Globalisation has changed different aspects of the Indian society in the last two decades, including the food habit of the Indian people. Indians, currently in their late 30s, used to ask their parents to buy ‘jhal-muri’ or ‘mumphali’ for them during their childhood. Times have changed and multinational fast food chains become quite familiar with the younger generation. Now-a-days, the young people prefer burgers, hot dogs, fried chickens, momos etc. They like to hang out in decorative and air-conditioned environment with variety of foods on their plates, with the growing number of food restaurant chains offering different recipes at comparatively ‘cheaper’ rates.
The changing scenario has not only helped the food and beverage (F&B) industry strengthen its position in the Indian market, but also created job opportunities for a huge number of people. It has further allowed producers to get the right price for their food grains. It seems that a country like India, which is heavily dependent on the agriculture sector, is the ideal place for the F&B industry to boom.
Foreign Cuisines & Indian Consumers
Kunal Kapoor, the ‘Celebrity Chef’ and Executive Chef at Leela Kempinski, believes that people across India are very much willing to explore different cuisines as they have started enjoying foreign recipes. According to him, their willingness plays a crucial role in the emergence of the F&B industry in major Indian cities. Kunal also tells Franchise India his own story - how he entered into the F&B industry despite being born and brought up in a family of bankers.
Kunal’s father inspired him to become a ‘master chef’ as he recalls that he had grown up seeing male members of the family cooking the Sunday meal. They informed Kunal about every ingredient and the knowledge helped him a lot prepare tasty recipes. Later, he studied hotel management and decided to become a chef. Kunal admits that the ‘MasterChef’ show has changed the course of his life.
Kunal also shares his views on the latest trend in the F&B industry with Franchise India. He explains that the beverage industry is helping the agriculture sector by sourcing local, seasonal and organic produce. According to him, many chefs have generated a demand for the regional seasonal produce by conducting researches on local cuisines. As a result, the local farmers get encouraged as they become less dependent on the middlemen to sell their products.
Kunal is of the opinion that one of the main characteristics of the ‘health conscious’ Indian consumers is that they are not ready to compromise with the taste! It inspires chefs to transform a bland meal into a banquet dish. Giving an example, Kunal says that the use of basil, kadi patta and chili can easily make the regular yellow ‘dal’ much more appealing.
In his publication - ‘A Chef in every home’, Kunal tires to explore different international cuisines in a simplified way, apart from encouraging aspiring chefs to experiment with flavours, textures and presentation of foods.
Liquor & Indian Culture
Gone are the days when the society considers consuming liquor as an offence. During the process of globalisation, the Indian society has experienced a dramatic change in the lifestyle of people and a steady growth in consuming alcoholic beverages has shaped the Indian F&B industry in a different way. According to experts, beer has replaced coffee as the fashion statement among the elite and upper classes. Fast corporate life, fuelled by rising income, has also encouraged the urban people to try out different types of mixes and signature spirits, instead of classical cocktails and normal alcoholic drinks. Commenting on the current beverage trend, Director (F&B) of JW Marriott Bangalore Chef Surjan Singh Jolly says: “The biggest trend in the beverage industry today is all about going social. Today, the scenario has become beverage and food rather than food and beverages.”
India Set To Get Its First PYOB Chain
In its latest survey, Restaurant India shows that the majority of Indian consumers prefer beer (32%) in restaurants as far as alcoholic beverage is concerned. Beer is followed by whisky (30%), vodka (12%) and champagne (10%). The finding has encouraged Founder & CEO of The Beer Café Rahul Singh to launch India’s first ‘Pour Your Own Beer’ (PYOB) chain.
Sharing his ideas on the Indian beer culture with Franchise India, Rahul says that the beer culture is slowly shaping the beverage industry despite the fact that the Indian beer market is very much complicated mainly because of the stringent laws and procedures related to its selling. Still, he believes that the market can grow to USD 9 billion by the end of 2016. Meanwhile, he thanks the Delhi government for the announcement that malls and pubs could have breweries on its premises in the coming days. Rahul also believes that the Delhi government’s policy will boost the number of microbreweries in NCR in the next couple of years.
