Mahindra Gusto’s #GoGustoRides initiative sets social media abuzz

Mahindra Two Wheelers Ltd. (MTWL), part of the USD 16.5 billion Mahindra Group, recently conducted the experiential #GoGustoRides in Mumbai. #GoGustoRides is an initiative where passionate communities are brought together to explore the things they love, on the Mahindra Gusto. Leading food aficionados Amrita Rana, Kalyan Karmarkar and Vivek Bhatia initiated a digital campaign inviting passionate food lovers to join them for an exciting ride on the Mahindra Gusto. The riders got an opportunity to visit some of Mumbai’s most famous and iconic food joints.  The fun ride on the Mahindra Gusto had all the right ingredients: scrumptious food, fun-loving people, charming and soulful eateries and alluring Mumbai.

A lot of buzz was created online amongst ardent food lovers, bloggers, photographers and enthusiasts; all bound by one common passion – their love for exploring and discovering food. There have been over 7 million people reached on Twitter alone. The hash-tags trended twice on Twitter nationally.

Commenting on the occasion, Sarosh Shetty, Vice President – Marketing, Mahindra Two Wheelers said, “#GoGustoRides is an exciting initiative which brings together passionate communities and enables them to explore the things they love, on a Mahindra Gusto.  We are delighted with the overwhelming response the first edition has received, wherein millions of passionate food lovers engaged with the brand on social media. We intend to reach out to more cities and communities so that many more can experience the exciting opportunities that can be explored on the Gusto.”

For leading food blogger, Kalyan Karmakar, Mahindra Two Wheeler’s initiative has been one of the best experiences. Recounting the ride, Kalyan said, “I thank Mahindra Gusto for giving this opportunity to us to connect with millions of other food enthusiasts around the country. I was amazed at the number of people who are passionate about food exchanging views, suggestions, experiences about food and the Mahindra Gusto. It was a fun ride and I am definitely looking forward to the next edition of the #GoGustoRides, as am sure many others are.”


Two Indian Restaurants recognised in ‘World’s Top 100 Restaurants’ for the first time

According to the fourth annual poll of readers of Elite Traveler, a private jet lifestyle publication, Adaa at the Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, led by Head Chef Arun Sundararaj, was one of the seventeen new entries on the countdown, ranking at number 100 on this year’s list.

Delhi-based restaurant Indian Accent also made the ‘Ones to Watch’ list, a list of five restaurants to watch out for in the 2016 awards. India’s first entries into the awards reflect the continual development of haute cuisine in India.

In first place overall was Chicago’s Alinea, a progressive, molecular gastronomy-led restaurant which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Second place in the awards went to the Spanish restaurant El Celler de Can Roca.

This year the awards also saw Daniel Humm, Head Chef, Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad in New York, take the ‘Chef of the Year’ title ahead of Grant Achatz (Alinea and Next) and Heston Blumenthal (The Fat Duck and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal). ‘Young Chef of the Year’ was won by Eneko Atxa of Azurmendi in Spain, followed by Joshua Skenes of Saison and Sean Brock of Husk both based in the United States of America.


48 restaurants from India participate in Good France project

48 restaurants from India participated at the recently concluded Goût de France/ Good France project, an initiative launched by H E Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, in association with celebrated Chef Alain Ducasse, to celebrate French cuisine across various restaurants worldwide on March 19, 2015. The Goût de France/ Good France project was inspired by Auguste Escoffier, who launched the ‘Dîners d’Épicure’ (Epicurean Dinners) initiative – serving the same menu on the same day in several cities across the world – in 1912. Over 1300 restaurants from five continents participated at the Goût de France/ Good France project wherein dinners were served simultaneously at these participating restaurants.

Elaborating about the event, Yves Perrin, consul general, Consulate General of France in Mumbai stated, “The objective of this project was to pay homage to the essence of French cuisine and the value it integrates because in France, cuisine is an important part of its culture. 48 restaurants from India participated in this initiative.”

During this event, each chef offered a French-style menu at their restaurant with a traditional French aperitif, a cold starter, a hot starter, fish or shellfish, meat or poultry, a French cheese, a chocolate dessert, French wines and digestifs, while also highlighting their own culinary traditions and cultures. Some of the participating restaurants from India included – The Legacy Grill, The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata; 24/7, The Lalit Ashok Bangalore; Artisan, Sofitel Mumbai BKC Hotel; The Qube, The Leela Palace New Delhi; Le Cirque Signature, The Leela Palace Bangalore; among many.


