Post-COVID, Reimagining Indian dishes With Authenticity And Taste Is The Need Of The Hour

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The world has changed upside down after the COVID-19 pandemic. The F&B industry in India seems to be no different. In an exclusive interview with Chef Bharath, the Culinary Development Manager of #Kerry (South West Asia Region), Karan Mehta, shares his personal insights about our food industry and culinary predictions for the near future.

  1. COVID-19 has brought about a lot of changes in the lives of Indians. What are the key eating trends you predict in the post-COVID period?

The pandemic has changed everything about food and the F&B industry on an unprecedented scale. One of the key trends that we foresee post-COVID would be an increased focus on home delivery and takeaway, with high emphasis on hygiene, digital modes of payment and contactless delivery of food.

Karan Mehta

Another major emerging trend is healthy eating, which includes ingredients that are perceived to boost immunity, digestion and overall health. We are also seeing new formats like plant-based proteins and DIY kits taking center stage. Consumers are gravitating towards known and reputed brands as they inspire greater trust and safety. In-home food experiences are evolving with consumers trying new tastes and variants, as they now have greater exposure to global trends via social media.

  1. Indians who ate only specific foods at restaurants had made use of this opportunity to try at home and got used to it. What will be the new challenges professional chefs will face once restaurants reopen?

The challenges professional chefs would face once restaurants reopen would be an increased focus on hygiene and sanitation, the need to adapt more stringent rules, and enforcing them via training and regular audits. It will also bring about newer ways to manage the business in terms of minimising waste and being more creative / innovative in their cooking to draw in more customers on a regular basis. And finally, the challenge of hiring skilled and trained manpower and to recover losses. For example, street food which is tremendously popular in India has seen few takers now due to safety and hygiene concerns, though consumer craving for their favourite indulgences has grown. Reimagining such favourites and bringing this to the consumer with the promise of authenticity, taste and quality is critical for the evolving food space today.

  1. How much will the traditional Indian foods be more in demand in the coming days?

The COVID scenario today is likely to give a big push for traditional Indian foods and increase the demand for it. Consumers are now more aware of the health and immunity benefits associated with Indian foods and their ingredients and spices, such as turmeric, ginger, and more. While this interest existed in the pre-COVID days, it has grown significantly over the past few months. We also see a lot of retail food players trying to incorporate ‘health halo’ ingredients into their products.

  1. What are the new products Kerry is planning to come up with and how are you planning to market them to the restaurants?

The Kerry purpose is: Inspire Food. Nourish Life. We follow consumer trends closely, constantly developing solutions to address market needs, and work with food operators to offer consumers what they seek in a tasty, cost-effective and convenient manner. One of our primary focus areas today is addressing consumer need for better health and immunity support in the foods they consume, while retaining the taste they love. We have two health-boosting solutions and are currently working with food operators to incorporate these solutions. Kerry offers two leading ingredients with scientifically substantiated immune health benefits. Wellmune, a natural food, beverage and supplement ingredient, is the only yeast beta glucan that’s proven to strengthen the immune system.  GanedenBC30 is a leading spore-forming probiotic believed to support the link between digestive and immune health and better protein utilisation.

Both ingredients are simple-to-use add-ons suitable for all kinds of foods and beverages. We have seen strong interest among food players, as these products help them claim health benefits clearly and with science-backed credibility, supported by approvals from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). This builds more consumer trust as opposed to other foods with health claims based on perceived health halo benefits.

  1. What is your go-to-market strategy in terms of institutional sales?

We have a strong network of teams locally and globally, and a strong brand and product backing to achieve this. Kerry globally operates in over 150 countries, with 26,000 employees, and we have well-equipped teams in India across commercial, marketing, R&D, operations, quality, regulatory, etc. to drive customer-centric engagement.

  1. How well is your supply chain equipped to ensure your product is available for the chefs anytime?

We have highly experienced personnel to ensure our products are available to chefs in a timely fashion. Kerry operates three plants in India, spread across the North, South and West regions. In addition, we have also partnered with a strong network of distributors spread across all regions of the country.

  ADVERTISEMENT- Indus Novateur- Authorized SAP Gold Partner, continuously involved in developing tailor-made technologies specially for food sector. Digitize your organization and ensure food safety and regulation compliance.

Comments (1)

Chef Karan Mehta is well versed with Hygiene and Sanitization Protocols and he has also worked in one of the best and safest Clinical Kitchens in a Wold class Hospital !

Endorsed !👍

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