PYOB - A Technological Concept
Revealing his future plan, The Beer Café CEO says that although consumers usually prefer mild beer, the PYOB will offer stronger beer varieties, keeping in mind a shift in the consumer behaviour as beer has replaced hard liquor. Since witnessing an 8% growth in 2013, the Indian beer industry has made a steady progress especially in the northern and western parts of the country.
Rahul informs Franchise India that The Beer Cafe recently opened one outlet in Amritsar, two in Mumbai and one in Pune. Later, according to him, beer enthusiasts in these cities will get an opportunity to enjoy their favourite international brews with the launching of PYOB.
Rahul explains: “The PYOB concept is a technology. We have received a licence from DraftServ USA to launch PYOB. We have about 8-10 beers on tap that can be poured directly by the consumer using a special RFID activated card.” According to him, the charge will depend on the quantity and variety of brands. “The card could be used at any outlet across the country,” adds Rahul.
Claiming that The Beer Café will be the country’s first PYOB chain serving 50 different varieties of beer, Rahul stresses that the concept will certainly increase the sell of bottled and draught beers in the coming days. With 15 outlets in different parts of India and 18 more in the pipeline, The Beer Café is all set to become leader of the beverage industry. Meanwhile, Rahul expresses gratitude towards Mayfield for funding The Beer Café’s expansion programme, saying that they are ready to introduce latest technology and a new retail format - The Beer Café BIGGIE. According to him, there will be at least one BIGGIE outlet in every metro city.
Cultural Change & Acceptance Of Filler
The globalised Indian customers have further started showing interests in beverages usually served as fillers in-between meals, thus, allowing the F&B industry to experiment more especially with the beverage segment and opening up huge retail opportunities.
The scenario doesn’t surprise Ankur Jain - the CEO of Cerena Beverages Private Limited. He says that the Indians have always been the royal food lovers who are familiar with a variety of beverages, such as homemade milkshakes, sharbats, chocolate drinks, for years. As a result, it is natural that the Indian consumers like fillers at restaurants. However, Ankur has admitted that the majority of Indians have a special preference.
Juice Replaced By Mocktails
In the past, Indians preferred to consume different types of juice especially in summer. As a result, small local players, like juice shops, dominated the non-alcoholic beverage segment. With the globalisation of the society, the Indian consumers are exposed to a number of beverages, such as mocktails, while dining with their friends and families, and beer has secured its place on the dining table. Ankur narrates: “We have evolved from our coffee drinking habits to more enhanced, customised cappuccino or espresso coffees. Now people are discovering newer tastes and today, there are more than 90 varieties of different tasted beers available in the world. So, people now are opening up to newer beer experiences and drinks.”
Tea, Coffee Experience A Steady Demand
The survey conducted by Restaurant India reveals that while 21% Indian consumers prefer beverages before meal, 68% prefer beverages with meal and nearly 11% after meal. The survey further reveals that tea and coffee experience a steady demand in the Indian market. According to it, the Indian people still prefer cold drinks, tea and coffee during any corporate dealing or business meet. As a result, Chaayos, with four outlets in and around Delhi, has increased the variety of flavoured, organic and masala tea served by it to 15.
So, the current trend of the F&B industry is very much encouraging and experts are confident that the industry will grow further as there are ample opportunities for this particular sector to make progress. The Indian Beverage Association (IBA) believes that the country's beverage industry can maintain a double-digit growth in the coming years. Claiming that the Indian food processing industry accounts for 32% of the country’s total food market, the IBA has said that it is trying to bring all stakeholders together to a common platform in an attempt to promote growth of the non-alcoholic industry. We can easily find more players joining the Indian F&B industry in the coming days. A bright future awaits for this particular industry in big Indian cities.