PDA

View Full Version : As cash flows in, India goes out to eat



ferny
04-20-2005, 03:18 PM
As Cash Flows In, India Goes Out to Eat
By MONICA BHIDE

Published: April 20, 2005
NY TIMES

ANGALORE, India

YOGURT hasn't traditionally been a source of family tension among the Indian middle class. But things have changed in this most traditionbound of countries.

"Much to my mother's chagrin I use store-bought yogurt," said Rujuta Jog, 24, a recently married office worker. "And my mother-in-law was upset when she saw that I use Pillsbury flour to make rotis. She still prefers to buy wheat and grind it fresh."

Ms. Jog's mother, like most Indian women of her generation, has always cooked everything from scratch. But unlike her mother, Ms. Jog works 40 hours a week outside the home. She and her husband often just order from restaurants, which are more varied and widespread than ever before in cities like Bangalore. Millions of others are doing the same. The amount spent nationally on meals outside the home has more than doubled in the past decade, to about $5 billion a year, and is expected to double again in about half that time, according to Euromonitor International, a market research company.

As India has opened its doors to foreign trade, millions of its people have found themselves with more lucrative jobs, less free time and greater exposure to foreign influences. In the process, what they eat and the way they eat have changed.

Prepared food is a sliver of the overall market in India, still a developing rural country. But its sales have increased more than 70 percent since 1998, by Euromonitor's figures.

"I love shopping at the new-style grocery store where I can get ready-to-drink packaged Nestlé buttermilk, prepared ginger-garlic paste and even frozen chickens I don't have to clean," Ms. Jog said. "They are not even very expensive and save me so much time." Formerly exotic vegetables are now more commonplace in urban areas. The legendary Crawford Market in Mumbai, formerly Bombay, sells broccoli, iceberg lettuce, thyme, basil, rosemary, bell peppers and other non-Indian vegetables. Pasta in bulk is available alongside basmati rice. Neighborhood butchers in Delhi now sell marinated meats and precut, cleaned poultry and meat.

Once the groceries are taken home and supper is prepared, even the dinner table may look different.

"In the old days, since only the men worked outside the home, they were served first," said Sathya Saran, a senior executive at Worldwide Media, one of India's largest publishing companies. "Now everyone eats together, and the entire family dynamic has begun to shift."

The shift is not always smooth.

"There is a tug of war between generations," Ms. Saran said. "The older generation prefers to eat at home and cook the traditional way and has the mantra 'save your money.' The new generation, they are all about spend, spend, spend."

In part that is because eating out, other than at snack stands and tea shops, was once a special occasion, with the restaurant often a hotel dining room serving Indian food. Now it's an everyday thing.

"Eating out is in these days," said Arvind K. Singhal, chairman of KSA Technopak, a management consulting concern that has surveyed the Indian food and restaurant industry in depth. "It is entertainment."

Rashmi Uday Singh, Mumbai's best-known food critic, said the restaurant terrain has been transformed since she began writing reviews 23 years ago.

"For instance," she said, "Mumbai has recently seen the opening of a spate of new Japanese sushi bars like Tiffin at the Oberoi hotel, a lounge that serves sushi and Indian side by side. Sushi was virtually unheard of in the past." Restaurants serving Korean, Moroccan, Malaysian, Indonesian, Italian, Lebanese, Burmese and Mongolian food have also opened recently in Mumbai.

"The growing middle-class double-income families have more disposable income," Ms. Singh said. "They travel, have access to cable television and the Internet. All this has led to more exposure of the palate to the outside world."

Gev Desai, executive chef for ITC, one of India's largest luxury hotel chains, agreed.
"In the 1970's and 1980's our international menu consisted of Russian salad, shrimp cocktail, French fries ... oh, and something baked," Mr. Desai said. "Recently, though, I had a conservative Hindu lady explain to me the specifics of a risotto she wants for her son's wedding, and a traditional Bohri Muslim family requested Mongolian hot pots."

Ritu Dalmia, the chef and owner of Delhi's premier Italian restaurant, Diva, said diners have become much more sophisticated. "When I first opened Diva people would send back al dente risotto because they were used to very soft cooked basmati rice," she said. "Now many know the difference."

Shiraz Engineer, who trains computer customer service representatives in Bangalore for Dell International Services, finds a more worldly approach to food even at the company cafeteria.

"It's reasonable and offers good choices: Chinese, Thai, Malaysian and Italian, in addition to North and South Indian," Mr. Engineer, 26, said. "And for the health-conscious, fresh fruits, fresh juices and a simple salad bar."

