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Trends that rule the Indian palate

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From ingredients to influences, here’s what to optimise for innovative foodservice offers:
When developing food trends, one needs to watch out for the customer profile and the population demographics. India has witnessed important demographic changes in recent times: a growing number of working women has led to better disposable incomes for families and also exposed them to international travel, thereby increasing their knowledge on the variety of cuisines available across the globe. Today, consumers are well acquainted with global cuisine and the importance of leading a healthy.
Culinary Trends: East Meets West
Call it a fusion or heterogeneity, blending cuisines is one of the hottest culinary concepts doing the rounds today. Fusion is all about cautiously selecting foods from different parts of the world that are not geographically close and combining those items that go well together. The combinations are numerous – Thai and Indian, American and French, Mediterranean and Asian.
A Blend of Health & Taste
Obesity has become a growing concern for the food industry, whether grocery or restaurant related. Consumers are now switching on to healthier food options and heading towards flavoured ethnic cuisines such as Asian and Mediterranean foods.
Back to The Basics
Although fusion food remains a hot trend, chefs and industry experts proclaim that the future belongs to simple foods and flavours. The trend is going back to basics. There has been a wave which says that people are exhausted of fusion food because it became confusion food, with a blend of just about anything.
The Ubiquitous Burgers
Burgers are the in thing today! It all started from simple to decadent, hand-held to knife-and-fork, from heavy calorific to light and healthy. Burger was first introduced as a snack item, which over time gained the status of a full meal. It is considered a comfort take-away food item or as an adventurous new cuisine experience. Burgers truly fit into every aspect of today’s lifestyles and are constantly being reinvented. The same trend has been witnessed in some international burger chains like Carl’s Jr and Delhi-based Burger Bar –Fork You.
Chef-Driven Cuisine
With such multiplicity in food trends, every chef has something new to offer to the menu. But the actual trend may be for chefs to develop beyond what experts have defined as ‘what’s in and what’s not’ and to explore their own culinary creativity.
Better Ingredients
Chefs have come to a point where they are suffering from a creative block and are unable to come up with some brilliant cooking methods. Instead, they are concentrating on using better ingredients.
Italian food has been the essence of the moment for the last couple of years now. Until a few years ago, the only types of pasta available in supermarkets were spaghetti and macaroni Pasta and pizza intake has doubled since the 1980s, and they are now considered to be American food – eaten one to three times per week. A good number of Italian restaurants have opened in the capital in the last six months.
Brasseries and bistros offering traditional, simple French food are in vogue. This is a trend that has not caught up in India so far, but it is expected that in the next few years there will be more than half a dozen restaurants serving bistro food in the country.
Food lovers today are spoilt for choice when it comes to food options. Their expectations are soaring, and marketers are contending for their attention like never before. So how does one break through the clutter and capture the attention of customers?
Food Trends Specific To India
There is a shifting inclination towards vegetarian food and marked reduction in the intake of red meat across India. Fast food is finally here to stay. There have been some failures but the success of food chains like McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Domino’s has caused some people to eat their words. It is, however, evident that the Indian consumer wants ‘international desi’ and that the Indian penchant is indeed addicted to a certain level of spice. There is a future for Indian regional cuisine restaurants. There are few authentic restaurants offering food from this segment and this is an area that could witness significant growth over the next few years.
The term ‘Home Mealtime Replacement’ may not always accurately describe today’s take-away scenario. It is true that many customers want homemade food and many, especially the high-spending customers, are looking for restaurant food served at home. Consumers sometimes prefer not
to eat out on every dining occasion, but depend on restaurant-caliber meals. Hence, every second restaurant has started the take-away vertical in the Capital.
International Chain Restaurants & Franchise Opportunities
The last few years have witnessed substantial increase in the number of new restaurants opening in most major Indian cities. This has, in many ways, accorded with the revolution that has taken place in the retail space, which has multiplied new locations for restaurants in the malls which have developed. Two types of developments have clearly emerged: One, the growth of Quick Service Restaurant chains like Carls Jr and two, the birth of home-grown brands such as Lazeez Affaire, Café OTB, The Embassy, Boom Box Café and Fork You.
International chains lead the restaurant business and stand-alone outlets are a small percentage. With the growth of restaurant industry in India, more and more international chains will make an effort to establish network in India, while domestic entrepreneurs will try and establish new franchise under established brand names. Many hotels that need a ‘prestige’ label are turning to third parties with the right credentials and we will see increased activity in this area in India as well. Franchising is also prevalent in the western world and growing fast in developing nations as well.

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