Breaking Fast in Post-Modern India

The role of breakfast in our daily routine cannot be overstated. It is perhaps the most important of all meals; a hearty breakfast can greatly facilitate to give a good and cheerful start to the day. However, nowadays many in urban India have busy lifestyles, due to both husband and wife working across nuclear families; due to long working and commuting hours, etc. This gives them very less time to cook elaborate breakfast arrangements. 

Influencing Trends 

Moreover, as the economy is growing, we see that lots of students, expats and single working professionals are coming to metros and other big cities of the country, in search of their career and aspirations. Many among them do not have the time or the skill or both to cook an elaborate and tasty breakfast. 

At the same time, owing to the spread of television, Internet and a spate of lifestyle diseases, people in urban India these days have become more health conscious on an average; they do exercise, go to gym, and prefer to eat healthy, they prefer food which have less calories and more fibre. With the health consciousness and beauty consciousness being at an all time high in our society, there is a growing need not only for sumptuous breakfast but also for healthy breakfast options. 

Then there is a considerable proportion of upwardly mobile young crowd in India, who, thanks to the growing impact of Internet, overseas travel, and television, have developed a global taste for food & beverages. 

Young executives working in professional organisations who are staying alone in big cities of post-modern India are one of the key market segments for the manufacturers of breakfast market in India. 

Particularly, the young brigade of India is eager to try new food products, far away from traditional heavy and oily food. Their experimental nature and growing health consciousness are probably contributing towards the mushrooming of several sleek cafes across urban India; cafes which are also serving up as breakfast outlets. 

Many among these upwardly mobile young professionals and students prefer to have quick and healthy breakfast that meets their desire for taste, convenience and price. They often go to cafés to have quick but healthy bites, supplemented by coffee or tea and fresh fruits or juice. 

All these happenings in the socio-economic sphere of urban India during the last decade or so have paved the way for new breakfast trends. People are looking for breakfast options which are healthy, tasty, fast to prepare or still better, ready-to-eat, and are convenient to have on the go. Breakfast options which cater to any of the above parameters are expected to be a success, and breakfast options which satisfy all these four parameters are sure to be a success, in India’s growing breakfast market. 

The new-age breakfast trends are reflected in the replacement of aloo paratha with dollops of butter, and of chole bhatura from our breakfast tables with wholegrain breads, idlis, sandwiches, healthy cereals and fruit juices. The healthy breakfast trend has already begun to gather momentum in urban India…

“Breakfast is considered as one of the most important meals. And breakfast has become or is becoming an essential part of coffee shops in urban India. At our resort, guests are generally on holiday, and as such they dine at leisure. But spending good amount of time in breakfast does not mean they are eating heavy. People are now increasingly getting health conscious and are seeking filling food but are strictly avoiding oily stuff,” elaborated  Tanya Agrawal, Director, Shri Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort & Spa, Govardhan, Mathura.

“Traditional north Indian food like parantha and puri are not being consumed as much these days, in Indian breakfasts, as it used to be in the earlier times. Nowadays we are seeing more and more people in India consuming raw fruits, juices, skimmed milk, sprouts, muesli and cornflakes in breakfast. Also breakfasting crowd in restaurants often ask for nuts, yoghurt and honey. Request for normal tea has gone down and people are seen ordering green tea and coffee without milk in breakfasts in our resort,” explained Tanya further.  

Breakfast Cafes? 

At present, India’s breakfast market in the realm of food service industry is dominated by street vendors and small South Indian restaurants. However, India has seen the emergence of sleek outlets which are acting as specialised breakfast providers that cater to office-goers who increasingly are having little time to make and have a sit down breakfast at home. 

With this change in the consumer preferences among the consumers in India, which is more prominent in metros, in other tier-I cities, and also in tier-II cities of India, many restaurants in the country nowadays are not only offering breakfast menu, but some of them are also bringing in innovations in their breakfast menus almost every alternate day.

If the above-mentioned socio-economic trends continue to gather momentum, which they are expected to do, we can also expect to see some dedicated or specialised sleek outlets in India in the near future, which would serve only breakfasts.  

