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Image by Davide Cantelli

A taste of the changing
cultural flavours of INDIA

Published on Business Insider.

As we look back at the last decade, we see how our relationships with people, work, activities and of course, food have been redefined. During these trying times, our obsession with food is something we’ve sought comfort in.

Food and our attitude towards it has been changing, much of which has been accelerated by the pandemic. TBWA India team has put together a report in an attempt to identify the changing relationship with food culture and the evolving mindsets of India.



People no longer want just a meal; they want a performance that transcends space and time. Beyond menus, cafés and restaurants are now adding a flavour of drama to their recipes. Getting a cup of coffee can involve a walk through a zen-like garden and ordering a cocktail can move you to a street market.

According to TripAdvisor, 70% of people believe unique dining experiences are worth paying more for. Social, Pune has a tunnel-like entrance that is supposed to be a transition from new Pune into the old market lanes of camps. It also has an off-beat trampoline work section.


Revenge Dining

Social indulgence is even winning over the fear of contagion. Survivalism is taking a backseat. People are giving in to their senses demanding a break and dining out, after being locked away for months.

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Dine-out Inside

To relive the experience of dining out, people are now ordering in the restaurant-like ambience along with food.

With the pandemic restricting people's movement, ordering in has turned into experiential dining. People are dressing up, playing music and setting the table, to recreate the dining-out experience at home. For example, Novotel Chamiers has launched their own meal kits to give their diners the restaurant experience at home. The apparel brand Linen Club is encouraging people to bring the restaurant experience home.

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Gastronomy Express

Taste buds are now dictating itineraries. As the hunger for experimental experiences rises, both people’s taste buds and minds are opening up to the new.

The World Food Travel Association preserves and promotes culinary cultures through hospitality and tourism.

50% Indians are keen on experimenting with authentic local cuisines and are planning their vacations around it. 1 in 4 Indian travellers surveyed said they regard 'enjoying the local food' as the most important reason to travel.

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Gourmet at Home


English Breakfast now competes with Idli Sambhar as Indian taste buds are experimenting with transcontinental flavours.

Sinking our teeth into global gastronomy has turned us into gourmet cooks who constantly crave for more. Gourmet food has become an avenue of its own as it is no longer confined to lavish restaurants. For example, Foodhall's product range includes a vast range of products from all over the world. Godrej Nature’s Basket’s offers exotic international gourmet products. According to EconomicTimes, 30%-60% growth in sales for exotic food and international sauces in Nature's Basket and Spencer's.

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Conscious Consumption


Food has levelled up as our ammo in the climate change battle. From dieting to save our bodies to dieting to save our planet, people are realizing how every bite can make a difference.

Ve-gan make a difference

People are eating well, for both themselves and the world. The dairy loving country is embracing a plant based diet and shifting their focus to sustainable and conscious eating habits.

40% growth in the next decade in alternative meat industry. 90% Indians are extremely likely to purchase plant-based meat. Good Dot, a plant-based meat startup sells 12,000 to 15,000 packets of mock meat each day.

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BYOC (Bring Your Own Cutlery)


Whether we’re eating out or ordering in, disposable cutlery is now being cancelled.

Restaurants are now encouraging consumers to bring their own containers and bags for takeaway orders to reduce plastic waste. A small green step for us but a large step towards saving the world's depleting resources.

Corner House, Bangalore, began a 'Bring Your Own Bowl' initiative to cut down their plastic burden. Arogya Ahaara, a restaurant in Bangalore, encourages their customers to carry containers and bottles for takeaway orders. Zomato and Swiggy have an option that requests restaurants to not send cutlery.

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Farm to Fork


Prioritizing health and sustainability, conscious India is going organic.

Direct sourcing from farms and a rise in organic farming is indicative of the rising need to consume chemical-free food while conserving the planet. According to India Organic Food Market Outlook, $849.5 Million is the value of the Indian organic food market in 2020.

Zomato plans to introduce the ‘farm’ to ‘fork’ concept that works directly with producers, like farms or food producers. Zama Organics an organic food start-up sector of India is to sourcing things that are native to different climatic belts and geographies and bring them to a common platform.

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Foodie Chef


People are now turning into chefs as they break the culinary rules and add their own twists. 'Make your own' is the latest addition to menus where consumers are given the freedom to make their favourite meal their way by adding specific ingredients & customisations. It's heaven for picky eaters! Wok Express provides consumers the option to ‘MYOB’ make their own food bowls. It can be built from scratch from a variety of different options available. Subway let's its customers design their own sandwiches according to their taste and preferences. According to Restro App, 70% of customers expect customization.


Frozen Feast


‘Frozen’ is replacing ‘fresh’ as people prioritise the ability to eat what they want, when they want. With the rising popularity of fast food and people’s increasingly busy lives, fast food has now reached our freezers in the form of frozen food. According to National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency, India’s estimated to become Largest consumer of frozen food by 2030.

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Stag Bite


With the ability to now customize portions, people are no longer compromising on the size of their cravings. 'Meal for one' is the latest addition to menus that offers you the perfect

portion size for yourself, so that each person gets to eat whatever they want. It is simple, convenient and cost-effective. Menus available on Swiggy Pop – a 'Meal for 1' service. Box8 offers 'Mini Meals' perfectly curated to satisfy one person's hunger.

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Download the full report here.

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