A professional food photographer from Mumbai, Pawan Manglani knew how to eat healthy but, during the stressful months of the first lockdown, he stopped taking care of himself. Processed meals, desserts, alcohol and aerated drinks entered his diet and continued well beyond the pandemic. Manglani, 36, could see the changes in his body and stamina. Walking, climbing stairs and playing cricket became difficult. “I didn’t want to go out and buy a new set of clothes. On February 1, 2022, I decided that I was going to discipline myself, ” he says.
He joined a gym plus began to eat fresh, whole and home-cooked foods. He began searching for an alternative to colas, which he was fond of. A friend introduced him to a fermented tea called kombucha. Little known in India, kombucha has a 2, 000-year history and is rich in probiotic bacteria plus antioxidants ; it is also an acquired taste. Manglani tried a number of brands until he found the particular flavour this individual liked, made by Umami Brew, a brewery in Pune that will be customising kombucha for the Indian palate by using local fruits, herbs and spices.
Manglani now has the separate shelf in his fridge to hold three months’ supply of kombucha bottles that he or she or their friends bring all the way from Pune in order to his Andheri home. When he wants a drink, Manglani pops open a bottle, serves kombucha in a whisky glass with lots of ice, sips it slowly and enjoys the flavour, relieved that it will be good for the body. “I have recommended it to a lot of people and helped them get off sugar, ” says Manglani. He does not overdo the kombucha either, keeping it to twice a week.
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In Mysuru, 18-year-old Arshiya Ruman MZ tells other children not in order to eat food through outside unless they are sure about the hygiene. When it comes to her comfort food, ice cream, Arshhiya opts for a dairy-free brand known as Just Gelato that uses seasonal fruit and other natural ingredients. She does not have any other your favorite ice cream even when she goes out along with friends. “The more naturally you eat, the better your health is usually. We never knew there was a virus coming at us that would kill people or make them ill. We must choose what we eat wisely so that people observe us plus choose responsibly as well, ” she says.
A dietary movement is underway in the country, hastened by the outbreak. People are caring more about the particular food they may be putting in their bodies. The conscious eater, who used to be an outlier in their social group because they checked ingredients, nutritional values and hygiene before eating, is now a mainstream role model. Cooking blogs, influencer posts and everyday conversations are peppered with references to some balanced diet plan, intermittent fasting and energy supplements. “Immunity booster” was one associated with the most-searched terms of the pandemic.
In the girl 2018 book, Ultimate Grandmother Hacks (Rupa), nutritionist Kavita Devgan writes that traditional practices, such as adding raw onions plus chillies in lunch and dinner and eating as a family along with the TV switched away, had all but disappeared from modern households. It was during the pandemic that will the Delhi-based Devgan began to notice that a change was happening among her clients, especially millennials (who are a good important segment in a country where 66 per cent associated with the population is below 35). “They are heading back to tradition in little things, like carrying the fruit when they go out because they have realised the importance of anti-oxidants and enzymes in fresh fruit, ” says Devgan, who published another book this year, The Immunity Diet (Rupa). “People are now more aware, reading a lot and adapting faster to a healthier lifestyle as compared to earlier when their focus was more on just weight loss, ” she adds.
The last time India experienced a major shift in eating habits was after the economic liberalisation of 1991, whenever age-old staples made way for foods rich within sugars, fats and proteins. Cola wars and a fast-food boom resulted in restaurant chains mushrooming in major cities plus, then, Tier II and III towns. The unfamiliar taste associated with foreign meals, from pizzas and burgers to coffee and doughnuts , attracted Indians who were also feeding on sitcoms and films from the particular US plus Europe that will brought the Western way of life into their living rooms. One of the results of globalisation is definitely that Indian has become one of the world’s hubs associated with lifestyle diseases.
In June 2022, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation released data that monthly deaths due to heart attack had risen six times in the first half of 2021 inside Mumbai compared to previous years. According to the Indian native Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India is home to the particular world’s second-largest adult diabetes population, and every sixth person with the disease in the world is an Indian. “The past 3 decades witnessed a 150 per cent increase in the number associated with people with diabetes in Of india, ” states an ICMR statement.
“We had started realising that will we are going down the particular wrong path and had in order to change our habits but it was slow due to the fact adapting to a healthy process can be difficult when we are tempted simply by junk food . The particular pandemic hastened the process as individuals started to lap up information about improving their life-style. What might have taken an additional decade has happened in two many years, ” provides Devgan. India was one of the epicentres of COVID-19 , a tragedy in which everybody lost someone. There was a lot associated with misery even in people that the illness had spared. Those who recovered had been through terrible health scares. The crumbling healthcare system of the particular country added to the shock. People noticed that their own biggest asset was their particular health — and it was, in order to an extent, in their control.
The symbol of the changed mindset comes packed in the salad bowl. Once a humble accompaniment, the particular salad has become a meal in itself. Restaurants, stand-alone outlets and home cooks have begun supplying greens and soup in many cities. Delhi-based chef Tanuvee Agarwal maintains a kitchen garden for her fine-dine catering, called Atticus, which turns lush during winter months with greens, lettuce, tomatoes, baby potatoes, radish, carrots and other vegetable. The girl started to pluck these to make salads, for which the girl offered the subscription strategy — Rs 1, 500 for three days per week or Rs 2, 500, with regard to five times a week. Agarwal, who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurant Atelier Crenn in the US, was surprised at the huge footfalls the lady received regarding salads. “A lot of people we began supplying to were working 9-5 from home together no time to cook. Ordering salad from a trustworthy place has been a matter of convenience for all of them, ” she says.