Some companies are hoping to provide employees a bit more sophistication about drinks as well as about food. With more business being conducted in restaurants, courses on wine and cocktails are becoming popular. An online company called Tulleeho provides wine forums and bartending classes at its Web site, tulleeho.com, as well as tours of new Indian vineyards.

At the more casual end, American chains and imitators are becoming more popular. McDonald's offers home delivery and a "crispy Chinese" vegetarian burger; Pizza Hut's only all-vegetarian outlets are in India.

Ms. Jog's husband, Vivek, a computer sales executive, brought back an appreciation for American coffee culture when he returned from a stint working in Boston for Intel. Café Coffee Day, India's answer to Dunkin' Donuts, was ready for him. "I miss Dunkin' Donuts," said Mr. Jog, 31, "but C.C.D. substitutes well. That is the place to be."

"Gone are the days when people used to hang out at the neighborhood tea stalls," Farzana Contractor, editor of UpperCrust, India's leading food and wine magazine, said jokingly.

But most Indian palates are still attuned to Indian flavors.

Homegrown Indian-style chains like Nirula's and Haldirams are also giving the Western chains a run for their money. Many Western-style malls that have opened up in urban areas offer food prepared to Indian sensibilities.

"In one local mall in Mumbai an eatery geared toward the Indian Gujarati middle class even offers a pickle tasting bar," said Vikram Doctor, marketing editor at The Economic Times, referring to Indian spiced pickles that come in jars. More restaurants are expected to open up in the 40 or more new malls set to open in Gurgaon, a technology boomtown south of Delhi.

As large as India's middle class is - it is estimated to make up about a quarter of India's population of more than 1 billion - for most of the country the new dining options are out of reach. Some fear a copycat phenomenon, as new eating habits are emulated by those who can't afford them.

On the other hand, increased spending by both consumers and corporations is having some benefits for less affluent Indians. As new restaurants have created higher demand for produce the ITC hotel chain has begun a program to educate small farmers in new techniques to improve the quality of produce for restaurants in the company's hotels as well as in the economy at large. In 2003, 3.1 million farmers in 29,500 villages sold $100 million in goods under the program, according to the magazine India Today.

For those with more income, opportunities to spend grow all the time.

Sanjeev Kapoor, a celebrity chef whose cooking show, "Khana Khazana" ("Food Treasures"), is the longest-running program on Indian television, has an infomercial promoting the Sanjeev Kapoor Tandoor, a sort of George Foreman grill offered as a healthy new-age timesaver. Mr. Engineer just bought a microwave whose maker offers free cooking classes. And the Jogs are installing a modular Italian kitchen with cabinets custom-built to store Indian spices.

"Our parents are concerned we are being extravagant and spending over one and a half lakhs" - 150,000 rupees, or about $3,400 - "on this," Ms. Jog said. "But we really liked it."

But the Jogs' new kitchen will not have a dishwasher or a food processor. "I have a bai," Ms. Jog said of her maid, "who comes in once a day to chop vegetables, mop the floors and do the dishes, and at one-tenth of what a machine would cost."

ns80
04-20-2005, 05:14 PM
"I miss Dunkin' Donuts," said Mr. Jog


American chains and imitators are becoming more popular. McDonald's offers home delivery and a "crispy Chinese" vegetarian burger; Pizza Hut's only all-vegetarian outlets are in India

:sm19: :sm20: ellam nera kodumai. kayile kaasu vechutu enna pannanum'nu theriyaama thiriyaraanuva.

prasan8181
04-20-2005, 05:26 PM
Oh I see. So?

dinesh
04-20-2005, 05:32 PM
Why is this in Women's Talk ferny? Are you implying that Indian women can't cook these days, and they all go out to eat? :ahha:

ferny
04-20-2005, 06:17 PM
Oh I see. So?

Dunno...read it...progress surprised me...so I posted it.


Are you implying that Indian women can't cook these days, and they all go out to eat?

No no i'm not trying to make any sort of statement. I know more women work and work harder nowadays and pre-packaged/Take-out is more convenient. I wonder if this trend will have the same consequences such as increased obesity that north america faces.

I posted this in women's talk just because I thought women would have more to respond to this article. Thats all.

I guess India is going to be a very different place when I go back.

Ferns

goodcomplanboy
04-20-2005, 06:33 PM
I guess India is going to be a very different place when I go back.

It is!!! already ferns. Lots and lots of American eat-outs in Chennai itself.

Priyanka
04-20-2005, 06:40 PM
Are you implying that Indian women can't cook these days, and they all go out to eat?

