It wasn’t long ago when I was sitting in Dunkin Donuts in a posh Gurgaon mall telling my friend that it wouldn’t be long before a similar international favorite, Krispy Kreme would enter the Indian market. And just yesterday while driving down a busy Bangalore road a sign on the wall left both me and my brother gobsmacked. “Krispy Kreme now open on Church Street, Bangalore,” read the sign. Without wasting any time we turned the car around to find the donuts that we left behind as kids from when we lived in the UK.
On reaching there we were more than pleasantly surprised. Unlike the tiny donut outlets accompanied by a donut production unit on display in the UK, this was a full fledged café. We ordered what we wanted and grabbed a table. I know that eves dropping is indeed a bad habit but just for once I decided to make an exception. From one side I heard a girl from Dubai telling her friends the donuts she used to eat there and what they should try, on the other side there was an American taking his Indian colleagues up to the production unit explaining to them how the mechanism works. Every conversation made me smile as I could absolutely relate to the excitement. There in that café I saw an amalgamation of so many cultures eagerly attempting to blend with one another.
The growth of international food chains in India is not hidden from anyone but its cultural implications probably are. What began with Mc Donalds in the 90s has renowned names such as Subway, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Starbucks, Nando’s and Chili’s plus many more added to the list now. This is quintessentially the globalization of cuisines. The coming in of international food chains from the west has had a major impact on the lives of people, who in the hustle bustle of their daily routines were anticipating ‘food on the go’.
All these food chains have been successful in catering to the Indian palette by adding flavours and categories that are familiar and acceptable. Mc Donalds for example known for its beef burgers all over the world eliminated the ingredient entirely from its menu and came up with Indian alternatives such as the Aloo Tikki burger. KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) which has an all non vegetarian menu the world around had to introduce an elaborate vegetarian range for surviving in the Indian market. Subway’s Aloo Pattie, Paneer Tikka and Veg Shammi subs are other examples.
Most of these food chains came to India through partnerships with already existing business tycoons, such as Starbuck’s collaboration with the Tatas and Dunkin Donuts and Dominos Pizza coming under the Jubilant Foodworks umbrella. This gives them a base and further insight into the Indian consumer market increasing chances of their success and acceptance.
Starbucks enters the New Delhi Market
(video credit – Channel News Asia)
Jubilant Foodworks Ceo on Dunkin Donuts in India
(video credit – Live Mint)
The world is shrinking in size and food is an important factor contributing to this shrinkage. We meet new people experience new cuisines and subsequently develop new tastes. In the UK for example the most popular dish is “Chicken Tikka Masala” a dish of Indian origin. Subsequently burgers and pizzas have gained a widespread popularity in India. From gelato to donuts even our sweet tooth is molding towards the west.
Although this intrusion into the Indian food market is proving to be a good one bringing in an integrative function, there still lingers a fear of the loss of ethnicity in cuisine. Will our later generations grow up to forget our traditional cuisines or will they accept both new and old alongside one another? For now, the question remains unanswered.