The long lockdown welcomed several trends in the Indian economy, touching every area of life, right from work life to travel, food and entertainment. Artisanal Foods have glided itself successfully into the Indian food scenario during these days. Artisanal food encompasses breads, cheeses, fruit preserves, cured meats, beverages, oils, and vinegars that are made by hand using traditional methods.
Shruti Jain, co-founder, Kaze Living, a curated online marketplace for organic, artisanal products explains, “Post lockdown, customers wanted to purchase products that were healthy yet indulgent. At the same time, they wanted to buy from brands they could trust, from someone who had handcrafted the product with love, like your nani or mother—a friendly face they could associate with the brand.”
Many artisanal food providers have stemmed up in various food categories such as ice creams, chocolates, pasta, bread, cheese and more. Here are some such Indian artisanal food brands that are glowing due to their innovative and organic food offerings:
Paul and Mike-farmers and fermenters – The company offers the quality of a Latin-American fine chocolate for the price of a Lindt (Rs. 250-350/US$ 3.45- 4.82 for a chocolate bar) by bringing the philosophy of winemaking to chocolate making. Vikas Temani, Business Head at the brand explains, “Our USP is that we control the cocoa bean quality right from the cocoa tree through harvesting, fermentation, roasting and all the way to the final bar of chocolate. Our brand identity and personality reflect the artisanal and Indian soul of our brand. We use exotic Indian fruits such as sitaphal, jamun and goldenberry in our chocolates. We also collaborate with other Indian new-age F&B brands to create unique chocolates such as wine chocolate with Sula, stout beer chocolate with Simba and matcha chocolate with Tea Trunk.”
Blue Tokai - This is one of the most popular artisanal coffee brands in India. They have multiple cafes in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Kolkata, and Noida. Blue Tokai sources their coffee beans from estates across India and each comes with its own unique notes. Their seasonal coffee sourced from Orchadale Estate (Shevaroy Hills in Tamil Nadu) has notes of blackcurrant, apricot, and Jackfruit. One of their best seller coffees sourced from Attikan estate (Bilgiri Hills in Karnataka) has notes of dark chocolate, figs, and roasted almonds. They deliver across India. What sets Blue Tokai apart from other brands is their consistent initiatives to educate people about artisanal coffees, brewing methods, and equipment.
Mason & Co – This is one of the best artisanal chocolates in India and follows a bean-to-bar philosophy. The company works closely with farmers who cultivate cacao beans. Every single step along the way is executed by Mason & Co until the chocolate bar is made. The chocolate is made from beans grown in farms of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Every chocolate bar is handcrafted without adding preservatives and products. Mason & Co is founded by French couple Jane, a trained chocolate maker and raw food chef and Fabien, a sound engineer.
Mason & Co's best sellers are '55% Coconut Milk Dark Chocolate Bar', '65% Espresso Dark Chocolate Bar', '70% Black Sesame & Raisin Dark Chocolate Bar', '70% Chilli & Cinnamon Dark Chocolate Bar', and '70% Rosemary & Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar'.
Emoi – Emoi is an ice cream brand that launched in 2017. The company saw a multi-fold increase post Covid. Anant Verma, founder, Emoi chocolates states, “We see online retailing as one of the prime things driving the artisanal gelato market growth. Thinking outside the cone, we came up with ice cream in PET transparent Jars that are reusable. These were also introduced in a natural range with no artificial colour/ flavour.” Emoi’s growing product offering includes signature sticks in quirky shapes and fun flavours, like red velvet cake, double chocolate mousse and cold coffee. It even has vegan options like jamun sorbet and strawberry sorbet.
Jumana Natural - With the popularity of postbiotics, known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits in boosting the immune system, sourdough as a heath food category has become highly sought after. Jumana Electricwala uses freshly-milled flour at home and Himalayan pink salt in her baking. The bread goes through slow fermentation and results in an artisanal, rustic natural loaf that is gut-friendly and natural. Combining Scandinavian baking styles with unusual ingredients, such as black rice, beetroot, figs etc, she also makes sourdough chocolate cake, cookies, brownies and donuts, cooking and retailing from her home in Mumbai.
India still has very limited consumers when it comes to artisanal food; however, due to globalisation, urban Indians are getting conscious about their health and eating habits. The focus is moving toward a diet that is all natural, organic and wholesome. Thus, artisanal certainly has a better future.