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Food delivery apps driving rise of ‘dark’ kitchens in India

14,November, 2020 Comments off
 

The growing popularity of food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato has led to a surge of such kitchens in India, which are also called “virtual” or “cloud” kitchens by some

First things first. Food in the so called "dark" kitchens are not cooked with the lights switched off. They are called so primarily because of their delivery-only model.

The growing popularity of food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato has led to a surge of such kitchens in India, which are also called "virtual" or "cloud" kitchens by some.

Some prefer to call them "ghost" kitchens as in many cases, you may not even know that they exist.

Did you know that popular eateries like Haldiram’s, Chaayos, Keventers, Saravana Bhavan and Vasudev Adigas, to name only a few, have set up cloud kitchens in partnership with Zomato?

They have. And that is the reason why you get to order food from these eateries even in areas near where their restaurants may not exist.

"We started this model in March 2018, when we realised that while a lot of budding entrepreneurs are setting up new restaurants and cloud kitchens, the pace of setting up new kitchen infrastructure has been lagging behind the demand for them," Mohit Sardana, Chief Operating Officer, Food Delivery, at Zomato told IANS.

"We wanted to accelerate the process of investment in kitchen infrastructure in areas facing a supply deficit and therefore, created the Zomato Kitchens model. Today, we are present in 50+ cities with 700+ kitchens that are already operational," Sardana added.

One factor that has worked in favour of the food delivery platforms is the data they have about consumers’ preferences. Analysing these data allow them to gauge the nature of the demand of food a particular area generates.

Armed with these data, the food aggregators can confidently approach a restaurant business for cloud kitchen partnerships in new areas that are likely to generate handsome profits for both parties, according to people familiar with the way these partnerships tend to forge.

Swiggy launched its cloud kitchen initiative "Swiggy Access" in 2018 and since then it has created over 1,000 kitchens for its restaurant partners.

Through "Access", restaurant partners can test new markets and expand intra and intercity, with no rent or deposit charged for the premises/infrastructure, Swiggy said.

Swiggy shares valuable insights not only regarding existing customer preferences, but also on unmet food choices with partner restaurants, thereby helping them fulfil the demand-supply gaps.

Restaurant partners are also able to leverage Swiggy’s insights to improve their food quality through consistent customer feedback and optimise their kitchens for factors like stock planning, demand forecasting, preparation time and order edits.

Swiggy said that it is committed to working with the restaurant partner community to bring in the necessary confidence and control to ensure there is no compromise in the safety of food.

The food delivery platform added that it mandates all restaurants and cloud kitchens operating on the platform to possess a valid Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) licence and additionally conducts hygiene audits across the restaurant partner network with credible third-party audit firms.

Zomato said that one of the biggest advantages of virtual kitchens is the relatively low investment and business risk.

If you look at our model, we ensure the restaurateur is supported well enough to focus on what he does best — food — instead of being weighed down by compliances and high rentals, among other necessities. That too, with minimum investment. We also draft a customised growth plan with aggressive marketing support, which is unique to their business proposition," Sardana said.

"These are delivery only dark kitchens and are not usually set up on high streets. However, there will be a few locations which are on high footfall areas and can be easily spotted. On the app, all kitchen restaurants appear in the same manner to a user as any other delivery only outlet on our platform," he added.

Zomato said that it has set for itself "high safety and hygiene standards".

"We have invested time and energy in durable engineering to make sure that we deliver quality kitchens for our partners to use and expand into new markets, wherein with our support on compliances, they do not see the basics as a hindrance when opening up a new facility," Sardana said.

Categories: NEWS

Worried about hygiene of prasad at temples, UP govt launches operation BHOG

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The government officials say the project has no interest in interfering in Temple management, it only seeks to train prasad makers and vendors to practice hygiene.

To ensure that devotees get hygienically prepared, healthy and safe Prasad at langars, bhandaras and bhogs at places of worship, Uttar Pradesh food safety and drug administration (FSDA) has launched the ‘blissful hygienic offering to god’ (BHOG) project in the capital city of Lucknow.

“Religious places are an integral part of the Indian society and the food served at these places is considered pure. But one has to also take care of safety. The FSDA wants all religious places to maintain hygiene while preparing prasad. That is why vendors selling prasad outside temples will be trained to prepare it hygienically,” said Shailendra Kumar Singh, designated officer FSDA, Lucknow.

