Monday, July 20, 2020

Flying fit: Immunity boosting beverages take off at airports

Mumbai: When domestic flights were restarted in May, a motley staple of beverages from India’s domestic kitchens like haldi doodh, rasam, tulsi-mint shikanji, saffron sattu shake and amla aam panna — flying in on their reputation as immunity boosters — made their debut at food and beverage outlets of metro airports.
At airport lounges, pre-packed meal boxes have already replaced buffets, to prevent spread of coronavirus. Other flyers largely stick to home-cooked food. The attendant anxiety that comes with travelling amid the pandemic has altered the gastronomic scene at airports, but in the case of Indian airports, the sale of immunity boosters seems to have taken off.
Curcumin and Vitamin C drinks might not beat caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee, but in the past two months they have gained in popularity at various metros, says Gaurav Dewan, chief operating officer, Travel Food Services (TFS), which runs about 300 food outlets across various metro airports. There is a certain pattern to food preferences at metros though. “Haldi Doodh is the third largest selling beverage at Delhi airport and so is Tulsi-Mint Shikanji at Kolkata airport. Predictably, Rasam is popular at Chennai airport. Immunity boosters have been doing so well, we’ve been thinking of bottling and marketing it," he said.
Another meal that has picked up sales across India’s airports during the pandemic is curd rice. “It’s a light meal, its healthy and fermented. Among our south Indian fare, curd rice used to account for only 2-3% of sales in pre-Covid times, now it accounts for over 15-20% and is sold throughout the day," he says. Among food items that have dropped in terms of preference are non-vegetarian meals. “We don’t know whether it’s related to Covid or the changed customer profile," he said.
20/07/20 Manju V/Times of India
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