Today a full-fledged dinner can be ready in just about 30 minutes—talk about easy-peasy! A complete meal (yes, we’re talking dessert too) no longer means cooking everything from scratch, couple of push of buttons on a microwave or oven does it all. The trend of ‘convenience’ foods is continuing to grow. Research shows that even those who like to cook for themselves often cannot because of modern time restrictions. Food manufacturers have taken over our kitchens with a wide array of instant mixes, ready to eat (RTE), ready to cook (RTC) that can be served between 30 seconds to 10 minutes. Food of all kinds, from breakfast to dinner and from savoury to sweet and everything in between, has become more ‘convenient’ in the last few years – from RTE, RTC, instant mixes and ready-to-use products (that rose to popularity between 2000-2009) to the modern phenomena of grocery delivery services, online ordering– thereby revolutionising the way we eat. The International Food Information Council’s 2017 Food and Health survey found that for almost 55% millennials, ‘convenience’ was a top driver when it came to buying food. The common theme of RTEs and RTCs is to help the time-strapped consumer dish out fresh, healthy, and most importantly, quick food on the table.
Convenience at its Best
Sanjana Desai, Chief Strategy Officer, Desai Brothers Ltd., Food Division says, “People are leading busier lives than they used to, they are constantly rushing to supermarkets, picking something that’s quick to make. One of the barriers for healthy eating is the time it takes to actually prepare a healthy meal. That said, consumers still want to eat at home; even though they are working longer hours and leading a hectic lifestyle, leaving them little time to cook a full meal and eat.” Enter Mother’s Recipe. Best known for their range of home-style pickles, Desai Brothers Ltd. Acquired the brand in 2001 from ADF Ltd. “We’ve come a long way since then—we’ve launched a line of products, reminiscent of timeless recipes once created in every traditional Indian households, offering consumers much more than healthy, tasty, and quick-to-make food—maa-ke-haathon-ka-swaad,” Desai says of their 17-year-old journey.
Ghar ka Khana, Bahar Bhi
We all swear by ghar ka khana, even if it is mom’s simple dal-chawal. Replicating the same simplicity in time-strapped kitchens is a challenge. Desai explains, “The rapid growth of the urban landscape, and movement of the population from rural to urban centres, increase in workforce has impacted the food scene. You often have two working parents who after a long day of work do not feel like cooking.” This lifestyle shift has led to an easy acceptance of substitutes for kitchen chores such as cutting, chopping, frying, etc. RTCs have stepped in, where they’re happy to wash and cut, and even blend pastes and consumers are willing to pay the premium as long as they can save a precious few minutes. At the same time, the change in lifestyle, diminishing culinary skills and rise of food delivery apps has led to the growth of RTE segment. “The upward trend of the convenience food category, which is today growing at approximately 17% CAGR showcases that RTE and RTC meals are the need of the hour,” adds Desai. Mother’s Recipe alone has about 150 variants of food products. The brand’s consumer base spreads across 40 countries. In India, they are available in diverse trade formats such as mom-and-pop stores, modern trade outlets, multi-functional outlets, defence canteens, hotel restaurants and cafés (HORECA), food service outlets, exclusive outlets and e-commerce platforms.
All Things Health
Growth of RTCs and RTEs puts convenience at loggerheads with health. In an effort to draw a balance, Mother’s Recipe work hard at not compromising on factors such as nutritional value and taste while cutting down on meal preparation time. Choose from their wide range of products ranging from pickles, chutneys
With an aim to continuously cater to the ever-evolving consumers, Desai says, “Our products, including pickles, cooking and condiment pastes, curry and gravy pastes, blended spices, ready-to-cook spice mixes, ready-to-eat, instant breakfast mixes, ready-to-fry products are not only preservative-free but also free of MSG and artificial colouring. Our aim is to ensure that our products do not lose their nutritional value, giving consumers a completely authentic taste.”
Despite concerns about quality and hygiene such as increased microbial and bacterial threats and other food-related hygiene issues. Desai assures that simple preventative actions can keep these risks at bay: “We follow stringent, hygienic standards and strict quality control procedures, which are implemented at various stages of the manufacturing process to ensure that only the best quality products leave the factory.” Besides, she adds, “The plant also has an in-house laboratory facility which is equipped with latest, sensitive instruments, to check the quality of the products at every stage.”
Mother’s Recipe allows one to have the efficiency and quickness of an on-the-go or quick meal while still being able to eat ‘real food’. “The consumers’ needs are always at the centre of all our innovations,” says Desai giving an example of their Poha Instant Mix which is available in two variants—Mom-style Poha on-the-go, and a Jain variant Poha, without onion and garlic.
Images: Mother's Recipe
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