He said that in the first phase, four temples- Hanuman Setu, Aliganj Hanuman temple, Mankamneshwar temple and Gulacheen temple in Aliganj– and one Gurudwara at Ashiana have been selected for the training of prasad and bhog vendors as per food safety regulations.

“Our aim is to create awareness about best practices right from purchasing raw material to serving the food. We just want them to follow some simple things. For instance, cooks who prepare ladoos would be expected to wear gloves, aprons or caps, clean the utensils daily and use quality food material,” Singh said.

The FSDA will also certify the prasad prepared by the shops in front of these temples. The quality report would be shared with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and those not following the norms will face action.

“The project was conceived in 2015 when Sanjeev Patil, the CEO of Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai, Maharashtra found that foreign pilgrims were sceptical about the hygiene of the prasad and refused to eat it. The first pilot project was started at Siddhivinayak temple,” Singh added.

Singh made it clear that the project doesn’t aim to interfere in the daily work of temples. However, it would train prasad vendors and handlers and carry out routine inspection of temple kitchens.

“FSDA would be doing routine inspection of temple kitchens. However, some temples are sceptical about the whole concept of inspection but we can assure everyone that the department will only guide them for safe food practices and not interfere in their daily activities,” he said.

However, a temple office-bearer said on condition of anonymity, “Temples already take care of hygiene whenever the bhandaras are organised. While we haven’t got anything against the initiative, at the same time, it should be ensured that the food safety department cannot dictate terms to temples over the preparation of bhog.”

Categories: NEWS

Pan-India Khoya survey after sample failures in Delhi: Food regulator

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Khoya mawais is widely used in preparing most sweets

New Delhi, October 22

Ahead of the festive season, apex food regulator has launched a pan India quality survey of Khoya, an essential ingredient of all India sweets.

Khoya or mawais is widely used in preparing most sweets.

The survey follows a recent representation to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India by the Federation of Sweets and Namkeen manufacturers who said they were being supplied adulterated khoya.

A pilot survey in Delhi under the guidance of FSSAI recently showed sample failure of some Khoya samples which led to the FSSAI launch a national survey.

Samples were tested for acidity, maximum added starch, added sugar, urea, detergent and neutralizers.

“There was some sample failure which is why a decision was taken to launch an all India khoya survey,” CEO of FSSAI Arun Singhal said today.

Commissioners of Food Safety of all states and UTs have been asked to earmark khoya mandis in big cities and test samples.

So far 700 samples from 15 states have been collected and more are on the way.

“Test results are expected in a month. These will help identify key hot spots for adulteration of khoya in India and strengthen state efforts in devising targeted enforcement drives to ensure a supply of safe quality sweets to every Indian,” FSSAI said.

Categories: NEWS

Food safety dept gets 2,300 home biz requests

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For many, the lockdown was an opportunity to discover their entrepreneurial skills.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For many, the lockdown was an opportunity to discover their entrepreneurial skills. Homemakers, students and those who lost their jobs in the initial phases of the pandemic set up home-based food businesses. According to the officials of the Commissionerate of Food Safety, they received 2,300 applications from the capital city itself for starting home-based food and fresh fish businesses.

However, associations of other food business operators have raised a complaint with the Commissionerate urging them to take action against those who started the ventures without obtaining the mandatory licence or registration. Following this, the Commissionerate was flooded with applications for registration.Assistant food safety commissioner, Thiruvananthapuram, Alex K stressed that registration is mandatory for those running home-based food businesses.

“Fines are collected based on their volume of business. While we encourage young entrepreneurs to venture into the food business, action will be taken if we receive complaints,” said Alex. Food safety authorities will provide Food Safety Training and Certification to home-based chefs. The certificate will ensure the chefs maintain the food safety standards mandated by FSSAI(Food Safety and Standards Authority of India).

According to city-based home chef Najiya Irshad, the authorities should focus on creating awareness among those venturing into the food business. “A majority are unaware that a licence or registration is mandatory. Often there are negative campaigns on social media which affect home-based chefs. We should be more organised and the authorities should keep track of malpractices in the food industry,” she said.

