It’s a question that’s been on the minds of many India-watchers as the country has undergone a wave of economic upheaval over the past few years, and a slew of cultural changes.
It was recently revealed that India’s ‘Food and Beverage Culture’ law has led to a reduction in the number of restaurants and cafes in the country, which means there’s a lot less room for locals to eat and drink, and that this trend will likely continue.
But the main cause behind the decline in food culture in the nation, and one that’s seen in the Indian market, is the lack of ‘foodies’ in the business.
This is in stark contrast to the US, where there are more people interested in food and drinks, and more food and drink outlets to choose from, than in the UK, where the number is much higher.
In fact, according to a report by the food marketing company Euromonitor, the US has one of the highest numbers of foodies in the world.
This in turn has resulted in the loss of jobs in the food industry, leading to the closure of a whole host of restaurants in the US and other countries.
So what does this have to do with India?
According to a study published by Euromonitors, there are several reasons for the trend.
In a study titled ‘India’s food culture is dying out: How it will affect food consumption and quality’, the organisation said that the country’s “food culture” was “largely the product of two forces: an ageing population and an ageing labour force.”
This has resulted, the report claims, in an “increasing number of older workers, particularly in retail, restaurant and restaurant service occupations.”
And while the report did not delve into the specific reasons for this, it noted that there was a “growing awareness that a food culture of mass consumption and convenience was in danger of dying out, with some companies turning to the market to sell food.”
The report also pointed out that the “lack of quality in India’s food was driving an increasing number of consumers to seek cheaper and healthier alternatives, leading many of these consumers to buy less locally grown food.”
But this is where the data gets interesting.
According to the Euromoncer study, India’s overall food consumption fell in 2016 by 4.3% from the previous year, but by 2019 it had already fallen by 10%.
That’s a decline of almost 9 million tonnes of food, and it’s a clear indication that the ‘foodie’ demographic is dying off.
According the study, food culture had a “disproportionate impact” on the quality of Indian food in the first half of the century, when it was largely due to the country having an older population, and was also a contributing factor to the food shortage in the region in the 1970s and 1980s.
As of 2016, India had only around 20 million people living in urban areas, whereas in the United States there are nearly 50 million people in the same area.
This means that the growth of the food culture industry was responsible for a huge drop in the quality and quantity of food consumed in the area, as well as a significant reduction in local food production.
It’s also worth noting that the food-based economy in India is now in a slow-developing stage, meaning there’s less demand for it, and as a result, prices will continue to fall in the near future.
In the meantime, the foodies are not going anywhere, and will continue being an important part of Indian culture.
There are, however, some signs that things are looking up for the foodie demographic, and the food trends are indeed improving.
As mentioned previously, there’s been a shift towards more local, locally-sourced food, such as local food in India and the UK.
The recent introduction of new varieties of fruit and vegetables, such a ‘local’ fruit, is also being lauded by the community as a sign of the country becoming more diverse.
There is also the introduction of micro-loaves of fresh fruits and vegetables to the Indian diet, which has been dubbed ‘The New Indian Diet’.
This has led the Indian government to announce that it will increase the amount of fruit allowed into food, to make it more nutritious.
In short, this has resulted a change in attitudes towards food in a number of ways.
But while the ‘discovery’ of food culture has been great for the Indian population, it’s also had an impact on the industry, and on the economy as a whole.
According of the Euromoney study, the number and quality of restaurants has declined by 6% over the last two years, as the population ages.
And although restaurants have not completely disappeared, there has been a significant drop in their size, with more and more restaurants opening in India.
This has been attributed to a combination of factors.
Firstly, because there are fewer jobs available in the industry due to a large population boom, and secondly,