“Eat to live” they say but most people “live to eat” and the gastronomic delights that have evolved over time are some of the reasons why this is so. Food of a certain type is consumed by people of different faiths and belonging to different regions. Catering to these specific needs has indeed become a source of livelihood for many.
In India, a land of many festivals and faith food is an intrinsic part of the socio-cultural fabric that unites people of certain faiths and divides them from others. I am sure food in its distinct forms does this all over the world.
Some instances that I have come across that I feel offer food for thought and business are…
Vegetarianism is a way of life for many people because their faith prescribes it and for many others because it is a lifestyle choice they have made. Whatever be the reason vegan food has thrown up business opportunities galore and I have seen the swankiest bakeries dish out eggless cakes (even black forest), biscuits, cupcakes and what not because there is a niche clientele that demands it and they have to meet the demand.
I was reading an article about Indians traveling to Europe where vegetarian food isn’t really a way of life and that is probably why enterprising people have gone about creating empires built on vegan food all over the globe.
The vegan food market just became even more niche with “green” food. That means no milk, no curds…in fact no dairy products. This is why innovative entrepreneurs are catering to this market by serving up cheesecake minus the cheese, adding tofu instead of cottage cheese and peanut or almond milk instead of cow’s milk.
Food has now become a green business opportunity that one must cash in on!
Conforming to religious diktats
Certain faiths prescribe strict standards as far as food goes and here are some areas in which I have seen business opportunities or ventures emerge, grow and endure:
The Jain community in India eats food prepared without eggs, meat, onion and garlic. This has led to the development of Jain bakeries where all sorts of baked delights are prepared in eggless forms; there are Jain food caterers and Jain food restaurants.
Halal food for Muslims
Eating Halal food is prescribed for a person who follows the Muslim faith and that is why restaurants that serve halal food are popular with people of the community. I recently came across an interesting blog myhalalkitchen.com, the brainchild of Yvonne Maffei, M.A., is a food writer, recipe developer, cooking instructor, and the Editor of My Halal Kitchen. This is a halal food and cooking blog which is a treasure trove of culinary tips and healthy halal recipes.
The mission of My Halal Kitchen is to provide home cooks with ideas, tips, resources and the gateway to supplies to prepare halal meals, including those with the necessary substitutions to make every dish halal. It aims to make the lives of readers better by expanding the list of available recipes that are healthy, delicious, economical and halal.
Kosher for Jews
Recently I came across an article in the Sunday Mid-Day which shed light on one of India’s best kept secrets…a Kosher bakery in Mumbai.
Kosher is not a style of cooking; in fact Kosher foods are those that conform to the regulations of the Jewish Halakhic calendar law framework. According to this there are three basic divisions of foods: milk and milk products, meat products and the rest (referred to as Pavre).
Meat cannot be eaten alongside milk – if you’ve consumed meat, there must be a gap of six hours before you take milk. It is forbidden to consume blood of animals – they need to be slaughtered through an elaborate practice called Shechita, only then is it deemed fit for food. Kosher forbids the consumption of insects, additives like coloring, artificial flavors.
Kashruth is the term given to the practice of following Kosher. Jews follow 613 obligations, of which Kosher is one.
So you see how dishing out foodstuffs that cater to a specific faith could turn in to a profitable venture?
Coming up…festivities and business opportunities!