Ready-to-cook meals in Hyderabad are making lives easier by saving time in procurement and preparation

Home-made made easy

author_img Rachel Dammala Published :  27th July 2022 06:11 PM   |   Published :   |  27th July 2022 06:11 PM
Representative image

Representative image

Imagine getting back home from a long day at work and craving some good homemade pasta or that perfect drink that’ll refresh you in an instant. But you now have no energy nor the expertise to prepare these from scratch and certainly can’t trust the nearest store with following your instructions to the T. Been there? In the day and age of survival of the fastest, making an elaborate meal from scratch is sure a task. But that shouldn’t mean people have to forgo their favourite food. Making this a possibility, several companies, individuals and brands have come up with the idea of ‘ready-to-cook’ or ‘shelf-meals’ that ensure you don’t have to spend hours marinating that chicken or wait for that dish to ferment or cool down.

One of the notable trends seen in recent times, thanks also to the pandemic, is the rise in home cooking, says Santhosh Stephen, managing director of Symega Food Ingredients Ltd, which has launched ‘culinary products’ to ensure faster cooking. “Consumers are seeking recipes that are tasty, healthy and authentic but also easy to prepare. This need-gap has led to a surge in retail/D2C food startups in the country, offering an extensive range of cooking sauces and pastes, dips, marinades, and other products that help prepare high-quality food at home instantly. With longstanding expertise in taste solutions, and a team of chefs and food technologists, we fill this market requirement quite well and fast,” he tells CE.

Working with these startups, the brand has developed a range of offerings, after multiple product evaluations and trials and matching the demand of the start-ups and their consumers with their manufacturing capabilities. They’ve been providing these products in retail-ready packs, leaving the start-ups to focus on sales and marketing while they take care of R&D, supply chain, manufacturing and quality assurance.

Acknowledging the long-term potential of this trend, many have invested in expanding their culinary production capabilities. Abhishek Chopra, co-founder of Tipsy Tiger, which has ventured into selling DIY cocktails, says, “We are focused on bringing the best cocktail experience at home or anywhere you might want to have a drink. Most people are looking for options that are ready-to-drink and don’t want to take the hassle of making drinks and risk creating a disaster. You can easily mix cocktail mixers with your choice of alcohol or have it as it is.”

Explaining why the idea is growing to be a hit, he says, “One key insight about millennials is that they like to express their ideas and thoughts, give shape to their dreams, and contribute/create/be part of the change. DIY product category offers exactly that as it gives them a sense of control and achievement, which is why brands are offering products that are designed as experiences, with a brand world that makes cocktails more fun and inclusive.”

Several other brands have been selling their ready-to-bake/fry items including ITC’s paranthas, and other home chefs selling drop-on-the-stove pasta, dips, gravies, snacks, chutneys, cooking pastes, marinades, dressings and spreads — they are not the regular kind you’d find in a supermarket. Such meals, experts say, have motivated even amateurs and beginners to take to healthier means of cooked meals, while enjoying the freedom to play around with their own style fearing no foolish mistakes or kitchen disasters!