One Organic Pizza, Please

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EARLIER this month, Mumbai’s popular restaurant The Bombay Canteen sent out a tweet, inviting resumes of people with “a passion for food to come aboard, travel across India and develop relations with farmers and producers”. Within the next couple of days, the restaurant’s chef Thomas Zacharias received mails from over 80 candidates, most of whom, he says, were those looking to switch their career. While this reflects the popularity of the restaurant, it also shows how seriously Indians today are taking their food, especially the healthy variety. “Indians are not only recognising the vast variety of cuisines but also realising that eating healthy means eating fresh, locally sourced seasonal ingredients,” says Zacharias.

When The Pantry launched in Kala Ghoda in 2012, their promise was a menu that would not feature imported goods but ingredients that they would source from farmers in and around Mumbai. Organic and/or artisanal, their hams, cheeses, vegetables lent their menu a distinct touch. It’s been a format that many restaurants have since followed. Today, as they evolve, The Pantry reworks its menu every season to include specials and has also since introduced items that appeal to the health-conscious. For instance, there are organic waffles served with seasonal fruits, vanilla custard and honey, vegan milkshakes and home-baked granola, among other items, on their menu.

Likewise, Birdsong Cafe (Bandra), the Belgian chain Le Pain Quotidien, The Sassy Spoon (Bandra, Nariman Point) in Mumbai as well as Lean Chef (GK II), Organic Express (Gurugram), and Nourish Organics (Lodhi Colony) in Delhi-NCR, have menus that accommodate healthy food choices.

While a number of restaurants have begun to include such options as a part of their overall menu, in the near future, say chefs, the trend will shift towards superspecialised restaurants. For instance, everything on the menu of Mumbai’s Sequel, a cafe in Bandra, is gluten-free. In Delhi’s Shahpurjat Village, Greenr Store and Cafe promises a menu that promotes “vegetarianism and veganism”. Greenr, they claim, was started with the primary focus of endorsing “sustainable living” and making it “accessible and acceptable to an audience group that is eager to embrace it”. The restaurant offers a wide range of delicatessen and condiments that include raw and organic juices,
natural gelatos, organic coffee, and hand-crafted organic chocolates.

Located in GK-I, Delhi, Getafix too promises a “guilt-free indulgence”. They offer dishes that are usually considered comfort foods, such as pizza and burgers, in nutritious options. “At Getafix, we have managed to keep the food tasty, healthy and cost effective. A lot of young professionals live away from home, eating out almost every day. Many of them now realise they need healthier options and that a burger or a pizza can be done better than what they would get at an outlet of a chain. We will see a rise in the number of options for healthy food in the future,” explains Aanandita Chawla, co-owner of Getafix.


Glow, shine and go all natural with organic beauty products

Most of the Indians are striving to live a healthier lifestyle by consuming nutrient-rich food, exercising regularly or by using organic products for their good skin and health. Just the way our body needs good amount of vitamins to feel and look fit, the same way our skin needs to be feed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and fatty acids to look young and fresh. We all need to restore our skin’s natural PH balance for an ideal looking skin.

The concept of organic beauty products started from Edwardian Era, where the Edwardian ladies were pressurised to look beautiful and wanted keep wrinkles at bay. Just like the women today, even Edwardian ladies used to go for natural remedies for their skin such as concoctions and creams with Cocoa Butter, Almond Oil, Witch Hazel and Lanolin. The organic products somewhere washed off when big brands came up with beauty and skin care products with chemicals in it which was harassing the skin and also giving wrinkles to women at a very young age.

Guardian 20 spoke to Dr Blossom Kochhar, Chairperson, Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies and she said, “Everyone is shifting more to natural and organic products because the consumer is becoming more aware of the bad effects of chemicals on themselves and the environment.”