Ithuve aambalainga neenga samaicchaa ivvalavu pracchanai varumaa? :evil: Ithuve namma EKT-ya paarunga. Annikkaaha 'raththam sindhi' ozhaikkaraaru. :Ksp: Avara paatthaavathu kaththukkoongo ellaarum. :sm11:

vasan
04-20-2005, 07:41 PM
D'Oh.. Donuts, pizzaa, and a million unhealthy fast food.. :doh:

I don't get it.. whats so big deal about Pilsbury??!! Is wheat flour not available in India? Or is it, like you throw in such brands and you feel you are whatever??!!

People stopped eating corn (being unfashionable and all that!), and queue up to pick up the Corn Flakes... :? :? Drives me crazy... :Ksp:

Soon we will all be 120 Million really fat people.. Gosh...

v- :Ksp:

anainar
04-20-2005, 08:43 PM
Eating out is not bad. But eating out paying 250Rs for a burger is bad. Most of the Western joints have priced their products almost in $ terms. A Pizzahut Large Pizza costs around 350 rupees. For 350 Rupees, four people can eat very nice Indian food. I hate these joints because of this.

Barista/Coffee day coffee is 35Rs. A regular filter coffee is 3 Rs. It is a total ripoff that way. On top of that all the unhealthy/junk factor.

But I dont see Pilsbury being an issue. Those days when my mom would buy wheat, dry it, then grind it to get wheat flour is gone. I am the bakra to get those things done. Wheat, Chilli powder jobs will be offloaded to me. Now everything comes in packets. That nowadays is no big deal.

Cheers

anitam
04-20-2005, 08:55 PM
I think after 5 or 6 years, there won't any difference between Indian life and US life.

I hate frozen entrees here in US.

prasan8181
04-20-2005, 08:55 PM
Eating out is not bad. But eating out paying 250Rs for a burger is bad. Most of the Western joints have priced their products almost in $ terms. A Pizzahut Large Pizza costs around 350 rupees. For 350 Rupees, four people can eat very nice Indian food. I hate these joints because of this.

Barista/Coffee day coffee is 35Rs. A regular filter coffee is 3 Rs. It is a total ripoff that way. On top of that all the unhealthy/junk factor.

But I dont see Pilsbury being an issue. Those days when my mom would buy wheat, dry it, then grind it to get wheat flour is gone. I am the bakra to get those things done. Wheat, Chilli powder jobs will be offloaded to me. Now everything comes in packets. That nowadays is no big deal.

Cheers

Precisely.

sri_gan
04-20-2005, 09:04 PM
Pizza Hut should sell large pizza for Rs.15.99

ns80
04-20-2005, 09:15 PM
Eating out is not bad. But eating out paying 250Rs for a burger is bad. Most of the Western joints have priced their products almost in $ terms. A Pizzahut Large Pizza costs around 350 rupees. For 350 Rupees, four people can eat very nice Indian food. I hate these joints because of this.

not to forget 35 rupees for one glass of Fanta, no refills (this was the rate in Pizza Hut in Jan 2003). All these western joints are a total rip off, exploiting the people's attraction towards the western way of living (Whatever !).

Except for the readymade yoghurt or flour which were there even before all this cash flow, the bottomline is "makkalukku kayile panam vandha udane enna pannanum'nu theriyale. kanna mooditu selavazhikkaraanga".


Pizza Hut should sell large pizza for Rs.15.99

:lol: :lol:

valluvan
04-20-2005, 09:37 PM
The article speaks true.......and note that is true only in major cities. Also here in abroad, people eat for their stomach in those outlets. But in India, itz more like "Bandha" rather than for the real purpose. People are eating Rs. 200 burger where 10 ruppee Idli can serve the purpose.

But super market thing and other yogurt storing, etc., all are "kalaththin kattaayam". We can't blame them. As I see in Sri_Gan signature "Only Change is always a constant".

Bluelotus
04-20-2005, 10:33 PM
but sometimes I wonder :think:

sure they work hard and earn loads....but will they be happier than their parents ? ever?
:think:

there's one thing I never understood:

if ppl want to bake cakes why do they buy those ready to bake packs? :think:
why not just buy a whole cake in the shop?
or if you want to bake it ...why not make it properly by measuring out the flour and sugar, etc...

:?


blue.

valluvan
04-20-2005, 10:51 PM
there's one thing I never understood:

if ppl want to bake cakes why do they buy those ready to bake packs? :think:
why not just buy a whole cake in the shop?


1) All money matters......Blue :wink: . You 'll agree baking a cake with ready to bake pack is cheaper than the cake sold in shop. More over getting the ingredients separately and make the cake is rather cheaper than ready to bake one.

2) The flavour and the taste can be chosen and mixed at a needed ratio by us.


or if you want to bake it ...why not make it properly by measuring out the flour and sugar, etc...
:?
blue.

Due to lack skills and lazyness, one may want to buy a cake from the shop rather than baking at home.