India: a food retail sector flourishing through e-commerce and innovative strategies

Food retail is expanding apace thanks to India’s modern retailers and new e-retail platforms. The country is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and is expected to become its third-largest by 2030.
Fri 28/10/2022 by Maria del Mar Valenzuela
Big Bazaar shuts down across India. Reliance will rebrand 200 Big Bazaar Outlets.
Smart Bazaar is the new name of the grocery stores of Big Bazaar. All the stores are undergoing renovation.

Despite being one of the economies hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, India promises a spectacular recovery, with a growth rate of 8%, according to the World Bank. With 1.39 billion people, India is the sixth-largest economy in the world and the second-most populous country, after China; 65% of the population are under 35 years of age. A more consumer-oriented approach is now beginning to take hold in India, with trends driven by the rise of millennials and a greater number of high-net-worth professionals. These consumers demand more food safety, convenience, added value and healthy foods. In addition, importers are focusing increasingly on brands, large retailers are rolling out more modern points of sale and e-commerce platforms are proliferating.

Online shopping boom

Online fresh food retail has become one of the most dynamic business sectors in India due to the arrival of international players, who have strengthened considerably over the last two years as a result of the pandemic.

“Consumer trends are beginning to rule in India.”

Around 90% of the Indian market used to be controlled by traditional retail formats, specifically neighbourhood stores called “kirana”. But due to the mobility restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, home delivery and e-commerce have grown, improving the shopping experience and consumer safety. Previously, young people were the primary users of online grocery shopping, however the pandemic lockdown forced a critical mass of Indian consumers of all income and age levels to rely on online retail platforms to avoid in-person visits to stores. This drove dramatic growth of the online market for fresh produce in India, which expanded by 80% in 2020 to reach a value of US$2.66 billion. In the future, Indian consumers are expected to rely increasingly on e-commerce for their grocery purchases as they continue to adopt more digital lifestyles.

 Source: ASDA

Key Data

Population: 1.39 billion

GDP: US$3.05 trillion

GDP per capita: US$2,191 

Major Food Retail Chains

Reliance Retail: Reliance Fresh and Reliance SMART

Future Group Retail: Big Bazaar, Food Bazaar, Easy Day Stores, FoodHall, HyperCITY, HeritageFresh, Foodworld, WHSmith

Avenue Supermarts Limited: DMart

Star & Tata-Tesco Group: Star Hyper, Star Market

Spencer’s Retail: Nature’s Basket, Spencer’s Retail

Walmart India: Best Price Modern Wholesale, Flipkart

Spar Hypermarket

Namdhari’s Fresh

More Retail Limited

Major Food E-Retailers

Big Basket


Nature’s Basket

Amazon Pantry

JioMart – Reliance Retail

Flipkart Grocery





Source: Trade Date Monitor, Annual Survey of Industries

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