Survey titled ‘The Evolving Indian Palate’ found growing popularity of western food in Indian kitchens with 79% of western food consuming urban households preparing it at least once a week.
Global market and opinion research specialist, Ipsos, published findings from a new survey to understand western food consumption patterns among urban Indians. They conducted a nationwide survey titled ‘The Evolving Indian Palate’, to establish the growing popularity of western foods among Indians. The survey was commissioned by Dr. Oetker, which houses FunFoods. Survey was conducted with 1000 households across 14 cities who consumed non-home cooked western food in the last 1 month and prepared western food at home.
According to the Dr. Oetker – Ipsos survey, western food has today come all the way to become a choice which is ‘often made at home as a full meal and not just a snack’. This is a significant development considering Indians are perceived to be extremely traditional about their native food choices. As per the findings, 79% of households preparing western food, do it at least once a week, as an evening snack or dinner. However, only about 19% of households consume western food during breakfast. Key trigger for the growing interest in western foods is convenience with comments like it is ‘easy to cook’ (68%) and has wide acceptance, with comments like ‘good to share with family and friends’ (57%), ‘Enjoyed by children’ (53%) and ‘Good to serve to guests’(46%).
Another significant finding of the study is the validation of the arrival of the ‘Indo-Western Food’, with western sauces finding their way into Indian cuisines and emergence of ‘fusion food’. 97% of urban Indians preparing western food were found to be mixing western sauces with Indian food, giving rise to combinations such as the use of a western sauce either as a dip, along with Samosas, pakoras, kachori and paratha or western sauces being used while preparing dishes like rice pulao, egg • American either non-veg or a mix bhurji or paneer bhurji. Among the western sauces used for fusion food, Mayonnaise and Pasta & Pizza sauces are considered most versatile, the first is an ideal blender and the second a taste enhancer and both are easy to customise.
Speaking on the occasion, Sreyoshi Maitra, Executive Director, Ipsos, said, “India is a country with diverse food preferences with starkly different regional cuisines. Despite the entrenched traditional food habits, urban Indians are increasingly becoming open to Western cuisine with more people taking to Western food as a part of their regular consumption regime. Wide access to information, time-pressed and evolving lifestyles, are the key factors to this change.”
Also, revealing the purpose behind the study, Mr Oliver Mirza, Managing Director & CEO for Dr. Oetker India & SAARC said, “As a leader in Western pleasure food category, Dr. Oetker is architecting the growth for western sauces and spreads in India. It is our endeavour to constantly learn and understand how consumption habits are evolving to further innovate and introduce offerings that appeal to consumers. The Dr. Oetker- Ipsos survey has revealed some interesting insights on the western food consumption habits in urban India. It is indeed encouraging for us to see that consumers today are more open to experimenting with food in their kitchens with Indo-Western fusion food becoming a rage in particular.”
One of the most eye-catching observations in the survey is that preparation of western food breaks down the gender barriers. Preparation of western food at home is not solitary anymore – with everybody, especially men, helping in. The study found that irrespective of cuisines, preparation of western foods at home is a family affair with 2 out of 5 people preparing meals with assistance such as spouse (34%), friend (23%) or other family member (38%).
Among the western food choices, Italian is the most preferred cuisine prepared at home (36% preference), followed by continental (30%) and American (30%) and Mexican (3%). However, American is the most tried cuisine to prepare at home at 72%. Also, Italian is preferred more for dinner (28%) while American is preferred most for breakfast (29%). Pizzas and children have a strong bond – the study found that Pizza is the No. 1 choice of food prepared by families with kids (33%) followed by Pasta (24%).
Expectedly, younger people are embracing western foods more. As a result, 7 out of 10 western food consumers are below 30 years of age, with the western food drive being led mostly by the youth and children in their families. Most often, the youth take to the kitchens to prepare western foods for themselves rather than to feed others, as evident from 23% weight going in favour of mostly single people in age group of 18-25 years cooking/ preparing meals it for the ‘me-time’.