Atul Kapoor knows he will be a fatter man at the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup next month. Not desirable, he confesses, but inevitable.
The 41-year-old restaurateur plans to hold regular cricket parties at his Gurgaon residence every time the Indian team takes the field, starting Saturday, when they take on Bangladesh. The menu on the cards: abundant kathi kebabs, fried momos, and lots of alcohol. “The bar gets very well stocked,” he says. “That is the most important part.”
Kapoor is one of the millions of cricket fans across the country, who will be gorging on snacks and beverages as the tournament progresses. And a study released Wednesday confirms that is the norm.
According to market information provider ACNielsen, 62% of respondents to a survey conducted by it say they will consume chips, with 35% adding aerated drinks to their match diet. At 30%, popcorn is the third favourite, trailed by pizza (20%) and burgers (14%).
But not all will be snacking; 23% say they’ll pass.
N.S. Muthukumaran, director of online research at the Nielsen Co. in India, says the kind of snacks consumed also happen to be endorsed by cricketers. “For these products, they make the best brand ambassadors,” he says.
Hotels and restaurants too are tempting fans with special menus. For instance, the special cricket menu at New Delhi’s Shangri-La Hotel features tandoori paneer masala, pork skewer tenderloin, grilled chicken breast, french fries, and beer. ACNielsen’s findings worry nutrionists. Diet consultant Aishwarya Rajan says the problem lies with the availability of junk food. Her choice for cricket fans: fruit slices, cucumbers or steamed broccoli. Or, she says, one could burn off the fat and salt gained from snacking with a brisk walk.
But with the matches lasting through the night, it is unlikely people will heed her tip.
But chips or carrots aside, cricket fans everywhere will be united in chewing on thing: their nails.