BENGALURU: In a ‘busy’ era, convenient eating – non-messy, quick and ready-to-eat – is what Bengalureans are looking for. Despite being tagged ‘unhealthy’, food companies claim that consumers are slowly warming up to the idea of frozen food. “It can be healthy if prepared using nutritious ingredients, packed hygienically, and stored at the right temperature. Although freshly-cooked food is ideal, frozen foods are convenient in today’s fast-paced lives,” says nutritionist Sheela Krishnaswamy.
Biryani and pizzas top the list of go-to frozen foods in the Indian frozen segment, according to Mithun Appaiah, CEO, Sumeru.
“Our research shows that demand is not just for snacks but also mainline products. Our chicken and vegetarian momos are popular choices since they come in a microwaveable tray,” he says, adding that newly-introduced products include chicken, egg and paneer rolls.
Despite frozen food posing its own challenges – inadequate cold chain, infrastructure and transport facilities – many brands are now concentrating on preserving nutrients in frozen foods. “Frozen foods which are available in the market and are certified by the government do not pose serious health issues ,” says Nuthun Prasad, chef at Brew and Barbeque.
Grab and go
Similar to frozen food, the ready-to-eat segment is also picking up pace for its healthy constituents and nutritionally well-balanced ingredients. Kalchi was the brainchild of Payal Srivastava, a working professional and mother of two, whose daily dilemma was fixing the kids’ lunch boxes. Her company offers curry spreads, including Malabar Paneer, Makhani Paneer, Shahi Paneer, Daal Makhani, Kadai Chicken, Chettinad Chicken. But it’s the Kadhai Chicken Curry Spread, Tikka Masala Dip and Chilli Garlic Dip that are the fastest moving.
“The idea is to ensure that the items don’t just taste good but are also nutritionally balanced. For instance, our Curry Spread can be used with any form of carb, be it bread, roti, oats or rice. They are healthy and quick-meal options for the family,” she says, adding that the shelf-life of their products is 45 days.