Over the past few years, the Indian foodservice industry has become one of the fastest growing sectors across the country. According the NRAI India Food Services Report 2016, the total food services market today stands at Rs 3,09,110 crore and has grown at 7.7 per cent since 2013. This is further projected to grow to Rs 4,98,130 crore at a CAGR of 10 per cent by 2021.
This growing industry has gone through a lot of transition. Old dining concepts have been replaced by new ones. Cuisines have evolved to please the palate, culinary tourism has increased and going global has been the buzz word which took foodservice to a new height in 2016.
“The biggest trend, which is encouraging for restaurateurs and chefs, is the growing need for innovation. This largely stems from the well-travelled and heeled diner’s hunger for experimentation, wanting something exquisite owing to their exposure as well as their willingness to spend and exploring newer experiences in the dining space,” he says.
According to Kalra, there are a few trends which have made inroads into the hospitality industry and he expects these will become big in the coming year:
Local and Sustainable
One of the key focus this year will be on locally sourced sustainable food and ingredients, coupled with some foraging elements.
Gone are the days when large portions were something that would get people excited. Now and going forward, the scales are shifting towards small plates and the concept of tapas style menus where diners get to experience a large array of the restaurants specialities, while not filling themselves to the brim.
Tapas style menus are a trend which many restaurants have started adopting in recent times and something that we see picking up both in the Indian as well as the international restaurant space. This trend is still at a very nascent stage and will take some time to gain momentum, though the process has already started.
Use of Fresh Produce
With advancement in technology, we are witnessing the world moving to organic and fresh produce being preferred on our plates and in our kitchens. Locally sourced vegetable and fruits have become a norm and many chefs and restaurateurs have already begun their own small farms as an extension of the restaurant or away from it. The reason for this trend are multi-dimensional; while on one hand it’s more cost and time effective for restaurants to develop their own produce, on the other plucking and using fresh produce in the dishes gives guests a whole new dining experience which is more engaging.
Many believed that molecular gastronomy was a thing of the past! However, it’s only going to gain momentum in the coming future. While molecular gastronomy has been prevalent and hugely successful globally for the past few years, Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra and Farzi Café have been credited with introducing it in Indian cuisine and Pa PaYa has done so for Asian cuisine, to Indian diners, which was never done before and is a relatively new concept in India.
While the diners find the concept fascinating, there is still a lot left to explore in the concept and a long way to go for the diners to be aware about the nuances of the process, for a pure molecular gastronomy concept to work in the Indian environment.
Regional Goes International
India is a treasure-trove of and, in my opinion, the only country in the world to have, so many regional cuisines. While the Indian regional cuisine has been lead by Punjabi cuisine to the global audience for over five decades, I see the coming years focusing on regional Indian fare from across the landscape of India, being taken forward to the international audience not just within India, but overseas as well.