The Promising Market of Breakfast Cereals 

The breakfast market in India’s food service industry is likely to grow as consumers are already seen demanding greater choice and convenience in their breakfast options. Many multinational players and as well as large domestic food companies are competing for a share of the fast evolving breakfast category in India’s food retail industry, which includes oats, cornflakes, muesli, idli, dalia and upma among others.

No wonder, amidst all these, the breakfast cereals market in India looks promising. According to ‘India Breakfast Cereal Market Outlook, 2022’, “India’s breakfast cereal market is growing with more than 17 percent CAGR from the past five years.” The report was published in November 2016. 

According to Euromonitor International, India’s breakfast cereal market is forecast to enhance to Rs. 2,610 crore by 2020 from Rs. 1,440 crore in 2015. “The popularity of oats has risen among Indian consumers and has now evolved to the level of traditional flavours such as masala and vegetable. Sweet-flavoured breakfast cereals, eg chocolate, strawberry and honey, are enjoyed by all age groups; however, savoury flavours are popular among teenagers and older consumers,” pointed out Euromonitor International in its report titled Breakfast Cereals in India, which was published in December 2017.

The breakfast cereals market can be broadly divided into two categories viz. hot cereals and ready-to-eat (RTE) cereals. “Hot cereals include products like oats, oat bran, wheat bran and porridge whereas ready-to-eat (RTE) cold cereals include cornflakes, wheat flakes, choco flakes, muesli, etc.,” observed the report titled India Breakfast Cereal Market Outlook, 2022.

There are a range of brands in India’s breakfast cereals market appealing separately to kids and adults. 

According to the above-mentioned report by Euromonitor International, “Kellogg’s India retained the lead in breakfast cereals in 2017, holding a 56 percent value share. The company has products available in all categories of breakfast cereals and it launches new products every year. Having had a presence in India for many years, the company has a good brand-recall level and has established a good distribution network, with its products being available across the nation.” 

Besides Kellogg’s India, PepsiCo India and Bagrry’s, are among the other important players in the organised breakfast cereals market in the country.  In the recent past, Nestle India introduced its breakfast cereal brand, NesPlus in to the Indian market. According to Nestle India’s website, NesPlus is enriched with the goodness of four nutritious grains — wheat, jowar, oats and rice, Vitamin D, calcium and B-vitamins.

Baked Options

Besides breakfast cereals like cornflakes, oats and muesli, there are other products which have great potential to become very popular in India’s breakfast market, in the near future. In this regard, our bakery and confectionery industry is playing a crucial role.

The potential towards the growth in popularity of sandwich is also quite high in urban India, where lifestyle changes have caused much time crunch, thus necessitating the need for quick, affordable and nutritious meal without much hassles, among huge multitudes of our urban population. 

Egg sandwiches and sandwiches with meat alternatives are also favourites, as they contain protein. One of the advantages of sandwiches with lots of fillings is that they can satiate hunger without taking much of your time. They can easily be a great breakfast option in a busy morning. 

Going by the trend, we can see that more and more healthy sandwich options are expected to find prominence in India’s fast evolving breakfast market of the near future.  Lately breakfast in India is also having the inclusion of waffles and pancakes on tables.

In fact, few things compare to starting your day with a warm crispy waffle, doused in maple syrup and butter. And if it is supplemented by pancakes it is still better. For those who haven’t got much of an idea of what a waffle looks like, one may clarify that usually waffles are square in shape and are made in a particular manner. For the uninitiated it may be mentioned that a waffle is a leavened batter or dough cooked between two plates, patterned to give a characteristic size, shape and surface impression. There are many variations of waffles based on the type of waffle iron     and recipe used.

Very Indian and Healthy  

However, along with these global products, more and more restaurants can also include healthy Indian food like vegetable dalia, appam, poha, idli in their offerings to attract the growing numbers of breakfast crowd in India, who are health conscious, taste conscious and are also time conscious at the same time.

One can get a feel that there is a sizeable market for sleek breakfast cafes serving idli, dosa, appam and other healthy south Indian delicacies with coffee, tea and other hot beverages. These cafes can give many of the busy office goers and students a tasty and refreshing start to the morning. Enterprising food service players can easily absorb this market demand into lucrative profits.

The market is also ripe for more players to invade the India’s retail breakfast market with idli, dosa, and upma mix in ready-to-cook form.              

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