In addition to its rich cultural heritage, India offers tremendous potential for culinary tourism thanks to its varied culinary regions and flavour profiles. Traveling to discover food has caught the attention of avid travelers who want to explore new cuisines. A decade ago, India had little experience with the market for culinary tourism but today the Culinary Tourism sector is at the cusp of explosion as the Indian traveler embarks on a journey to savor the richness of local cuisines we have on offer in the country! And it’s not just Indians, travelers from all over the world are flocking to India to try authentic Indian cuisine and experience it firsthand.
Almost 90% Godrej Food Trends Report 2022 respondent panel predicted an undeniable hunger for travel experiences centered around culinary culture and cuisine. The pandemic cut travel out completely in 2020 – 21. And even while consumers were homebound, and assuaging their need to for new flavours by cooking from regional and global cuisines, the were chalking out bucket lists of places to visit and foods to taste when things improved. And now the time has come to start checking all those items off!
The annual Godrej Foods Trends Report 2022 – Collector’s Edition evolving facets of culinary culture in India. These insights are based on opinions of over 200+ thought leaders that include celebrity chefs, home chefs, professional chefs, food bloggers, health professionals, media professionals, mixologists, nutritionists, restaurateurs, sommeliers, food producers, and more, all of whom share deep insights about their respective areas of expertise. Some key findings that have emerged for 2022 are:
· CULINARY TOURISM – 87.1% food experts predicted people will travel more to experience culinary culture and cuisine. There is increased demand for travel experiences centered around culinary culture and cuisine
· FOOD AND BEVERAGE TOURS – 67.7% panel said food and beverage tours will be in fashion. Many hospitality and tourism businesses have opened themselves up to patrons through food and beverage tours, allowing travelers to deep dive into processes and expertise behind local foods, beverages and favorite indulgences as well as opportunities to taste.
· FOOD WALKS – 66.1% experts see people opting more for city food walks. The panel sees this need to get out and explore resulting in a lot more city food walks, as people seek novel experiences closer to home.
· CULINARY RESIDENCY – 35.5% food experts see culinary residency picking up more. The Culinary Residency provides an opportunity for chefs, industry professionals and newcomers to refine a food concept. It could be to prepare for a restaurant menu, test recipes, create a new food product, or research a food subject. The individual is hosted and collaboration between them and other residents and members at the institution is encouraged
· FOOD RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION – 25.8% of our panel see people traveling for food research and exploration in food. Travelers are becoming more introspective; this has already begun to manifest with greater exploration of destinations within the country.
Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, Curating Editor of the Godrej Foods Trends Report 2022 said, “I think all of us have spent 2 years fantasizing sabout the foods we want to try, and cuisines we want to explore, and chomping at the bit to get out there! The era of culinary or food tourism is here! We are all going to travel specifically to explore food. Whether to harvest our own Saffron in Kashmir, or cook and taste cuisines from local Agri, East Indian or Bengali and Naga to Vietnamese, Korean or Peruvian. And this will involve cooking and interacting with food experts and chefs, exploring local markets, cooking with local ingredients, trying local beverages, wines and spirits. Of course, in India we don’t even really need to leave our own cities or regions to do this, every corner has something new to discover! And I must say, as someone who has worked to grow this sector for years, I am really excited about this, also because culinary tourism is not only a vitally important component for travel and tourism sector as a whole but also a fantastic way to infuse local economies with revenue and employment!”
When asked about culinary travel Chef Sadaf Hussain said, “Lately, when people travel or relocate while working from home, they are seeking new experiences to immerse in local culture. And local food is a great way to do it! Travelers will seek this experience through organized city food walks, or local friends and hosts to show them around while tourism companies will cater to this growing interest in food travel with unusual offerings. That said, I see it being more popular among independent travelers rather than tour groups, I think we’ll see it reflecting a lot more in travel media, social media, lifestyle blogs, in-flight magazines, and the like as well.”
Virkein Dhar, Founder – Sundooq, commented, “Experience behind-the-scenes of a vineyard or distillery is an exciting activity during travel, and it also gives people a chance to learn something new. For businesses, it’s an opportunity to showcase what makes them stand out, build trust with consumers, and create an additional source of revenue. I think this is a trend that’s certainly set to grow, with values such as transparency, traceability and trust becoming more important for consumers.”