"You know how Instagram works; Garima and I keep talking about it," says Sukriti Chopra, alluding to how she and Garima Bakshi started their passion project, Single Origin: a platform for regional and artisanal Indian products (primarily food and beverage, but there’s plenty more space on the brandwagon for other verticals) to showcase their wares.
The two 27-year-olds who run a social media marketing firm, Think Single Origin - while stuck indoors along with the rest of India during the lockdown - came across a bevy of domestic products from said country on the interwebs, and realised there’s a cornucopia of local artisanal products of excellent quality that fail to make a mark in the market because they fail to crack the algorithms that run social media platforms.
"A lot of us have the tendency to equate quality products with imported products, and don’t realise the absolute treasure trove of local, artisanal brands that can provide you ingredients of a standard comparable to foreign goods. It’s just that they get lost in all the clutter that clogs up Instagram feeds," says Chopra.
It was while she and Bakshi were on home chef mode during the lockdown, and searching for locally sourced and produced ingredients, sauces, and whatnot that they discovered what’s waiting out there.
They commenced to document culinary creations using those ingredients on a sister Instagram page, Single Origin Kitchen, along with the recipes and pictures of the finished dish. "We were amazed at the kind of response we got.
People were DMing us for recommendations on various products, and companies were getting in touch to send us test samples so that we could feature them. That’s when we decided to create a platform specifically aimed at pushing these amazing products, made in our own country," elaborates Chopra.
And that is what’s on the cards next for Single Origin. An online marketplace featuring Indian products, set to go live in the third week of September. Not to say that anybody can get featured on the site. "Either Garima or I test out each product we feature. Sometimes, if someone whose palate we trust recommends something, then we order it and try it out ourselves before getting in touch with the company to see if we can feature it," says Chopra.
Indeed, even before setting up on Instagram in late June, the two had already catalogued and tested out tranches of foods and drinks to pepper their pages with. "In fact, we found endless options in each category once we started looking," says Bakshi, noting how she and Chopra started consciously looking out in supermarkets and grocery stores for local artisanal goods, which were aplenty, even in categories previously confined to foreign conglomerates.
"When we are out shopping, we automatically pick the most representative brand of any product we want, and often that means the big foreign FMCG companies. But if you look out for them, the small Indian brands are out there too, and despite not getting their due, their products are much fresher, because they haven’t been brought here from far away, and can hold their own against the foreign competition," signs off Chopra.
In a nutshell
While Sukriti Chopra and Garima Bakshi were on home chef mode in the lockdown, they were amazed by the locally sourced and produced ingredients. They then documented culinary creations on a sister Instagram page, Single Origin Kitchen, with recipes and pictures of the finished dish.