India’s fast-food industry is becoming a major market

McDonald’s entered India in 1996, against the backdrop of a market that was hesitant to try fast food and was still dependent on the “tiffin” lunch boxes many lug to work.

Two decades later, things have changed. India’s fast-food industry is expected to double in size between 2013 and 2016, to $1.12 billion, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. And demographic trends mean it could become the next mega-market for international fast food players.

The country’s fast-food market today is only one tenth the size ofChina‘s, said Ajay Kaul, CEO of Jubilant FoodWorks, a company that grants franchises in India for Domino’s Pizza and Dunkin Donuts. But unlike China, which saw a decline in fast-food sales last year, India’s market is expected to grow, thanks to changing consumer preferences and the largest youth population on earth.

“I would think it’s a revolution waiting to happen,” Kaul said.

India’s population stands at 1.2 billion, but it has only a little over 2,700 chain fast food outlets, leaving most people unreached, according to Euromonitor International. Fast food has yet to broadly expand beyond the largest cities. India also has a new prime minister, Narendra Modi, who has been a vocal advocate of increased foreign direct investment.

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Food safety in India compromised due to use of antibiotics and pesticides

Contamination of food is a serious problem in India as use of antibiotics compromises food safety while junk food adds to the problem, a green body today said and advocated for a disease surveillance and alert system and better enforcement of food safety act.

Scientific evidence has shown that contamination of food is a serious issue in India as unchecked microbial activity, and the use of pesticides and antibiotics seriously compromise food safety… ‘Consumption of junk food and other chemically-laced food adds to the problem,’ the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) deputy director general Chandra Bhushan said while flagging the nation’s key concerns on World Health Day. Food safety is the theme of World Health Day this year.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), over two million people – 1.5 million of them children – die each year in the world due to diarrhoea from contaminated food and water. Out of the two million, nearly 700,000 die in South Asian countries alone. In 2013, about 10 percent of the deaths in India of children below 5 years were due to diarrhoea. ‘There is limited understanding of estimates of disease and deaths from all food-safety related issues. India also does not know the exact burden of all food-borne illnesses,’ said Bhushan. CSE researchers said that pesticide use and management in India is largely unregulated and food contaminated with pesticide residues is freely used by unsuspecting consumers.

‘Pesticides are linked to long-term health effects such as endocrine disruption, birth defects and cancer. Besides raw agriculture produce, pesticides have been found in packaged food products such as soft drinks, bottled water and in human tissues in India,’ CSE said. Observing that the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act should be strengthened, CSE noted that an effective monitoring mechanism is the ‘key’ to the success of Indian food safety regulatory framework while limited capacity of enforcement authorities should not be a hindrance and should be augmented. It also called for imposition of financial and legal penalties in order to ensure deterrence.

Advocating for setting up of a national level disease surveillance and public alert system, CSE said it is important to record all acute and long-term food-borne cases and their reasons, specifically other than microbiological such as such as pesticides. ‘Monitoring of antibiotic resistance trends in live animals, retail meat and humans would help tackle the antimicrobial resistance. A public alert system in case of outbreaks, food product recalls, chemical food poisoning would be important going forward,’ it said.It also called for strengthening of food testing laboratory infrastructure and skills as the existing facilities were inadequate, it also urged the government to set limits for chemicals or determinants of unsafe food need.

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Rise of Online Food Ordering Startups in India

“India is not simply emerging, it has emerged,” said US President Barack Obama. The entire startup ecosystem in India has changed tremendously over the past ten years. People now opt for the road not taken; they have shunned the conventional jobs by pursuing out of the box ideas as their career choices.

Off late, the trend of food startups and online grocery has been catching the spotlight. India seems to be having a growing appetite for such startups. While online grocery vertical is garnering its own share of ventures, food ordering and delivery is not far behind.

Also Read: Online Grocery: Why it’s a Great Opportunity? Why it’s Still Nascent?

The Funds Hungry

Over the past one year, there has been an exponential growth in the number of food startups. This area is garnering investors’ interest, so much so that the market size of food in India is expected to reach Rs. 42 lakh crore by 2020, reports BCG. Presently, the Indian food market is around Rs. 23 trillion.

