Curd rice on a hot summer’s day

As a life long lover of a full sapad, complete with n-number of papadams for me to carefully crumble into my sambar and ghee, you can only imagine my salivary glands getting into action when reading this little snippet from The Hindu.

At an introductory price of Rs 10 for 275 gms, the curd rice is
garnished with mustard, cashew nuts, raisin, green chillies, ginger,
curry leaves and carrot.

The product will be available throughout the State in a few
days, according to company officials. Details of the investment have
not been disclosed but the thinking behind the launch of the product is

Hatsun has an early morning product  –   milk, and afternoon product  –   ice cream.

The refrigeration facilities with Hatsun’s franchisees merely
hold inventories from early morning to practically until lunch time. These facilities could be better employed by a product that also sells during that period. What’s better than curd rice?

Look Amma, now you can buy readymade curd rice in a pouch for Rs 10/-. Someone needs to import it to New Delhi’s South Indian shops, the one in Munirka is too far away, how about Yamuna Apartments? OK tell you what, just send me a hamper, no?

Anyway, its interesting to note this little regional innovation, that, as the article says, is a product whose launch has had some thinking behind it. Not only was this an unmet need, but nobody even knew it existed. Why am I thrilled, well, can you imagine being able to pop it in your bag for lunch in the morning without any hassles at all? Some of the convenience foods are over priced in the premium paid for the preparation and timesaving, but some are not only a good value for me, as this [yuck] Krd Ryce [who named this? ] – especially since the Medrasis are such a tightfisted lot – but also worth the extra money, as a pouch of Mughlai Paneer for instance. Its Rs 80 true but you can buy it for a dinner party and add some mushrooms and any extra veggies you want, its got enough gravy and you can stretch it out far more economically than ordering take out from the neighbourhood dhabha. Probably safer in summer too. I’ll try to have the photo’s up tomorrow.

Now, interestingly enough Nestle and Amul are taking a different path – that of flavoured yoghurts. I shall be curious to see how that takes off, the language of the article and the brand messaging is oh so very creamy layer. It might be good for making lassis, that’s about all I think of, the reason why is because of a datapoint that struck me this afternoon.  I remember standing in the grocery shop when some woman asked the shopkeeper for flavoured milk.

Now I’m going to digress a bit to describe how to order in a small grocery shop, the standard one down at the corner that you go to everyday, simply because I noticed the difference between it and my Kiki Supermarket on the corner of Powell and Jackson. Now the shopkeeper asked her what flavour milk did she want, and she goes what do you have? She had an impatient sneering expression on her face as though she wasn’t expecting too much under the subject of "flavoured milk" from this kind of shop that too in not so fancy a market as GK1 or South Ex or something like Priya Cinema Complex with its Modern Bazaar that served the diplomatic enclave.  I mean we’re bordering Kalkaji and [shock horror] Govindpuri after all ;p

He says "Butterscotch, Pistachio and Banana Peach" or some such posh flavours, and you could see her suddenly look up with interest, and asked to be shown the brand. Now two things come to mind at this point, one, the customer doesn’t really browse. You can’t, I found myself trying to do so today, and I just got underfoot everyone’s way, there’s no impulse buying in India, no sirree, or at least not until absolutely the point of purchase, which to be honest, I just realized, is the shopkeeper himself.  I like  unbranded indian potato chips and asked for them. He didn’t have any and told me to try some weird new fangled stuff like a cross between a pringles and a baked lays. When I went today there were a few fresh packets of indian style potato crisps in an unmarked clear plastic bag – cottage industry, probably being made by hand inside some narrow gulli somewhere.

So back to the flavoured yoghurt being launched as probiotic or whatever that means, the ads will act as an impetus to someone, say me, being intrigued enough to ask for it when down at the market next, but if my shopkeeper hasn’t received it yet then I don’t know if I would walk to a rival grocers to buy it immediately. You really can’t do that, or if you do, you must do it only for one single product or something beneath your own grocer’s notice. Seriously, they take customer retention and loyalty extremely seriously since after a point the market stabilizes in any one particular neighbourhood and if you can’t maintain and keep your existing customers, like a doctor, there won’t be any new ones moving to the neighbourhood soon. Don’t forget, in 43 C heat I don’t really want to go very far or walk around a lot to do my shopping.

l, on the other hand, still fresh off the boat from San Francisco, peered into the cold storage and looked at all the local cheese, butter and butter substitute varieties available. Who needed imported stuff? Everything is available right here. Now that’s scary. Because I’ll still have bring my own Miracle Whip and Mayo ;p

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