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How emergence of food styling led to transformation of F&B industry in India

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Style has become a part and parcel of life, creeping its way into some of the most unexpected parts of our life. It was in my quest to define the style, that I came across the concept of ‘Food styling’.

There was a time when style was considered the epicentre of fashion. It’s unbelievable how the food industry has transformed itself through this simple concept. By modifying and bringing innovations in the packaging of the dish, restaurants tried to enhance the experience of the customer. Visual appearance, therefore, started gaining significance in the industry. Businesses used food styling to highlight their brand personality. For example, Certain restaurants whose expertise lies in desserts started packaging it in an exotic manner that would bring in a certain sense of excitement among the customers to visit the restaurant for the particular dish.

They enticed the audience with the idea that a particular food generates a specific lifestyle, thereby bringing a feeling of desire in the minds of consumers. As tourism developed and cuisines started playing a central role in the life of a tourist, it became a significant investment for me.  As the food and beverage industry grew, and wider horizons emerged, businesses set foot into enticing the consumers with newer methods. This resulted in the prominence of food styling.

 

By modifying and bringing innovations in the packaging of the dish, restaurants tried to enhance the experience of the customer. Visual appearance, therefore, started gaining significance in the industry. Businesses used food styling to highlight their brand personality. For example, certain restaurants whose expertise lies in desserts started packaging them in an attractive manner; one that would bring a sense of excitement among customers, which – they hoped – would be enough to bring them through the door again.

Source: Readers Digest

Amid all of this, a different facet of food styling has been making the news. It is said that businesses spend copious amounts of money styling their dishes specifically for photographs.

The entire exercise is said to be a 2 to 3-day affair where a great amount of food gets cooked until it gets the perfect colour and thickness for the photograph. The food giant Mcdonald’s brought in professional food stylists to promote its new item, the Cookie. Food stylists who worked on the same say that the cookie was baked for days till it obtained the right texture for its attractive and enticing visual appeal. On the other hand, it is also said that the food used in this process is not real or edible. For example, a turkey that is shown in a banner is stuffed with an enormous amount of tissue to make it look fluffy and the thick milk falling off the glass container may be white paint to make it look more enticing.

Source: Rd

One of the most important principles that are followed when it comes to food styling has been that the food has to look fresh. Interesting details by food stylists across the world give us shocking insights into the beautiful food photographs we come across.  They say that plates used for the same are cleaned with glass cleaner so that fingerprints are not visible in the photographs. In order to make the salad look fresh, glycerin is used to showcase dewdrops on the ingredients. Similarly, a wax coating is used for cold items to the extent that cigarette smoke is used to showcase the effect of smoke coming out of the food. This is further perfected using imaging technology where technicians edit these images to change the overall look of the image.

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Source: Readers Digest

As food styling takes the industry to new highs with influencers and bloggers, it brings us to a fearful reality which underlines that all that glitters is not gold. Nevertheless, as marketing transcends its boundaries, we cannot underestimate the worthiness of food that tastes like paradise even if it looks unattractive.

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Food

FMCG brands should find a new way to work, say experts

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Big grocery retailers like Amazon and Big Basket are trying to cash on their own private label brands, as customers look for cheaper options due to the advent of economic crisis.

FMCG brands, which used to rely on the traditional modes of selling through their supply chain partners, should now find new trajectories to sell to the consumer. This statement comes as the brand’s usual partners struggle to create demand in the market amid the coronavirus crisis. According to Deepak Shahdadpuri, managing director of investment firm DSG Consumer Partners, food retailers should now follow a direct-to-consumer approach.

Big grocery retailers like Amazon and Big Basket are trying to cash on their own private label brands, as customers look for cheaper options due to the advent of economic crisis. Therefore, new, smaller retailers will have to pave way for themselves to reach out to the customers. “The likes of BigBasket are going full hog on private labels, across categories. This is the perfect time to push for private labels, because again the data tells you that people aren’t buying goods, primarily because of access, which has a very, very big part to play at this stage in the cycle,” said Shahdadpuri, one of the leading consumer-focused investors in the Indian startup ecosystem.

Alerted by this, yogurt brand Epigamia and cold-press juice maker Raw Pressery,  under the DSG Consumer Partner’s portfolio, starting selling the products on their official websites.