Categories: NEWS

Packaged foods sales jump 50% as consumers seek safety

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Packaged food products have witnessed a spike in demand from the consumers due to the spread of pandemic, as a major shift of consumers from unbranded to branded products has helped lift up sales of savoury, sweets, snacks, noodles, cookies, ready-to-eat foods, protein rich foods, ready-to-cook and immunity boosting products.
Companies have witnessed over 30 to 50 per cent growth from the previous year and the reason experts say that people were looking for safe and packed food, untouched by hands during the pandemic times.  
Joshna Joseph, research and development manager, Soch Foods LLP, Mumbai, said, “Since restaurants were not operating, people also started making their favourite dishes at home during the lockdown and started relishing it. Hoarding of food materials have also led to the spike in the sale of convenience food as these products have longer shelf life. More number of start-ups are coming up and planning to create healthy and innovative products with longer shelf life. As far as Soch Foods is concerned, we are also moving towards producing healthier variants of our products. People in this pandemic time are more concerned about health and are more inclined towards healthy and convenient food.”
Divyani Madarkar, quality assurance executive, Candor foods Private Limited, Navi Mumbai, said, “This pandemic which is far from over, the importance of private label suppliers in the supply chain matrix is further heightened. Leaving the modern retail owners and ecommerce players to focus on the end-customer service/deliveries, the Private Label players have ensured product availability during restricted operation conditions.  During these pandemic times we at Candor Foods are making sure that we serve all our clients like Amazon, Foodhall, Spencers, Nature’s Basket, Grofers, Big Basket, Future Group, Spar etc with utmost care and meeting up with their requirements.”
She further added, “Food Operators have an added responsibility to ensure that the products are manufactured and packed in the most hygienic environment, the labour remains healthy and free from illness and state of the art measures are taken including automation for ensuring food safety.”
Dinesh Shah, Season Nutrifoods, Maharashtra, said, “The sale of packaged food is increasing these days as people are consuming more of Ready to Eat, Ready to Cook and immunity boosting products. Our company has seen a growth of 30 per cent after the lockdown period.”
Sreeparna Pal, product development associate, Wrigley India Private Limited, Bangalore, said, ”The waves of lockdowns, an upended world economy, and cravings have played a significant role in purchase decisions. People become more reliant on the food which is easily accessible from the market. Mars Wrigley is not only well known for its chewing gums section but Chocolate section also. In that point of view, sales of chocolate segments have been on the rise since March compared to the chewing segments.”
She further stated, ”Around 6.3 per cent increase in sales reported compared to last year. We are using a digital commerce platform as an innovative way to reach maximum consumers. Mars Wrigley, which sells brands like Galaxy, M&M’s and Snickers, online growth has been stronger in recent months by adopting strategies like selling smaller sized bags to meet increased demand for at home occasions.”

Categories: NEWS

Slurrp Farm launches ‘Zero TransFat Mithas’ campaign for Diwali

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Slurrp Farm, rolls out its Zero TransFat Mithas campaign on 14 November. This year, India celebrates Diwali, World Diabetes Day and Children’s Day, all on the day. Keeping that in mind, the brand urges people to adapt to a healthier and tastier lifestyle by eliminating TransFat from the festive binge. A brand founded with the intent of providing good nutrition, it aims to revive the use of super grains to create guilt free packaged products, encouraging healthy eating across age groups.
The campaign on Zero TransFats has been in focus by the FSSAI to help India grow into a healthier nation. As per the Union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan, Trans Fat is a contributing risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). According to a Lancet study, one in four deaths in India is due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Various Industry bodies like WHO, FSSAI, etc., are proposing to reduce the TransFats in food items by 2022.
Shauravi Malik and Meghana Narayan said, “Vanaspati made its way into our diet from the 1930s onwards because most Indians could barely afford the cost of ghee. Today, the reality is, we cannot afford its health effects. Particularly during these times of Covid-19, when our health is our last defense. Slurrp Farm’s products shun transfats (dalda, edible vegetable oils), hydrogenated fats, palm oil, and invert syrup or golden syrup and high fructose corn syrup, and have little or no maida. Through this campaign, we aim to bring back the delicious nostalgia of all things healthy and homemade.”