The above table, names of those food startups have been mentioned which have caught investors’ attention lately. But then there are innumerous food startups functioning, which still haven’t grabbed the limelight.

While these are only the newbies in the online food delivery industry who have raised investments, off late, the already established ones have started carving out a bigger piece of the pie for themselves. It started with FoodPanda gobbling up its biggest rivals in the country, Tastykhana and JustEat. And now Zomato too ventured into food ordering and delivery services.

Additionally, in an interesting twist of events, businesses from different niche have also decided to experiment in this lucrative business. JustDial made its way into online food ordering service and cab aggregator Ola has entered this segment  with the launch of its food delivery service in 4 cities.

On talking to many startups functional in this area, we came to know about the challenges they faced during their journey, innovation plans, investment and future plans.

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Foodpanda raises $110 mn from Rocket Internet: Rohit Chadda says targetting 15,000 restaurants across India

On Thursday Foodpanda raised $110 million in a fresh round of fund raising from Rocket Internet and other investors. Since 2012, Foodpanda has raised over $200 million and plans to invest into product and technology. With the entry of Zomato and TinyOwl in the online foodordering space, Foodpanda wants to focus on providing the best customer service to its users. In an interview, Rohit Chadda, co-founder and managing director of Foodpanda, tells Neha Bothra about plans to tap potential in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, and increase restaurant partners from 12,000 to 15,000 in the next six months. Here are edited excerpts.

Q. Currently, what is the order rate at Foodpanda and what is the average value of each order?

We earn revenue from the commission we earn from restaurants on every successful order that we place. In terms of traffic, we get around 1,30,000 to 1,50,000 visitors each day. I can’t share how many of these convert into transactions. The average value of each order ranges between Rs 500 to Rs 550. This is higher on the mobile platform. Around 45-48% of our transactions come from our smartphone based application, and the transaction size on this platform is 20% higher than on the web.

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Mars International to invest Rs 1,000 crore to set up first plant in India

Mars International India, the wholly-owned arm of US-based chocolate maker Mars Inc, today said it will invest Rs 1,005 crore to set up its first manufacturing plant in Pune.

The company, which has been importing its chocolate brands ‘Snickers’ and ‘Galaxy’ till now, will manufacture these two brands at its Pune plant.

This investment is a significant step in deepening Mars International India’s presence and commitment to India. Mars Inc, the global leader in manufacturing chocolate, intends to invest Rs 1,005 crore (over $160 million) through its Pune plant, Mars said in a statement.

Commenting on the announcement, Mars International India General Manager MV Natarajan said: “This initiative reiterates our continued commitment to India. Chocolate industry in India is growing at nearly 20 per cent every year and we see this as a huge opportunity to expand our chocolate portfolio in the country in the coming years.”

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Zomato finally launching food ordering service for restaurants, but won’t take payments

Gurgaon-based Zomato Media Pvt Ltd, the company behind popular restaurant listing and review site, is launching online food ordering service for restaurants on its platform starting with Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore next week, according to a spokesperson of the company.

“We are hoping to start processing around 40,000 orders a day in the very near term. Given that over 400,000 people visit our India section every day, this shouldn’t be too hard to achieve,” said Deepinder Goyal, founder & CEO, Zomato.

“Through this we will charge restaurants a commission based on the rating of the outlets. Our revenues are likely to double in the next fiscal with this new stream of revenue model,” he added in an email to

Earlier, Goyal disclosed the plans to add food ordering to its site in an online forum.

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Long way to go for 24×7 pubs, restaurants in Mumbai

There is still a long way to go for the city’s restaurants and pubs in commercial, non-residential areas to remain open 24×7. Though police commissioner Rakesh Maria has agreed to the proposal, the law will have to take its own, long course, industry sources said on Sunday.

The proposal, police officials said, was to keep food outlets and pubs in some pockets open till 3.30am to boost tourism and business.

Of the 12,000 food-serving restaurants and nearly 2,500 liquor-serving pubs and bars in the city, Ahar office-bearers said, only 3-4% (300-500) are in core commercial areas, with no residential complexes around. But, according to Hotel & Restaurant Association (Western India ) office-bearers, 70-85% such establishments are away from core residential areas, though some housing complexes are in the vicinity.

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