How Sourdough is having its best moment in India
How Sourdough is having its best moment in India

Sourdough bread, with its ancient roots dating back thousands of years, has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity, particularly in regions like India. While once the primary method for leavening bread, it gradually took a backseat to other techniques involving commercial yeasts and beer remnants.

In 2012, Sujit Sumitran made a pivotal career shift, leaving behind his corporate job at the age of 50 to pursue his passion for cooking. Settling in a quaint Goan mansion, he delved into the art of baking, focusing on sourdough bread. By utilising natural starter cultures instead of conventional yeast, he aimed to revive the traditional method of bread-making and infuse it with his own unique flair.

In India, where fermented foods like idlis, dhoklas, and curd hold a cherished place in the culinary landscape, sourdough bread has found a welcoming audience. Its tangy flavour and wholesome profile resonate with those seeking both taste and nutrition in their meals. As more people prioritise health-conscious eating, sourdough's popularity continues to grow, serving as a symbol of culinary tradition and innovation.

From bustling city kitchens to serene countryside bakeries, the aroma of freshly baked sourdough bread captivates food enthusiasts and health-conscious individuals alike. Its timeless appeal transcends generations, offering a taste of history and a glimpse into the future of wholesome eating. So, whether it's enjoyed as a hearty breakfast staple or as part of a gourmet meal, sourdough bread remains a beloved and versatile culinary delight.

Increase in customer Preferences

Sourdough bread is experiencing a surge in popularity across the culinary landscape, and there are several factors contributing to this trend. First and foremost, sourdough offers a distinct flavour profile that sets it apart from conventional bread. With its tangy taste and chewy texture, sourdough appeals to a wide range of taste preferences, making it a versatile choice for bread lovers.

As the Indian economy continues to grow and lifestyles evolve, there's a noticeable shift towards healthier food choices. Consumers are becoming more conscious of what they eat and are seeking out options that not only taste great but also offer nutritional benefits. Sourdough bread, with its reputation for being easier to digest and potentially more nutritious than bread made with commercial yeast, is emerging as a popular choice among health-conscious individuals.

“There's a growing interest in artisanal and traditional food preparation methods, and sourdough fits into this trend, as it requires patience, skill, and attention to detail to produce. Overall, the increase in preferences for sourdough pizza reflects evolving tastes and a desire for high-quality, flavorful, and possibly healthier food options,” Ayush Jatia, Founder of Si Nonna's stated. 

The rise in popularity of sourdough bread is evident in the increasing availability of sourdough options in bakeries and restaurants. Many establishments now offer sourdough bread alongside traditional bread varieties, catering to the growing demand from consumers. In cities like Bangalore, where food culture thrives, there's a strong appreciation for sourdough's qualities, both in terms of taste and potential health benefits.

Amit Ajwani, the CEO of Nomad Pizza, highlights the growing preference for sourdough bread among consumers. He notes that customers are drawn to the unique flavour and texture of sourdough, as well as its potential health benefits. With more people recognizing the value of sourdough bread as a flavorful and nutritious option, its popularity is expected to continue to rise in the coming years. Whether enjoyed as a simple slice with butter or used as the base for a gourmet sandwich, sourdough bread is carving out a special place in the hearts and stomachs of food enthusiasts everywhere.

Catalyst to the customer demand

Customers, even in the fancy food scene, are all about staying healthy these days. They're paying attention to what's good for their tummies, which is a big reason why there's been a boost in demand for sourdough bread. And with top notch food brands jumping into the game, you can bet they're keeping the quality top notch too.

Eesha Sukhi, the founder of The BlueBop Cafe, thinks there are a few things driving this demand. For one, there's the influence of Western countries where sourdough has been a hit for ages. Plus, thanks to social media and food trends, people are getting curious about traditional bread making methods. The COVID 19 pandemic might have played a part too, pushing more folks to try their hand at baking and seek comfort in homemade goodies.

And let's not forget about social media, it's like a crash course in food education for Indian consumers. They're learning about all sorts of food choices, both local and global, right from their screens. Plus, they're big on knowing where their food comes from and what's in it. All this buzz is spreading the word about sourdough bread, making it more popular than ever. 

Is sourdough a comprehensive business prospect?

Jatia believes that sourdough isn't just about making bread, it's a whole business opportunity waiting to happen. With its wide range of products, from bread and pastries to pizza crusts, sourdough appeals to a broad audience. Its reputation for being good for you and its artisanal charm make it a hit with customers. By building a strong brand and using smart marketing, a business centred around sourdough could win over loyal customers. And because you can play around with flavours and ingredients, there's plenty of room for creativity and standing out in the market.

Sukhi agrees with Jatia, seeing sourdough as a complete business opportunity on its own. It's so versatile that a bakery could offer all sorts of goodies, like pastries, sandwiches, and even pizza crusts, to cater to different tastes. By focusing on quality, craftsmanship, and the health benefits of sourdough, businesses can thrive in today's food scene.

Beyond pizza, brands are getting creative with sourdough. They're adding paninis and panozzos to their menus, all made with that delicious sourdough base. As customers catch on to the taste and health perks, this category is sure to grow beyond just pizza. "Some brands are even trying out burgers with sourdough buns. This not only keeps customers coming back but also boosts sales per order," Ajwani pointed out. With so much potential, sourdough is proving to be more than just a passing trend; it's a recipe for success in the food business.

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