The Rising Trend of Plant-Based Diet (Veganism) in India
India has long remained the country with the highest number of the population who continue to identify as vegetarians and continue to say no to any kinds of animal derivatives. This has primarily got to do with the culture and tradition in the country. Moreover, the diversity India has when it comes to plant-based foods, it is no surprise that veganism has been on the rise, and more and more people continue to adopt it for the following benefits it provides:
- Vegan diet provides more fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds, along with being rich in potassium, magnesium, folate, and numerous vitamins such as A, C, and E.
- A plant-based Indian diet can help you control weight, as, through a vegan diet, you will have a lesser calorie intake.
- It helps in improving body functions (such as that of the kidney), and help prevent numerous chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, and even certain type of cancers (such as breast and prostate).
- A plant-based diet can also be beneficial for the skin, for it provides one with anti-oxidants, anti-aging elements, and vitamins required for the maintenance of the skin.
How The Rise of eCommerce has Fueled this Trend in India
In the last few years, we have seen a drastic shift towards the “online way of life.” While work-from-home has been one of the recent additions to this, there were a whole lot of activities that moved online, from buying daily essentials and even luxury items to ordering food online.
This has made it much easier for the common consumers to get access to articles from across the world, in a matter of days, without having to move an inch from their living room! This has especially proven to be a boon for foodies in India, who wanted to try ingredients from the other half of the world, as there is one company, which is making this dream come true for them!
Urban Platter: Making Dreams Come True for True Foodies
Given the growing interest in plant based ingredients, BP Guide India set out to find a good source for it's readers. And there is great news for those of you looking for easily available alternatives to dairy and mock meats. Urban Platter offers not only a great selection of dairy free products but a host of other delicious ingredients from around the globe.
Urban Platter has taken a step forward for those who want to taste worldly ingredients from the comfort of their kitchens, be it the chilli pepper from South Korea or the heavenly San Marzano from Italy. They offer delicacies ranging from items for breakfast to snacks for you to munch on with your evening tea; all these at quite affordable prices!
It was started in 2015 by two brothers, Chirag Kenia and Dhaval Kenia, to provide food-lovers, authentic food experiences which otherwise would not have been possible without having to visit a particular place. All they wanted to do was bring consumers, “simply good food!”
We caught up with the brothers to see what they have got to say about their products.
Customers of today are well educated and well informed about food, culture, and cuisine. They appreciate the origins of products, respect the provenance and, in our opinion, love the products without modification or any change. We aim to deliver that.
Chirag Kenia and Dhaval Kenia
Founders, Urban Platter
Q & A with Chirag Kenia: What Inspired Him to Start Urban Platter
- Q. Tell us about yourself and your background
- Both of us have been technology entrepreneurs for the last decade and have a very good understanding of data, digital marketing. We’re foodies and big-time travel enthusiasts!
- Q. What led you to create Urban Platter, and how did you go about it?
- I brought my passion for food coupled with e-commerce experience and amplified it with Dhaval’s expertise in tech, data, and automation to create Urban Platter.
- Q. What are you trying to achieve?
- We want to be a one-stop point for customers to source their ingredients and high-quality gourmet products from around the world. Customers of today are well educated and well informed about food, culture, and cuisine. They appreciate the origins of products, respect the provenance and, in our opinion, love the products without modification or any change. We aim to deliver that.
- Q. What challenges did you face at the start, and how did you overcome them?
- Getting vendors to trust us, work with us, agree to our small quantities, and managing the entire business with no experience in the food sector or seasoned professionals. We managed these issues, primarily by using honest and smart communication and negotiation skills to convince vendors, promised them good business and delivered it, and learned the skills we were operationally lacking. The whole team at Urban Platter, which started five years ago, is still with us today. Amateurs have become pretty good at their tasks.
- Q. What is your process, and how do you introduce new products?
- We’re a curating and marketing company. We understand market and demand gaps, and fill them with unique solutions. We’ve got an extensive team of food technologists, innovators, and data analysts to help us identify and then introduce products to customers.
- Q. How do you ensure quality?
- We deploy three measures to ensure quality. First, we speak to our vendors, educate them about the end purpose, and set expectations straight with them. This in itself introduces mutual responsibility and quality checks from the point of dispatch.
Second, we train our ground-level staff to check each product for five key parameters (packaging, shelf life, temperature, texture, and taste) to ensure that any red flags are immediately raised.
Third, we have a team of three for quality control and one quality assurance officer who ensures that nothing goes ahead for processing without their approval. Additionally, we have stringent checks and balances like a metal detector, moisture analyser, and plate count analysis of warehouses to ensure our passion and quality are reflected in our products.
- Q. What makes Urban Platter products better or different from those of other food brands?
- It’s the whole experience of how we pack, ship, deliver the products, and then how the consumer interacts and experiences the products is what makes us different. We try to ensure excellent quality, good value, and convenience to customers, which is always a plus.
