Arpita Nag of Meraki Cheese makes artisanal cheese more accessible
Meraki Cheese is taking steady strides to make people switch from processed to artisanal cheese
The future of artisanal cheese in India is quite prospective and we plan to leverage on that by expanding our business presence beyond the city limits,” Arpita Nag of Meraki Cheese avers as we ask her about artisanal cheese and its future in the city. Nag has been creating awareness about artisanal cheese and making people switch from the processed version, for quite some time now; and those who have ordered from her swear by her halloumi, valençay and gouda. The pandemic, that made people conscious about their way of life, has been a boon for Arpita and her brand and she talks to us about working with cattle farms across the country to turn them into self-sufficient cheese-making units.
Tell us about the highs and lows of the journey, so far?
The high point has to be the love and support that I have been lucky enough to receive from my customers. The low point, like other food ventures, was, of course, the pandemic and its effects on the business’ functioning.
Since you deal in artisanal cheese, has the appreciation and demand for it increased in the city?
Yes, it has and the pandemic has been a boon in disguise to a certain extent, in changing people’s perceptions and mindset. We have become more conscious of our lifestyle choices and food is the most crucial part of that. The appreciation for locally sourced and handcrafted products has gone up since ‘vocal for local’ days. Also, the urge to eat healthier has also prompted people to make that conscious switch from processed cheese to more sustainable and healthier options. A lot more people are eager to know about artisanal cheese, not only for consumption but also for the purpose of gaining knowledge.
How much have you been able to use social media for your business?
We are most active on Instagram and it is a great marketing tool for visibility as well for conversion into sales.
Last time we spoke, you wanted to have your own free-range farm?
That is still very much on my radar and will take some time to materialise. Currently, I’m looking at working with cattle farms in the state as well as across the country, by providing training and support to help turn these farms into selfsufficient cheese making units. These experiences in turn will help in my future free-range cattle rearing and farmstead cheese making enterprise.
Any new varieties of cheese on the anvil?
We are currently working on some surface-ripened varieties and very soon hope to bring a camembert style cheese to our customers.