With around 1.5kg to 1.75kg of bread being consumed per capita in various zones in the country, availability of extensive variety in the bread category is changing the appearance of everyday meals in India. With 32% consumption, Southern India ranks first in the list of largest bread consumer base in India, closely followed by northern states with 27%. Whereas, western and eastern states having moderate bread consumption pattern of 23% and 18% come later in the list. However, the pattern of consumption is changing positively and is quite evident. India’s bread market stood at $640.73 million in 2017, and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of over 10.70%, in value terms, during 2018-2023, to reach $1024.54 million by 2023.

Changing lifestyles drive bread preferences

Spiced up vegetable curry and deep-fried poori has lost popularity amongst urban population and that reflects in their meals. A traditional English breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs with buttered toast or bread with a choice of spreads such as jam or peanut butter has become an integral part of many urban household’s morning rituals. From the first meal of the day to the last meal; bread is steadily replacing paranthas or chapatti from the dining table and with the growing popularity of ready-to-cook food, working women are not hesitant to club their soup and salad dinners with bread.

Fast paced lifestyles, hectic workloads and with more and more youth coming to metro cities, breads with an array of conveniently made western delicacies is making bread a food-of-choice for the urban demographic.

Obese youth and the need for alternative staples

Researchers have pointed towards the swelling numbers of overweight people in developing countries that has created havoc. Around 14.4 million people suffer from obesity in India. Evaluating the reasons will unearth the fact that India’s staple carbohydrates may be to blame. A traditional Indian meal comprises of rice, roti, paratha, deep-fried food, thus endangering health. This assortment of staple diets is a sure recipe to ill health. Being caught up in an inactive urban lifestyle by the youth has created a conducive eco-system for fat to accumulate throughout the body.

Carbohydrates are essential for the overall development of the body but consuming only carbs as a part of meals have been causing health troubles in youth considering their immobile life-style.

A great source of protein, carbohydrate, calcium and iron, the new era whole wheat breads, atta breads and multigrain breads, are easy to digest and have great health benefits. Premium quality breads contain 4g to 7g of fibre essential for digestion, thus making it more popular amongst health-conscious urban households.

Different compositions and ingredients of bread along with improvements in baking techniques have made bread healthier and easier on the stomach. The replacement of saturated fat with vegetable oils has enhanced not only the taste but the nutrient quotient in it. Whole wheat and whole grain breads, ensure that a variety of micronutrients reach your diet while you diversify your tastes and enrich your food preferences.

The bottom-line remains that carbohydrates must be consumed but in the right form and the right quantity, and premium quality breads provide both health benefits and taste.

The author is director, Bonn group of Industries


One Reply to “Bread is now a staple in urban Indian meals”

  1. Excerpt from this article: “The replacement of saturated fat with vegetable oils has enhanced not only the taste but the nutrient quotient in it.”

    Excerpt from a 2016 Times of India article entitled ‘Ghee with Glee’: “Clarified butter remained India’s culinary star for centuries till it was sidelined in the 1980s by vegetable oils because of its high saturated fat. The new oils were aggressively marketed as superior and heart-healthy. Of late, research has shown that saturated fats have no link to obesity, heart disease or early death. In January 2015, the US dietary guidelines declared for the first time that total dietary fat and cholesterol intake are not a concern for healthy people. Now, on the back of some recent studies which maintain that it reduces fat and lower cholesterol, ghee too is making a big comeback in India. It is also making a splash abroad in alternative health circuits.”

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