Atticus’ offering ranged from “kohlrabi, mustard leaves, radish and tatsoi with lemon vinaigrette salad” with warm lentil soups to “mixed crisp greens, baby carrots, mushrooms, celery with light hummus salad” with roasted pepper soup. The number of customers increased 20 per penny each year during the first two waves. Agarwal introduced non-vegetarian ingredients in 2021 and plans to increase this range this winter. “There is certainly a myth that, if a person is eating green salads they are usually cutting down on calories. If you consume salad along with a lot of mayo, you are not achieving that. We are focussed on producing healthy salads, which are low in fat content plus genuinely healthful, ” the girl says.
How does one know what is healthy, especially while grocery shopping? Myth and jargon abound within the marketplace of wellness food, with harmful products sometimes branded as good foods. Two words that have joined consumer vocabulary recently will help clear the confusion—transparency and traceability. The former received a boost in December 2021 when the Delhi High Court made it mandatory intended for food businesses to make a full disclosure of all their components, including plant and animal sources, on the packaging. The latter is a feature that empowers buyers to find out the origins of their own product.
One of the first companies to introduce the traceability feature in India had been True Elements, which makes healthy breakfast and snacks like flavoured pumpkin seeds, rolled oats, Goan cashews and protein-rich nuts and berries . In case you enter the name of the particular product along with the batch code around the company’s website, you can see its journey from the farms, where the ingredients were procured, with detailed quality reports. “Since the outbreak hit us, customers are usually even more sensitive about what they consume and are more aware of the impact it will have upon themselves and the environment. The market is now inclining towards health-oriented and sustainable foods, specifically Clean Label products plus ingredients, ” says Puru Gupta, that co-founded True Elements along with Shreejith Moolayil in 2015. True Elements is present inside many cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Nagpur.
Devgan advises that home-cooked food should form 80 per dollar of one’s diet. The particular industry, however , has found a way to package health food for easier access. According to Prasoon Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Delhi-based Sattviko, whose items include Antioxidant Makhana Snacks, the market for health food is growing at twenty % and is pegged to touch $30 billion in five years. “More people are looking for the convenient consuming experience without the guilt of bingeing on unhealthy meals or compromising on flavor, ” he says.
In December 2021, UK-based market research firm, Euromonitor International, plus PepsiCo India released a report, titled “Impact associated with Covid-19 on the nutrition choices of urban Indian consumers in 2021”. It said that almost 90 percent of city consumers would willingly pay more for healthful alternatives in food. That the food industry has responded with speed indicates that the health-food motion is set to grow stronger. For now, unhealthy potato wafers and sweets dominate shelves, but they are sharing space with snacks, candy and savouries that are labelled “vegan”, “organic”, “gluten-free”, “free of pesticide and artificial ingredients”. There is a rising interest in A2 milk plus milk products and organic groceries.
It has turn out to be a better landscape to get health-conscious mothers such as Mumbai-based Pia Desai. The lady has always exercised plus eaten healthy but grew to become more conscious when the girl children had been born around a decade ago. There were few healthful food options available in Indian at the particular time, so Desai used to request friends who had been travelling abroad to bring back baby foods and snack foods for her children. “As the market opened up and new snacks came inside, my life became easier, ” she says. Though the communications profession cooks every day, the lady has solved the problem of the girl daughters’ tiffins by buying bunches of Snack-A-Doodle strawberry apple bars. “What I like is that there is no processed sugar. It is the little sweet from your apple company and kids love it, ” she states.
Snack-A-Doodle was started by two moms in Mumbai, Radhieka Pandeya and Simer Dhall, in April 2021 when online classes along with a lockdown life made the need for nutritious snack foods more persistent. “The pandemic was a game changer for health-conscious brands. We have noticed a month-on-month repeat customer rate associated with 30 per cent. We pride ourselves inside being honest about our own product elements, ” says Dhall.
Big business houses have taken note of the health-food market. One such is Marico, manufacturers of Saffola cooking oil. The consumer goods giant announced in May 2022 that they experienced acquired the 54 per cent stake in Correct Elements. “True Elements has built its 1st phase associated with growth predominantly with a portfolio of innovative clean-label product offerings and high consumer trust. The focus associated with its next phase will be on building the equity of the brand further and accelerating its entry into newer households. The investment in True Elements is a conscious step towards accelerating the particular expansion of our Foods portfolio as we aim in order to achieve the next ambitious milestone associated with Rs 850-1, 000 crore turnover inside Foods simply by FY24, ” says Sanjay Mishra, COO, India business, and CEO, new company, Marico Ltd.
Making a lifestyle change starts as a challenging journey, along with obstacles such as peer pressure plus withdrawal symptoms. But, surveys show that a significant number of people are exercising, eating well and making a commitment to healthy living. The particular broader rules of feeding on well haven’t changed pertaining to centuries. “With any habit, you have to become patient. Give it period and you will see a change, ” says Devgan.