“The big online retailers were not being able to service their clients. We don’t want to compete with the likes of Flipkart or Big-Basket, who also sell our products. But at this stage, they themselves have an issue fulfilling orders. No one’s getting upset. If you’re a brand, you must consider it,” Shahdadpuri said.

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Ranveer Brar is helping Street food vendors through his million followers

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The celebrity chef Ranveer Brar has just recently hit 1 million followers on Instagram and is using this opportunity to mark the beginning of his new project.  The project is to help street-food sellers all over the country to restart their business in the post-pandemic world. The project is in association with the National Association of Street Vendors of India or also known as Nasvi.

Brar says that he intends to celebrate both of these milestones by taking up a new cause — one that includes returning to society. To this end, Ranveer will use his global status on social media to raise awareness and funds for these pan-India training modules, some of which he will also conduct directly through Zoom. The intention is to inspire more vendors to come forward for the preparation, on completion of which they are offered a chance for a proper business footing via an FSSAI certificate + a starter kit consisting of an apron, a pair of gloves, a sanitizer and a mask. Brar also wants to enable clients to share self-curated, sanitization kits through # MakingMillionCount.

Brar also wants to encourage patrons to share self-curated sanitization kits with their favourite roadside suppliers through # MakingMillionCount to encourage and inspire them back to work.

Brar, a boy from Lucknow, has a long association with the street food community for which the city is renowned. “You crave street food when you are young. Perhaps far later can you learn to love home-cooking, “he says.” Food on the street is near to my heart because of the legacies, magic and stories we get with every bite. He is partial to Varanasi’s chaat and Kachori, Lucknow’s tundey kababs or even Old Delhi’s famous chole bhature.

By starting this program, he is helping such small vendors to stand up on their own. Many customers are now not interested in visiting these street shops anymore, by providing proper sanitation equipment it will jump-start their business.

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Food

Flipkart introduces voice assistant for grocery shopping

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Flipkart has become the pioneer to blend conversational artificial intelligence that can recognise speech, understand natural language, translate machine, and text to speech for Indian languages. This technology is capable of understanding diverse Indian languages and take the customers through the app while explaining about the product features, usage, etc. 

Walmart-owned Flipkart made a big announcement on Tuesday. It launched a voice assistant on its platform to assist people in their grocery shopping. Launched in the Flipkart’s grocery platform “Supermart,” it will help people in navigating through different products and place orders in multiple languages commencing with Hindi and English. 

Flipkart has become the pioneer to blend conversational artificial intelligence that can recognise speech, understand natural language, translate machine, and text to speech for Indian languages. This technology is capable of understanding diverse Indian languages and take the customers through the app while explaining about the product features, usage, etc. 

Invented by Flipkart’s in-house technology team, this solution can help thousands of customers who are not comfortable with the manual nature of eCommerce websites. 

The new development is currently available to English and Hindi users possessing an android device and Flipkart’s app, however, it will be made available on iOS devices and the website soon. 

Flipkart said it had undertaken a detailed ethnographic study for about five months in multiple towns and cities to gather insights and opportunities that led to the development of the voice assistant for groceries.

“The research brought forward interesting insights from users wanting to do a variety of tasks using voice while seeking easy accessibility of services. Therefore, Flipkart believes its Voice Assistant will elevate the user’s grocery shopping to more personal and natural experience,” it added.

“As a homegrown e-commerce company, Flipkart has been at the forefront of building India-first innovations and video, vernacular and voice have been the key pillars of solving for the adoption of e-commerce in India. While we have seen great adoption for our video and vernacular offerings, the next step in that direction is to solve for the voice capability for e-commerce,” Flipkart Chief Product and Technology Officer Jeyandran Venugopal said.

He further said that the technology team rigorously travelled throughout the country to gain a better understanding of the various contours of building a voice capability and fine-tune it to identify and respond to the different variations in Indian languages.

Believing that groceries have a huge growth potential in the future, Manish Kumar, SVP Grocery and General Merchandise & Furniture at Flipkart said, “Our grocery business has grown phenomenally over the last year, making this the right time for us to introduce the voice assistant capability,

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