3 Must-Try Products from Urban Platter
Urban Platter Unsweetened Almond Milk is an affordable, premium daily lactose-free Dairy Alternative. It comes infused with the goodness of plant-based nutrition. Besides, each serving provides 40% more calcium content than dairy milk. You can purchase this Barista-grade, lactose-free almond milk at urbanplatter.in for Rs. 233.
Pink Salt Powder
This is a premium quality salt from the Himalayas, meant for everyday use. It can be used for a variety of things in your day-to-day life, such as for regular consumption (rich in iron and helps in lowering the blood pressure) and even as a bath scrub (for its semi-coarse consistency and grind). The 1.5 kg pack is available for purchase on urbanplatter.in for Rs. 403.
Oats are one of the best options for the most crucial meal of the day, i.e., breakfast. These Rolled Oats offered by Urban Platter come jam-packed with high amounts of proteins and healthy fats. Additionally, they contain more than twenty unique polyphenols, and have high anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itching properties. To add a little bit of spice to these, you can make porridge, various oats smoothies, and even oats protein bars. You can buy the 1kg pack from urbanplatter.in for Rs. 284 only.
Other notable mentions from Urban Platter
- Oat Milk: A new product for the Indian market (Urban Platter offers India’s first Oat milk product). Excellent Dairy Alternative for Lactose intolerant and Vegans. Available for Rs. 232.
- Almond Flour: Super-fine quality Almond Flour for baking, smoothies, and breakfast preparations. Consistent best-seller. The 200 g pack is available for Rs. 318.
Where Can You Find Them?www.urbanplatter.in
Get to Know Them Better & Future Plans for Urban Platter
- Q. Which products would you recommend to shop from Urban Platter for the first time?
- Oh well, tough one! But do try our baking soda or yeast to bake some bread. Try our jaggery powder. Try our olive oil. Our pink salt is normally bought by customers in 2-3 units in 1 go. Then there’s almond milk for daily use. Try our oat milk (and be amazed!). Make a delicious curry with our coconut milk (and share with us on Instagram #urbanplatter). It goes on and on!
- Q. How big a foodie are you, and which cuisines do you favour?
- Both of us are huge foodies. We love Indian food, but I would say that anything that tastes good, looks good, and is nourishing, is welcome to be devoured! I think a lavish Gujarati thali is sure to bring a smile to both of us!
- Q. Do you cook? Please share a recipe you find yourself going back to often.
- I do, and often. I love to experiment with food and ingredients. My favourite cuisine to cook has to be Italian. Without a doubt - a Primavera pasta dish is something you’ll find me going back often to.
- Q. What are your own interests?
- Chirag: I love reading, traveling, and listening to music. Snooker is another passion, but I rarely get to play it lately. I unwind with swimming and often like to go for long walks with my wife.
Dhaval: I love to read, travel and exercise. Snooker is definitely a passion. Chess is something both me and CK often like to play. And I have an exceptional interest in understanding and improving performance by data analysis.
- Q. What’s next for your brand?
- We’ve built good customer confidence online, and now it’s time to get out of our comfort zone to go offline. We’re now building good partnerships with key retailers and stakeholders to foray into your neighbourhood stores, and I think in the next 12 months, things would look dramatically different. From a product perspective, we have our calendars full for the next 24 months. We’ll continue to delight our customers and spoil them for choices :) Let’s just say we want to be in every home’s pantry of India, and we’ll make it happen!
Their Three Latest Products
Coconut Milk & Coconut Cream
This is India’s first 100% additive-free, stabilizer-free and preservative-free all-natural Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream range. Both coconut milk and cream are prepared using the finest coconuts sourced from South India. The 250 ml pack of coconut milk is available at Rs. 99, while the 250 ml pack of coconut cream can be purchased for Rs. 118.
Gochujang is an authentic, premium Chilli Paste imported from Korea. A commonly used ingredient in Korean kitchens, this paste is made from chilli pepper flakes, fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, and salt. It’s extremely versatile and comes with such a flavour that it is sure to add a delight to any of the dishes you prepare! It’s available for purchase on urbanplatter.in for Rs. 495 (500 g pack).
Cheddar Cheese Seasoning
Urban Platter has worked hard to make India’s first plant-based Cheddar Cheese Seasoning, which, well, will linger on your palate and make you come back for more! This cheese powder can be added to a variety of food items, including French fries, pasta, burger, nuts, popcorn, to name a few. The best is that you can enjoy it without any guilt as it is gluten-free, MSG-free, and dairy-free. You can buy it from Urban Platter’s website for Rs. 133 (100 g pack).
Tips for Beginners Who are Looking to Switch to a Plant-based Diet
If you're a non-vegetarian and have decided to switch to veganism, changing your diet and switching to a plant-based diet overnight is not the right way to go about it. Start with one step at a time, such as starting with one vegetarian meal (out of a total of three meals you may be having in a day), then to two, and gradually towards a completely plant-based diet. This way, you will be giving you body enough time to adjust and reap the most benefit out of the diet once you have entirely shifted towards it.