Monday, July 1, 2013

the ten food products I would love to see in our Indian markets...

I advocate fresh produce, local and seasonal all the time and will keep doing that always. At the same time I have seen apple growers of Himachal struggling to sell the fresh apples at a good price and then trying to salvage the smaller or deformed apples by sun drying to a small extent. Most of their not so good looking apple crop rots in their own backyard. I have often wondered why they don't sundry their apples nicely or use other ways to dehydrate them. I know I am partial to good quality sun dried apples but these small scale apple growers could even make apple butter and sell it to the tourists. I see no reason why tourists wont buy these home made preserves and dried fruits. May be these people need a little push in making them learn natural preservation and market the produce in  better ways. Local and seasonal is great but any extra produce should reach better places rather than rotting in a backyard. We eat a lot of spices and condiments which is not grown in out backyard and a few jars of dehydrated fruits would be great to stock.

I attended an interactive session on Indian culinary ingredients and changing cooking techniques hosted by Dabur India at The Park, New Delhi. Among the speakers were Dr. B.L. Satyanarayana, food and dairy consultant and VP of association of food scientists and technologists, (Pune), Mr. T. Bhaskar Reddy Head of foods R&D, Dabur India Ltd and Mr. Praveen Jaipuriar, Category Head-food, Dabur India Ltd.

I asked the speakers why Himachal apples cannot be sun dried, packaged and marketed by companies like Dabur and why we can't get good quality coconut flour in India. These companies are doing good packaging and the quality of products is great. Although I would like the fruit juices by 'Real' to be sugar free. Some more fruit based beverages can be produced for sure. Why not a fruit smoothie will all the pulp intact. TetraPak can do it easily.

There are many more Indian produce I would like to see in processed form for the convenience in a modern kitchen. Here are a few I would like in my kitchen as well..


Canned tomatoes that are labeled for the variety of tomatoes it has : yes we grow so many varieties of tomatoes and yet we don't get to eat them. Not to mention so much fresh produce is wasted and the farmers don't get a good price.

Sun dried tomatoes : because if I can do that, the industry can do better. Sun dried tomatoes in the country with so much of dry summer sun is the most logical thing.

Tomato paste : how come we don't have it as yet? This should come in a squeeze friendly tube pack.

Apple butter : Just because so much of good quality apples are wasted and people are turning to margarine and such crap. Better to bring apple butter form kinnaur.

Sun dried apples : I told you I love these and in a country where we grow apples in just a few places but plenty of it and a lot of it is wasted. The smaller tart varieties would make such good sun dried apples.

Coconut flour : We grow more coconut than we make coconut oil perhaps or is it vice versa? We can definitely make some simple coconut flour for sure.

Tender coconut chips : Look at that picture above. Some small scale industry has made such sweet and flavorful tender coconut chips and it makes such a nice topping for desserts. Why not a company like Dabur doing it. I depend a lot on the coconut milk they provide us. I want coconut chips from them.

Plain grated coconut or fresh coconut paste : yes, if they can make such good quality coconut milk, and tamarind paste, why not some coconut paste for us. It would fly off the shelves instantly as most of us make chutneys at home almost 3 times a week.

Dehydrated fruits : Dabur is already producing so many fruit juices, why not a single variety of dehydrated fruit? We would love some pineapple, plums and good quality apricots for sure. Some custard apples, mango slices and why not guava or guava cheese of Goa? But I would like it from Indian growers around the country. I have seen very good dried apricot powder in Leh and wonder why it can't be dried hygienically and packaged nicely and come to mainstream market.

Fruit smoothies or purees : Pure fruit puree and no added sugar would be my choice. I know TetraPak can do it easily. Also, it would be great of the Real juices are without added sugar.

And now a request to my readers. Please add your list of whatever you want in your pantry. Made from Indian produce, something that can make your kitchen versatile and convenient both. It will help the farmers of the country as well.

Cheers..

12 comments:

  1. Well said Sangeeta..!!
    And I cant but agree with you on coconut flour..the ones we get are oh so..chemicalized if I can use that word(A check on the ingredients in the packs scare me !)Hope your voice is heard...it does matter..!
    Sunita Damodar

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  2. cant agree with you more Sangeeta. the dehydrated fruits are a delight for anytime snacking.

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  3. even I want sun dried tomatoes....i thought we already get them in India!!

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  4. Wow ! You introduced me to so many processed as also healthy foods which I never knew ! Moreover ,processing fresh produce would lead to less wastage & make sound economic sense. A win win situation for all !

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  5. (Crunchy) Peanut butter!
    Pineapple packed in their juice (instead of syrup)!
    Sour cherries - yes they grow them in Kashmir, but only for local/home consumption.
    Quince! :-)
    Frozen, grated coconut.

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    1. oh yes Anita. Quince is not even known to many people in the plains and sour cherries ..yes I want them as well.
      Pineapples tinned in their own juice is so easy to do, don't know why they don't do it till now. I want them too, esp since I am making a pineapple and peach jam today :-)
      And yes we need more nut butters not only peanut butter, crunchy or otherwise.
      Isn't it high time the industry knows what people want? We have been bombarded with products till now.. and then a 'need' is created through TV ads.

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  6. You are so right. Food industry is so poorly regulated and we hardly ask relevant questions.

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  7. Absolutely! It's a good idea to teach the apple growers preservation techniques. This would be a superb additional cottage industry for them. I'm not so sure about big players like Dabur getting involved. I like convenience foods but never use anything with preservatives. Natural sun drying, compoting, jam, sauce or squash making if done correctly does not require any additional chemicals.
    Great post :)

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    1. Yes Kalpana. The concern is to get those produce come to the mainstream markets, the big or small players can do their bit in making it possible. I feel if I can do good quality food preservation using natural ways, why not the big players when they have the sophisticated infrastructure.

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  8. Arre talk about packaged food....have you ever tried readymade cardmom powder , ginger , amchoor or garlic powders ? They all have such foul smell that I have no other option but to make my own homemade powders...little time consuming but atleast I know what I am putting in my family's mouth .

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  9. Better late than never! I think you've made a good {read very good point} ... and I think this is the right time too. It's still a niche market if you see. Whole foods, Fab India does stuff something close but at exorbitant prices. The Fab India sun dried tomatoes I bought were downright awful. Maybe other players will discover good quality and natural preservation soon.

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