Bratwurst and burritos in Bangalore
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"There is a great curiosity for new tastes in India," said Decher, explaining the trend. Arthur's has tweaked some ingredients of the very traditional German recipes for the Indian palate and is offering pork and chicken sausages. Decher said many myths, such as "a majority of Indians are vegetarian" and "Hindus do not eat pork", have been busted along the way.
Arthur's has a state-of-the-art food processing unit in Bangalore, complete with imported machinery, solar energy and water recycling infrastructure. It now distributes a range of 37 products to major Indian cities, including specialties like pork bratwurst, chicken garlic krakauer, smoked chicken chilli ham and pepperoni salami. Many of the ingredients and casings are imported.
The demand for such products is growing as they are seen as high in standard when it comes to hygiene and quality, said Decher. "Urban Indian women are getting more career oriented, and these ready-to-prepare foods are seen as convenient and nutritious to pack as a school lunch or serve as a quick evening snack," he said.
Meanwhile, Indians are getting used to labels and brands when travelling overseas. If these familiar brands show up at their own doorstep, they are quick to consume, said Aslam Gafoor, who heads the India unit of a grill maker. The consumption patterns and demographics of India's young population are getting specialty food makers and foreign chefs excited about the market. However, the actual numbers are small. It is the right time to introduce new products and trends, said Gafoor. "An understanding of the value-conscious Indian market is essential, and companies have to localise. Otherwise, they could fall by the wayside," he said.
For Decher, selling pork sausages and chicken salami to Indian supermarket chains and retailers is turning out to be a study in globalisation. While he attempts to widen the market for his products, he is also broadening his own horizons. "What better than to live in a country so different from your own and understand its food and culture," Decher said.
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