Categories: NEWS

Draft norms for multi-source veg oil, dehydrated veggies, atta, food grain

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The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a draft of regulations with respect to the standards of raw edible oil, multi-source edible vegetable oil, dehydrated vegetables, protein rich atta, multigrain atta, mixed millet flour, requirements for animal feed, dry sweet basil, hemp seed, use of food additives in iced tea, and microbiological standards for food grain.
The regulation is Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2020, and the stakeholders can comment on it by December last week.
The regulation proposes that the ‘blended vegetable oil be substituted with words ‘multi sourced edible vegetable oil’.
For regulations related to jam fruit jellies and marmalades, a new clause is proposed which says, “The total Soluble Solid content, in the case of jams shall not be less than 65 per cent, by weight and not less than 60 per cent by weight in case of jellies and marmalades. To be called a reduced sugar product, jam, jellies and marmalades must not have TSS more than 45%.”
For dehydrated vegetables the moisture is proposed not to be more than 8 per cent and 5 per cent for powdered vegetables. For protein-rich atta, the regulations say that total protein % by mass on a dry basis is proposed at 15 per cent.
The draft also includes regulations for multigrain atta standards. The multigrain atta should have flour composition obtained from maximum 50% of whole wheat and rest of the flour composition (singly or in composition), says the regulation while other permitted ingredients include processed soybean, cereals, pulses, millets, psyllium husk, gluten, wheat bran and fenugreek seeds.
The regulation prescribes that percentage of wheat flour (atta) in the product shall be declared on the label. The regulations also include standards for mixed millet flour.
Also, the regulations propose that milk and meat producing animals except poultry, pig and fish shall not be fed with feed containing meat or bone meal including internal organs, blood meal and tissues of bovine or porcine origin materials except milk and milk products.
Commercial feeds shall comply with the relevant BIS standards, as may be specified by the Food Authority from time to time, and carry BIS certification mark on the label of the product, reads the draft.

Categories: NEWS

FSSAI to allow speciality foods for IEM, hypoallergenics import till May 1

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The food regulator, FSSAI, has extended the approval for import of speciality foods for IEM (Inborn Errors of Metabolism) and hypoallergenic conditions. FSSAI has issued an order in this regard saying that in continuation to the direction issued previously in April this year, the import of such food products will be allowed for next six months that is till May 1, 2021.
The order stated, “It has been further decided to allow the import of food for special medical purpose i.e., food for Inborn Errors of Metabolism and hypoallergenic conditions, as listed (by the FSSAI) for a further period of six months from 02/11/2020 till 1/05/2021 or till their standards are notified whichever is earlier.”
However, the imports could only be done through two ports of Delhi and Mumbai, according to the order.
“For better control, the import of such products shall continue to be permitted through Delhi and Mumbai Ports only,” reads the order.
It is pertinent to mention here that speciality food for IEM is allowed to be imported in India since 2016 by the FSSAI.
There are conditions listed by the FSSAI of IEM including maple syrup urine disease, glutaric acidemia type 1, homocystinuria, isovaleric acidemia, methylmalonic acidemias, amino acid metabolic disorders, phenylketonuria, urea cycle disorders, tyrosinemia, galactosemia, 3-hydroxy long chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency, defects in the intraluminal hydrolysis of fat, disaccharidase deficiencies, nonketotic hyperglycinemia and glucose transport defect.
And the hypoallergenic conditions include severe allergy due to multiple food protein intolerance that cannot be effectively managed by the extensively hydrolysed formula and cow milk protein allergy.
According to an official with the FSSAI, the work on the standards is going on and it is expected to be completed within period of six months.

Categories: NEWS

பண்டிகைக் காலத்தைக் குறிவைத்து நடக்கும் பால் ரெய்டுகள்! – பின்னணி என்ன?

14,November, 2020 Comments off

சட்டவிரோத பால் பொருள்களை விற்பவர்களை பண்டிகைக் காலத்தில்தான் உணவுப் பாதுகாப்பு அதிகாரிகளால் பிடிக்க முடியும். எனவே, இந்த நேரத்து ரெய்டை நான் வரவேற்கிறேன்

