-CB News Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ernakulam – Thanks to the health awareness campaigns and the food safety measures taken up by the state government, snack manufacturers across the state are now investing more on clean and more diversified products with packaging and quality as their main preference.
Post Covid, snack manufacturers are of the view that customers are more concerned about the ingredients, meanwhile not willing to compromising over the taste aspect of the snack. The trend has been more evident in the past one year with customers reaching out to the call centres to check on the ingredients such as the vegetable oil, gram flour, iodised salt that is added in the product.
A number of newly launched stores has gained popularity thanks to their cleverly curated blend of packed and freshly made food. Besides the ubiquitous banana chips, there are other snacks such as sweet churuttus,
jackfruit chips and mixture, all priced between ₹40 to ₹80 that are being loved by youngsters and elderly. “One notable change that is witnessed recently is the awareness among the public, especially the youngsters who unlike earlier days don’t just purchase the snacks and leave home, but dials up the customer care and check on the contents used in the snack they have purchased. In my store there has been number of such calls we received on the ingredients and the content of the snack”, Biju Prem Shankar, Chief Operating Officer, ‘Chipo Sweets’.
He added that the sales of snacks such as banana chips and potato chips is increased to up to 15 to 20 percent on a monthly basis. Interestingly, north Indian snacks and sweets are having more takers in the last few months. Sweet snacks such as ‘Rasamalai’, ‘Rasagulla’, ‘Rashbara’ are sold in large numbers in outlets such as ‘Bikash babu sweets’ that has 15 outlets across Kerala.
“Since our snack items are prepared in pure ghee with zero preservatives added, there is a large demand for our signature items such as ‘chole battura’, rasamalai and rasagulla. Post Covid there is a huge tendency among people to order snacks which are prepared afresh and also not willing to compromise on quality.”, said Amit Sarkar, owner of Bikash Babu sweets in Kochi. Kerala well known for its indigenous snack shops and ‘chayakkadas’ (Tea shops) have always been a good investment for snack manufacturers. Banana fry, ‘sukhiyan’, ‘Unnakkaya’ (the spindle-shaped sweet from the North kerala) are the most common snack items Malayalis favour for their evening tea-time. These snack items are adored and consumed by the public more than the packed snack items. At the same time, there is a large section of traditional sweet-shop owners who are of the view that the buying patterns and choice of customers have changed drastically off-late as health benefits and issues have become a matter of concern. Many families in south Kerala have limited the quantity of orders when it comes to family functions such as engagement and birthdays.
“Earlier we used to get orders of at-least 1000 to 2000 laddoos and Gulab Jamun for a function. Forget marriages and engagements, even for small functions the quantity of the orders has come down by 30 to 40 percent. One reason is that post Covid people have become more health conscious and concerned about the consumption of sweets and ghee-mixed snacks. The quantity orders have also come down due to financial constraints post Covid”, said Thankaraj, owner of ‘Athisegam’ sweet shop, Aryashala, Thiruvananthapuram.
At the same time, the adoration and love for sandwiches, puffs, cutlets seem to be never ending for the youngsters in central and north Kerala – thanks to the variety of new cutlets and sandwiches mostly prepared in-house and with new varieties, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. “Earlier cream cakes and pastries had a lot of demand and customers used to order in large quantities. While college students earlier were hitched towards such sweets for college parties, nowadays snacks like puffs, samosas, cutlets are largely preferred for all functions. Since we have come up with home made items that can cater to their choices many prefer such snacks. As far as chips and other snacks are concerned it has been the same demand as earlier even now”, said Stephen, owner of ‘ Sweet Parlour Bakery’, a chain of outlet in Thrissur.