instore - May 2018 - 91
supermarket's catering menu, which he again attributes to the growing
popularity of Indian foods more generally.
"American consumers have played an important role in the growing
popularity of Indian food [worldwide]," says Chef Hari Nayak, Cafe
Spice's culinary director, author of six acclaimed cookbooks and one
of the most sought-after chefs in North America. "Once familiarity
with the cuisine sets in, consumers tend to show more willingness
to explore and experiment with flavors and spices." In accordance
with this trend, in 2008 Café Spice launched six ready-to-eat, freshly
prepared Indian meals with Whole Foods Market in the Northeast. And
in January, Café Spice launched four new Indian retail meals: Butter
Chicken Meatballs with Basmati Saffron Rice; Coconut Chicken Curry
with Basmati Saffron Rice; Bombay Dal Palak with Basmati Saffron
Rice; and Aloo Gobhi Curry with Basmati Saffron Rice.
Cauliflower rice is among the hot prepared Indian foods served at
Dorothy Lane Market stores.
needed to be overcome. For instance, even the word "curry" was a
challenge from a marketing standpoint because most people assumed
that such dishes would be very-and too-spicy for them.
But Madoff says that "consumers' palates are worldlier today when it
comes to ethnic foods in general," and thus the consumption of Indian
food is no longer as intimidating as it once was. Madoff attributes Indian
cuisine's having become more mainstream and accessible than ever
before to social media, lifestyle food blogs, and an explosion of food
shows on television. Seifer notes in addition that as consumers move
away from multiple dish meals towards a desire for simpler one-dish
meals, especially at dinner, many Indian cuisines lend themselves to
this growing trend.
Beyond its flavor, increasingly health-conscious consumers enjoy the
added benefit of Indian food's health-promoting ingredients. The staple
components of the Indian diet are largely very healthy, as they place
an emphasis on a wide variety of vegetables and fruits; a multitude of
spices and herbs; and ingredients high in fiber and low in saturated fat.
Café Spice, for instance, uses only clean ingredients without any
artificial preservatives, additives or colors, and sources chicken that is
humanely raised without antibiotics and is fed a vegetarian diet. The
company also sources non-GMO ingredients and dairy ingredients that
Chef Carrie Walters, culinary director at Dayton, Ohio-based Dorothy
Lane Market (DLM), a family-owned and locally-operated specialty
grocery store, says the appeal of yellow and green curry is catching
up with red curry in popularity, and that DLM plans to capitalize on
this trend by introducing a new red lentil soup made with yellow
curry in 2018.
Neil Stern, senior partner at McMillan Doolittle, a retail consulting firm
specializing in consumer research and customer experience, says that
Indian food is carving out a space for itself in the American diet, especially in supermarket delis. He noted, for example, that the hot bar at
Whole Foods has featured Indian dishes such as vegetable korma, tikka
masala, saag paneer, vegetable samosas, saffron rice, and naan bread in
recent years. Stern also has observed an increase in fusion foods such
as coconut chicken tenders with mango sauce earning spots on the
instore * MAY 2018 * 91