western Culture

The influence of Western culture, particularly British culture, is also a significant factor in the growing demand for British food and drink in India. With the rise of social media and the internet, Indian consumers are becoming more exposed to Western lifestyles and are increasingly adopting Western food and drink trends. This has created a demand for British products, which are seen as high-quality and premium.

Cultural and Historical Links

The historical connections between the UK and India have resulted in a familiarity and affinity for British products among Indian consumers. This cultural familiarity can be a significant advantage for British brands entering the Indian market.

Rise in Health and Wellness Trends

There is an increasing focus on health and wellness among Indian consumers, leading to a demand for organic, natural, and healthier food options. British brands, known for their quality and safety standards, are well-positioned to cater to this segment.

The Potential of the Indian Market for British Food and Drink Brands

A Large and Growing Population

India’s population of over 1.4 billion people presents a massive opportunity for British food and drink brands. With a large and growing middle class, there is a significant market for premium products, and British brands are well-positioned to take advantage of this.

growing indian population

A Growing Economy

India’s economy is also growing at a rapid pace, with a projected GDP growth rate of 7.5% in 2021. This economic growth has led to an increase in disposable income and consumer spending, making it an ideal time for British food and drink brands to enter the market.

A Favorable Regulatory Environment

The Indian government has taken steps to make it easier for foreign companies to do business in the country. In 2016, the Indian government allowed 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the food processing sector, making it easier for British food and drink brands to set up operations in India. Additionally, the government has also implemented the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which has simplified the tax structure and made it easier for businesses to operate in the country.

The Benefits of Exporting to India

A Large and Growing Market

India’s population is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2030, making it one of the largest consumer markets in the world. With a growing middle class and increasing disposable income, the demand for high-quality food and drink products is only going to increase.

A Strong British Brand Image

British food and drink products are highly regarded in India, thanks to their reputation for quality and safety. The “Made in Britain” label is seen as a mark of excellence and is often associated with premium products. This gives British companies a competitive advantage in the Indian market.

made in britian

Challenges Faced by British Food and Drink Brands in India

While India presents a significant opportunity for British food and drink brands, there are also challenges that they must overcome to be successful in the market.

Cultural Differences

One of the biggest challenges for British food and drink brands in India is the cultural differences between the two countries. Indian consumers have different tastes and preferences when it comes to food and drink, and British brands must adapt their products to suit the local market. This may involve changing ingredients, flavors, or packaging to appeal to Indian consumers.

Distribution and Logistics

India is a vast country with a complex distribution network, making it challenging for foreign brands to get their products to market. British food and drink brands must work with local distributors and logistics companies to ensure their products reach consumers in a timely and cost-effective manner.

british food and drink export

Competition from Local Brands

British food and drink brands also face competition from local brands in India. Indian consumers are loyal to local brands, and it can be challenging for foreign brands to break into the market. To be successful, British brands must differentiate themselves from local brands and offer unique products that appeal to Indian consumers.

How British Food and Drink Brands Can Succeed in India

Understand the Local Market

To be successful in India, British food and drink brands must understand the local market and adapt their products accordingly. This may involve conducting market research, working with local partners, and understanding the cultural nuances of the country.

Partner with Local Distributors

Partnering with local distributors is crucial for success in the Indian market. They have a better understanding of the local market and can help you navigate the complex distribution network in the country. They can also provide valuable insights and help you build relationships with retailers and other key players in the market.

Leverage Digital Marketing

With the rise of social media and e-commerce in India, digital marketing has become an essential tool for brands looking to reach Indian consumers. British food and drink brands can use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote their products and reach a wider audience.

social media marketing

Leverage E-Commerce Platforms

E-commerce is booming in India, with more and more consumers turning to online shopping for their food and drink needs. Partnering with popular e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart can help you drive sales and make your products more accessible to Indian consumers.

flipkart

Adapt to Local Tastes and Preferences

While British food and drink products are highly regarded in India, it is essential to adapt to local tastes and preferences. This could mean tweaking your products to suit the Indian palate or creating new products specifically for the Indian market.

Participate in Trade Shows and Exhibitions

Trade shows and exhibitions are an excellent way for British food and drink brands to showcase their products and connect with potential buyers in India. These events provide an opportunity for brands to network with distributors, retailers, and other industry professionals, and can help them establish a presence in the market.

Success Stories: British Companies Exporting to India

Twinings Tea

Twinings Tea, a British tea company, has been exporting its products to India for over 20 years. They have adapted their products to suit the Indian market, introducing flavors like spicy chai and green tea with ginger and honey. They have also partnered with local distributors and leveraged e-commerce platforms to reach a wider audience in India.

british tea export to japan

Cadbury

Cadbury, a British confectionery brand, has been present in India since 1948 and is now one of the leading chocolate brands in the country. The brand has adapted its products to suit the local market, offering flavors like Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk Oreo and Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk Bubbly. Cadbury has also invested in marketing and advertising campaigns to promote its products in India.

dairy milk silk oreo

Export Or Import British Food & Drink To India With Leverbrook

India’s large consumer base, shifting preferences, historical ties with the UK, focus on health and wellness, and evolving retail landscape collectively make it an attractive market for British food and drink exports. With the right strategies, British brands can tap into this dynamic market, meeting the demand for diverse and quality products.

At Leverbrook Export, we have decades of experience exporting & importing British food and drink products to South Asia, including India. We can help you every step of the way, from initial market research to product compliance, documentation, and logistics.

Our relationships with port authorities, logistics operators, and distributors across the region mean that we can offer you a hassle-free and end-to-end service, leaving you to focus on what you do best.

To find out more about how we can help you import British food and drink products to India, please feel free to speak to a member of our team today regarding your specific requirements.