Indian women are known for make-up and using skin care products unlike western women. Organic products are now emerging in India at a large scale and many of the brands and Indian women are shifting from chemical based products to organic or natural products. The main reason being of the shift is that chemical based beauty products have a bad effect on the skin. When these chemical products are applied on the skin, they go through the bloodstream and the cells of the skin, which reacts and give rashes or pimples to the skin. A dermatologist and even beauty and skin care industry have always suggested going natural and organic for a better skin life. Hence, the industry also opted for going for herbal and organic products which will be light on the skin and also organic products are so natural that it goes with every skin type.

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Ragini Mehra, Founder, Beauty Source talks about the uprising of organic products in the Indian market. “The trend is not surprising; in fact, the demand for natural and organic beauty products in India is growing by the day, as much as internationally. In a market like India where herbal and ayurvedic hair and skin care has a legacy of usage, awareness and benefits of organic ingredients is quite high. The steady growth that the organic beauty products market is witnessing in recent years comes from the increasing consumer concerns regarding personal health and hygiene. Organic products renew the texture and health of your skin and hair without the use of any toxic chemicals, so no dangerous substances,” she said.

In the recent years, the organic industry has also dominated over chemical based skin care products, which is also a very major reason why the brands with chemical skin care products also shifted to organic beauty products. Now we have, organic creams, organic lip care products, organic haircolour, all because we all want to go mild on our skin and hair. Also, we Indians are so influenced by organic or herbal products that we want our food or festival colours also to be absolutely natural.

Guardian 20 spoke to Vishal Bhandari, Founder, SoulTree spoke about why organic products are better for the skin. “Whatever we apply on our bodies goes in our bodies and into our bloodstream. It’s a bit scary to think of all of the unlisted highly toxic skin care ingredients out there, but this is why you must choose something real and from nature. Quite simply, if something has been made using organic, natural produce you are guaranteed that it has the environment and sustainable practice at heart,” he said.

Indian beauty and skin care market is urging to use these natural products because now consumers are getting aware of the ingredients and natural method of making these products. As of now, organic beauty products are not popular in the Indian market. One of the main reasons is that organic products are on the expensive side and there are very few Indians who would prefer to spend thousands on beauty and skin care products. One of the main reasons of it being expensive is that its ingredients are organically farmed which include ingredients like Sodium chloride which is just sea salt, citric acid which is a compound found in lemons and other citrus fruits.

“Whatever we apply on our bodies goes in our bodies and into our bloodstream. It’s a bit scary to think of all of the unlisted highly toxic skin care ingredients out there, but this is why you must choose something real and from nature.”

Vishal Bhandari further said, “I think customers are becoming increasingly aware of the ingredients used in the products. Once they are assured of safe ingredients and ethical practices, and that they are getting the absolute best quality products for the most reasonable price, organic products will be even more popular.”

Dr Naresh Arora, Founder, Chase Aromatherapy Cosmetics reflects on about how organic products are very natural. “A number of cosmetics and skincare products available in India have been claimed to be organic in nature. However merely been natural does not categories their products as organic. Being a new concept, it requires minimum ten years of harvesting and producing the crop without the use of fertilisers and pesticides with the water quality & soil having no residual presence of chemical, heavy chemical & degrading bacteria. The organic crops have been tried and being produced at small pilot plant basic on mass scale basis, organic products with due standards, have not been possible to produce or claim,” he said.

Indian women do need natural or herbal products for their skin especially because of the tropical climate that the country goes through and also because of the many pollutants in the air.

Guardian 20 spoke to Shiv Singh Mann, Founder, Desert Splendour about why do Indian women need of organic products and she said, “Natural healing properties that you get from natural and organic products are the perfect gifts for yourself and your loved ones. Natural products repair and hydrate your skin cells. The quality organic products are the natural alternative to harsh chemical products that are prevalent in the market and a must have for anyone looking for soft & glowing skin and hair. The customers today are increasingly getting to know the goodness of going down the green path, and so, the demand for organic and natural products are rising by the day.”