From ‘Dabba-wallahs’ to boxed meals

By Sauhitya Garabadu

New Delhi, Feb 1: The tiffin lunchbox concept has been immensely successful in India. Indians have always been fond of dabbawalas, who once revolutionised the food delivery system by timely delivering home-cooked meals from the home to an office or school.

Interestingly, the accuracy of dabbawalas is high, and their error rates are just 1 in 8 million. The busy work schedule of people has left most office-goers with very little time to cook and depend on reliable food delivery services.

With time, the demand for freshly cooked meals has increased among working millennials. Over the past few years, the paramount value and need for home-cooked meals have given rise to the unique concept of boxed meals.

Although the idea of box meals was prevalent among working professionals, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has further amplified the need for boxed meals, with food safety and hygiene becoming the top concern in everyday affairs.

Since hygiene and safety are vital priorities post-lockdown, employees became skeptical about sharing their canteen spaces or eating from local dhabas. People became wary of food delivery services by dabbawalas for coming in contact with several other people.

With the ever-increasing awareness of healthy eating and the paramount value and preference for home-cooked meals, several cloud kitchen players have emerged in the marketplace that further revolutionized the food industry by delivering freshly cooked food items and enabling contactless delivery by leveraging technology.

Here are more details on how these cloud kitchen startups are fulfilling the healthy eating demands of consumers through their boxed meal offerings.

Boxed meals, a revolutionary concept in the food delivery segment

Today, leading cloud kitchen startups have mushroomed in several parts of the country over the past few years with the unique concept of boxed meals. They are experimenting with various regional cuisines (like Odia, Kolkata, South Indian, and North India) and offering packaged food boxes containing tasty meals prepared hygienically with quality ingredients.

These cloud kitchen startups are conducting faster delivery of freshly prepared, hygienic food to relive the dining experience at home or office with zero usage of preservatives and low-graded ingredients in the food preparation process.

They are adopting a robust technology-driven business model that operates through popular food delivery aggregators in India. Moreover, these trustworthy platforms opt for zero plastic use and 100 per cent electric cooking with no fuel usage in terms of packaging. Some cloud kitchens even offer meal subscription plans at affordable prices and deliver orders across various Indian states, like in the Mumbai region.

With the premium concept of boxed meals, cloud kitchen startups strive to take Indian regional food heritage in its most beautiful and rich form to the premium audience, like working millennials. Such efforts of providing nutritious solutions (boxed meals) will even support the Indian food service industry to record Rs 6 trillion mark by 2023. This ever-increasing growth momentum will also help the food tech segment become a hotbed for investors.

(Sauhitya Garabadu is the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Rroshashala)