The Magic of Curated Meals


Curated-MealsIndians love eating and India is a gastronome’s delight. The sheer variety of food available from different zones and places remains unmatched anywhere in the world. What’s more, you can now get most of international cuisines right here in India! Yes, India is open to experimenting with all kinds of foods which include fine dining, fast food and food cooked at home.

It’s only in India that one gets the craving for food in combinations that would give any proud chef a ‘Myocardial Infarction’ – read ‘heart attack’, were he or she to know the kind of food mixes that we would like to experiment with. Imagine someone craving for a Japanese Sushi or Mutton Achari, to be eaten at the same time with say a Bengali Prawn Bhappa or an Italian cheese Pasta.

Sounds crazy? That’s how young India is experimenting with food – all kinds of combinations, at all times. Even KFC has joined the fray. Ever heard of ‘Chizza’ – a KFC Chicken base with rich pizza topping. An invention Made in India and Made for India! Now, that’s something!

The problem? Where do we go for the eclectic meal mix? And worse, how do we order just for oneself – single portion, without being strangled by the chains of a minimum order quantity?

So here’s the good news. You have hope in the magic of ‘curated meals’! Yes, this is the new fad and a godsend for those of us living on the fringes of time and with a taste bud that would simply horrify the best of chefs.

Curated meals are being offered by a new breed of meal aggregators who take your orders for the most crazy food combinations on earth and that too without raising an eyebrow. And, best of all, no minimum order restrictions! Ah! So finally we have hope and salvation.

How does it work?

Well just pick up the phone or download the app, search for your choice of restaurant, select your food and within the hour, the food arrives at your doorstep. Most curated meal providers are offering food prices inclusive of all taxes, which means, no more nasty surprises for you. Payment is online or cash against delivery. Cool, fast, efficient. And you can order individual items from different restaurants and no questions are asked. Smooth.

So who is offering curated meals?

Curated meals as a business opportunity is hugh in India. Fast foods like Dominoes, McDonalds, KFC, WOW Momos, and a whole lot of other foods are now being aspired for and ordered by those living in smaller towns, and as these chains further penetrate undeveloped markets, the potential for acquiring new clients and converting them to newer food tastes, is inevitable.

This also means that with food tastes varying from person-to-person within the same family, curated meals offers a tremendous business opportunity just waiting to be tapped. One can order single portions for each member, as per his or her own taste and from different restaurants of choice, and have them all delivered at the same time.

Given the potential, it’s no wonder Twigly – a curated meal start-up, has received $200,000 funding from Tracxn Labs and this is just the beginning.

Twigly’s USP is that it follows an asset-light business model and is offering 20-30% lower price points. It aims to be the next ‘Yum’ brand in food technology in India. That’s a tall aspiration, but it also reflects the potential for curated meals as a business opportunity in India.

ChopChop is a brand of Hermes Universal Private Limited, in Gurgaon, and is another emerging curated food supplier targeting the Gurgaon area, for now. Their USP is the menu rotation on a daily basis. On any given day they offer over 30 meal options that ranges from Parathas to Pastas to Sushi. That’s a very diverse choice to choose from.

They also offer ‘healthy meal’ options. Currently, they deliver afternoon meals only but plan to offer dinner options shortly. The fact that the menu is changed on a daily basis means that one doesn’t get bogged down with a static menu, as in a regular restaurant. They serve ‘single’ portions, if required, and source from restaurants like Café Tafri, Eat@Joe’s, Being Chef in the Gurgaon area.

And then you have Mumbai based Haute Chef that offer their own range of specially created and curated meals, delivered to your doorstep. A well know professional chef creates a range which includes exotic dishes like Desi Ratatouille Makhani, Chicken Cafreal, Biryani Galette, Veg Crudites, Akhrot Aioli, and Achari Watermelon.

Curated meal suppliers are also coming up fast in cities like Bangalore, Pune and Chennai but the real boom in the business will come from Tier II and Tier III towns, where expectations and aspirations remain unsatiated.