Health, Hygiene and Convenience driving new food habits

The last few months have brought about significant changes across the industry. People have adapted to these changes in many different ways and, so has the culinary world. Earlier this year, when the Godrej Food Trends Report 2020, designed by Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal with inputs of over a hundred and fifty culinary experts from across India, predicted upcoming food trends for the year, no one anticipated how the months following the launch of the report would pan out. However, interest in Ghar-ka-khana as predicted in the report augmented and accelerated opportunities for neighbourhood foodpreneur. It also brought to the fore commitment to mindful eating and more.

06 Oct 2020

As a part of the ongoing conversation series - ‘Rise of the Culinary Explorer’, Godrej in association with The Hindu, hosted an interactive panel discussion on ‘Evolving Food Habits and Home Kitchens in the New Normal’ on September 29, 2020. The panel moderated by Ruth Dsouza Prabhu an independent food and beverage writer looked into the emerging patterns and their impact on the home kitchen. They unravelled how disruption in online shopping and focus on mindful eating has led to the rise of no-compromise convenience cooking and other changes in the habits. "The Pandemic and the related concerns over hygiene and sanitisation have led to so many fundamental changes in the way we live and especially eat. As work and life adjust to a new normal, people are looking for long term solutions that balance hygiene, and mindful eating, for self and environment health and The idea of this discussion was to revisit trends against this new normal" elaborates Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal.

Speaking about the emerging trends, Kamal Nandi, Business Head and Executive Vice President of Godrej Appliances, said, “People are living differently, thinking differently and buying differently today. At the early stages of the pandemic, appliances being discretionary in nature were predicted to be amongst the three most affected categories, instead, it ended up in the top three, in terms of sectors seeing revival. Shopping patterns and priorities are changing. Health & Safety concerns are paramount affecting all our purchases including our food: how much we buy, where we buy from , what we do to make it safer  - everything is being revaluated. Consumers are stocking more food, cooking a lot more than earlier, trying to eat healthier, trying to stay safer and trying to manage all the work on their own- and appliances have a role to play in all of this.”

Apart from buying habits, there was a significant change in consumption of food-media. During the lockdown, there was a sudden rise of food-related content on social media and the growth of affordable video marketing. Two-time National Award winner, Chef Varun Inamdar said: “As compared to last year, the food trends have undergone a complete dynamic change. The focus now is on family meals, and how the family can cook together. Smart meals and smarter ways of utilising the same ingredients are now on the rise. Kitchen fundamentals are incorporating the use of minimum resources and expenses. What used to be fads have now become essential. Earthenware, millets and traditional ingredients are new essentials. The quest for eating healthy has given rise to the consumption of E-books, Facebook and YouTube content.”

Indeed, the kitchen has become the focal point for everything related to food habits. According to Monika Manchanda, Chief Culinary Officer, Altlife, “Families are now turning to their kitchens to address larger immunity problems. For any illness, big or small, our kitchens would always have a remedy. It is a trend that is reviving slowly as more families are going back to it”. Manchanda also spoke about how people are now focusing on local ingredients such as curd, fermented foods and haldi milk for their immunity-boosting properties. “Since eating out or ordering food from restaurants were curtailed, it presented an opportunity for home chefs. The proliferation of desi flavour and exploration of regional cuisine was primarily a result of greater trust placed on these foodpreneurs who specialise in those areas,” said Manchanda.

Greater focus on health and hygiene has led to changes in buying behaviour, resulting in high demand for home appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers and washing machines. In keeping with these demands, Godrej Appliances launched ViroShield – a UV-C (Ultra Violet rays) based disinfectant appliance to sanitise all types of day to day items, gadgets, packaged and raw foods against COVID-19 and other harmful viruses and bacteria.

As Chef Inamdar summed it up, “Kitchen fundamentals entail little expenses and counted resources. Therefore, it is important to keep the pillars of food very elementary and smart.”

The webinar was powered by Godrej Appliances and Vikhroli Cucina – Godrej Group’s brand-agnostic owned media platform in the food space. As part of the series, the first segment included five one-on-one conversations LIVE on Vikhroli Cucina Instagram handle. Vikhroli Cucina is a platform where all food enthusiasts can network, engage and collaborate. The Godrej Food Trends Report – 2020 is available for download.

Watch the entire session here:


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