தீபாவளி நேரத்தில் ஸ்வீட் விற்பனை ஜரூராக நடந்துவருகிறது. இந்தநேரத்தில், இந்தியா முழுவதும் பால் மற்றும் பால் சார்ந்த உணவுப் பொருள்களான பால்கோவா, சோன்பப்டி உள்ளிட்ட மில்க் ஸ்வீட்கள் விற்கப்படும் கடைகளில் உணவு பாதுகாப்புத்துறையினர் அதிரடியாக நுழைந்து சாம்பிள் எடுத்துவருகிறார்கள். இதற்கான உத்தரவை மத்திய அரசின் உணவுப் பாதுகாப்புத்துறை பிறப்பித்திருக்கிறதாம். அதையடுத்து, மாநில அரசு அதிகாரிகள் நேற்றும் (நவம்பர் 12) இன்றும் தமிழகத்தின் அனைத்து மாவட்டங்களிலும் அதிரடி ரெய்டு நடத்திவருகிறார்கள். இந்த இரண்டு நாள்களில் எடுக்கப்படும் சாம்பிள் டெஸ்ட்டிங் மற்றும் அது தொடர்பான நிர்வாகச் செலவுகளை மத்திய அரசே ஏற்கிறதாம். கடந்த சில வருடங்களாகவே, பண்டிகை நேரங்களில் இப்படிப் பால் ரெய்டு நடந்தப்பட்டுவருகிறதாம்.

பால் பொருள்கள்

பால் பொருள்கள்

இந்த ரெய்டு விவகாரம், சிறிய லெவலில் ஸ்வீட் கடை நடத்துகிறவர்கள் மத்தியில் அதிருப்தியை உண்டாக்கியிருக்கிறது. சென்னை புரசைவாக்கத்தில் கடை நடத்தும் வியாபாரி ஒருவர், “இதெல்லாம் கார்ப்பரேட் கம்பெனிகள் நடத்தும் சதிவேலை. பாரம்பர்ய மில்க் ஸ்வீட் விற்பனையை ஒழித்துக்கட்டவே பண்டிகைக் காலத்தில் மட்டும் இப்படி நடத்துகிறார்கள். மில்க் ஸ்வீட்டை சாமிக்குப் படையல் போட்டுச் சாப்பிடுவார்கள். அதைவிட்டுவிட்டு, சாக்லேட்டையா படையல் போட முடியும்? சாதாரண காலத்தில் இப்படியெல்லாம் ரெய்டு செய்வதில்லை. இதனால், பாதிக்கப்படுபவர்கள் சாதாரண ஸ்வீட் கடை நடத்துகிறவர்கள்தான் ‘ என்கிறார்.

தமிழ்நாடு பால் முகவர்கள் தொழிலாளர்கள் நலச் சங்கத்தின் நிறுவனத் தலைவர் பொன்னுசாமி கூறும்போது, “என்னைப் பொறுத்தவரையில் அதிக அளவில் பால், பால் தொடர்பான பொருள்கள் விற்பனையாகும் பண்டிகைக் காலத்தில் கலப்படங்கள் அதிகம் உலாவருகின்றன. எனவே, இந்த நேரத்தில், ரெய்டுகள் நடத்துவதில் தவறில்லை. பாலில் தரம்குறைந்தவை, கலப்படப் பால் என இரண்டு வகை உண்டு.

ஸ்வீட்

ஸ்வீட்

இரண்டுமே தவறுதான். இருந்தாலும், பாலில் கலப்படம் செய்வதால், மனிதர்களுக்கு பாதிப்பு அதிகம். தமிழகம் உள்ளிட்ட தென் மாநிலங்களில் விநியோகிக்கப்படும் பால் பாதுகாப்பாகத்தான் இருக்கிறது. அதேநேரம், வட மாநிலங்களிலிருந்து வரும் பால், பட்டர், நெய் உள்ளிட்ட பல பொருள்களில் கலப்படம் அதிகம். குறைந்த விலைக்கு வியாபாரிகளுக்குக் கொடுத்து அதிக லாபம் சம்பாதிக்கத் தூண்டுகிறார்கள். சிந்தெட்டிக் பால்கூட வடமாநிலங்களில் பிடிபட்டிருக்கின்றன. அது மாதிரி சட்டவிரோத பால் பொருள்களை விற்பவர்களை பண்டிகைக் காலத்தில்தான் உணவுப் பாதுகாப்பு அதிகாரிகளால் பிடிக்க முடியும். எனவே, இந்த நேரத்து ரெய்டை நான் வரவேற்கிறேன்” என்கிறார்.

Categories: NEWS