Diet - The Game Changer For A Healthy Living

AananKhurma is the Founder and CEO of Wellversed - a technology enabled platform for creation and growth of Wellness Brands. He is deeply passionate about health & wellness and an ardent proponent of healthspanmaximisation. He is an alumni of Stanford Biodesign and serial entrepreneur who launched his first Company in 2012 that was funded by Microsoft Ventures. Wellversed is funded by the legendary cricketer Yuvraj Singh and one of India's largest commercial giants, Jubilant Foodworks.

1. Our Diet Plays A Significant Impact On Our Overall Health. Share Your Thoughts On The Evolution Of Consumer Preferences Over The Last Few Years With Respect To Diet?
• Regardless of the evolving trends in how people approach health and wellness, the underlying aim of the consumer has remained the same. Health and wellness, for 90% of the population, fundamentally remain driven by tangible parameters - looks, managing health conditions, and entertainment. Only 10% of the population is driven by the idea of holistic wellness, longevity, quality of life, and perpetually maintaining healthy vitals.

• The trends in the dietary space in the last 10 years have been propelled by THREE aspects - disposable income, access to information, and most of all access to granular opinions of millions of similar people. These three aspects have led to sharpened individuality and unique needs. This clubbed with a thriving start-up ecosystem have resulted in at least 5 brands catering to even the most niche needs and thought processes.

• Like religions are different ways of reaching God, different wellness and dietary regimes are different ways of attaining health outcomes. With rising individuality, we see a rise in individual wellness ideologies and the mushrooming of a corresponding ecosystem catering to those individualities.

2. With The Pandemic Radically Altering Consumer Behaviours, Businesses In The Wellness Industry Will Need To Adapt To Succeed. How Do Wellness Brands Adapt To Staying On Top?
Contrary to popular opinion, we always had large numbers of brands entering the Wellness space. Most of these brands were centred on broad and well accepted ideologies like Ayurveda and Herbal supplements but were local in outlook and geographical reach. The sudden seeming explosion in the number of Wellness brands is due to the large number of new brands catering to the unique individual needs of the modern population and most of these brands having national presence.

• Given the current competitive scenario (there are 10 new brands launched each day serving the same functional needs), brands can no longer rely on the functional value proposition being offered. Modern consumer brands need to adapt in the following manner to remain relevant.

1. When a consumer buys a brand they are not just buying a product. They are buying an ideology that aligns with their existing beliefs. Brands have to understand and capitalise on these existing beliefs

2. Omnichannel is no longer a strategy. It has now become an absolute necessity.Inorder to stay relevant in the consumer's mind, the brand needs to remain in their sight.

3. This is an era of 10 Minute deliveries. If your product reaches the consumer in more than 48 hours, you are already dead.

4. Word of mouth is back and is more relevant than ever. It has now become a mode of discovery in an environment where consumers are drowning in choices.

For Many, Much Of The Wellness Industry Has Been Inaccessible Due To Cost. So, How Would The Wellness Industry Pivot Its Business Toward Addressing And Satisfying The Appetites Of Everyone? And What Are The Expectations Of D2C Brands From Budget 2022?
A few years post the industrial revolution kicked off, we saw the product offerings getting divided into two distinct camps. Cheap products and quality products. For a better part of the century, quality products that imbibed safety features as well, remained well out of the grasp of common man. With increasing awareness and reforms, quality and safety were built in as a standard value proposition into most products (except at the bottom of the pyramid). We are going through a similar phase in the health and wellness space. Wellness is confined to a strata that can pay a premium. This however will not always be the case. In this decade we will witness health and wellness becoming standard features of all daily usage products.

MBBS Doctors are in dire need of education in nutrition and wellness. Nutrition programmes should be made mandatory for all in the medical domain

• It's futile to expect anything from the government when it comes to startups.Even the so-called Startup India Programme is of little actual help to entrepreneurs. For e.g. The government proudly claims that start-ups will not have to pay income tax for the first seven years of its incorporation. Now any real entrepreneur knows that anything worth building runs in losses for the first few years of its incorporation and hence such policies are just a way for government officials to pat each other's back in the boardroom (probably over chai and samosas). So we don't really think or care about what the government has on the charts for Start-ups as we understand that we are on our own.

How Do Technologies Facilitate The Changing Landscape Of Food And Nutrition Practises In India?
When it comes to food and nutrition, technology spans from genetic code modification of crops to 3D printing of muscle cells into cruelty free meat.However, when it comes to the commercialised landscape in India, things still remain far out of realm of such advanced scientific techniques. The truth is that very few of the marvellous feats of food technology and nutrition achieved in lab setups are possible in fully commercialised setups.

Development and deployment of indigenous technologies is still more theoretical than practical and most industries rely on imported technologies. This is also reflected in modern-day start-ups. We see biochemistry teams working on hard-core science to create new food and nutrition products whereas Indian teams are still working on primitive compositions with little or no knowledge of biochemistry.Digitization and data collection via affordable IoT devices are adding value in crop production, supply chain and distribution.

What Would Be The Future Training Programs To Increase The Awareness About Healthy Food And Nutrition In India On Both National And Regional Levels?
he problem is no longer about information dissemination but about the quality and authenticity of the information being disseminated. The term healthy food is very vague and means different things to different people. For e.g. acclaimed dietitians of our country often prescribe jaggery in the name of being healthy. Whereas on a molecular level it's a similar level of crap as refined sugar.

• In my opinion, we need improved nutrition and dietetics courses in thecountry.These should be followed by structured certifications that are accredited by scientific panels.

• MBBS Doctors are in dire need of education in nutrition and wellness. Nutrition programmes should be made mandatory for all in the medical domain.