Pearl millet and vegetable salad.  (Photo: iStock)
Pearl millet and vegetable salad. (Photo: iStock)

Indian households increasingly preparing western dishes at home: Survey

  • Dishes like pizza, pasta, salads, and sandwiches are finding more acceptance among Indian households
  • In home preparation of western dishes has also become more democratic today, the report revealed

NEW DELHI : Indian households have been eating western food for years now, but western dishes such as burgers, and pastas are becoming increasingly popular among urban Indian households and a regular part of their weekly meal preparation, according to the findings of a survey by local arm of German company Dr. Oetker and market researcher Ipsos.

Dishes like pizza, pasta, salads, and sandwiches are finding more acceptance among Indian households as younger consumers, and greater need for convenience drive the popularity of such dishes among Indian households, that have for decades largely consumed more traditional meals.

As a result, “western food is increasingly being prepared as a full meal and not just a snack," the findings of the report said. Ipsos surveyed 1,000 consumers in 14 Indian cities. Of those surveyed, close to 80% of western-food consuming households said they prepare such meals at least once a week. Among them, Italian is the most preferred western cuisine prepared at home, followed by continental, American, and Mexican. About 4 in 5 households preparing western food do it at least once a week. Western food dishes are more popular among consumers below 30 years.

Such meals are largely consumed during evening or dinner times as a full meal.

“Western food is no longer a snack, earlier it was considered that and Indian dises such as “dal-chawal" were considered real meals real meals, now it is no more the case, western dishes are considered main meal as well," said Oliver Mirza, managing director and CEO, Dr. Oetker India and SAARC. The company sells western sauces and spreads under the FunFoods brand with popular products such as a Veg Mayonnaise.

Dr. Oetker acquired FunFoods in 2008; over the years, the company whose products are available in 500 Indian cities has pushed the typically low-penetrated categories of Mayonnaise and dips to Indian households by launching more lower priced SKUs such as its 100 gram packs priced at Rs35 and offerings such as eggless dips and sauces.

This is the company’s most extensive research in the Indian market spanning 14 cities as it tries to understand how household consumption of western cuisine is shifting among Indian households. “We are in the space of western sauces and dishes, we wanted to understand how often Indian consumers consume these dishes, how many of them are consuming, how they use these products and how they consume pastas, and pizzas, so we continue driving growth and value for consumers," he added.

Interestingly, more Indian households are finding different use cases around use of spreads, dips and condiments by using them along with or to prepare Indian dishes.

“Consumers today are more open to experimenting with food in their kitchens with Indo-Western fusion food becoming a rage in particular," the findings of the report said. The Ipsos findings suggest that 97% of urban Indians preparing western food at home chose to mix western sauces and condiments with Indian food. This, they found, has led to the rise of using dips with samosas, pakoras, kachori and paratha or using western sauces being used while preparing dishes like rice pulao, egg bhurji or paneer bhurji. Among the western sauces used for fusion food, mayonnaise and pasta and pizza sauces are used as taste enhancers.

India is a country with diverse food preferences which has prompted some of the world's largest companies to alter their flavours to suit local tastes. "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," said Sreyoshi Maitra, executive director, Ipsos.

In home preparation of western dishes has also become more democratic today, the report revealed. This goes to say that Indian households don’t prepare such dishes on special occasions, but are instead preparing them as a regular part of their meals. 70% respondents claim that western food is more likely to be a meal replacement rather than being limited to occasions owing to its ease of preparation.

Most of those surveyed (68%) reported that convenience was the key driver to preparing and consuming western food at home. While, 57% of those surveyed said they prepare such dishes as they are “good to share with family and friends, while 53% said they are ‘enjoyed by children’ (53%).