With Diwali around the corner, the country comes to life with people rushing to the nearest market to pack their Diwali goodies. From dry fruits, decorations, clothes and of course the delicious mouth watering sweet treats.
Walk through Chandni Chowk and the aroma of sweets fill the air. People come from all over the capital to purchase their little Diwali treats from this crowded bazaar.
Chaina Ram, one of the oldest and popular confectioners in the market is buzzing with activity. Customers placing orders for Karachi Halwa, Badam Sev Pak and the delicious long gulab jamun rolls.
When it comes to quality, this sweet shop does not cut corners. The richest ghee and finest quality of dry fruits are used. Quality is never compromised.
“We work rely on our brains not our hearts. Our motto is Thoda Khao, Acha Khao”, this is what the fifth generation owner of Chaina Ram Pradeep Gidwani has to say.
PATTERN OF CONSUMPTION SWERVES
Since a large number of customers are becoming health conscious, there has been a change in the pattern of consumption of the sweets. Interestingly, this confectioner does not offer sugar free sweets and does not intend to in future.
“We offer the best quality and no one has any complain. We have been like this since 1901 and are not going to change,” said Pradeep Gidwani.
However, customers have another tale to tell. “I am diabetic and stay away from sweets. These days there is so much sugar and artificial agents in sweetmeats. So we gift dry fruits to people on Diwali,” said Soumya.
While there will be many who will exchange Mithai boxes this season, there are also those who still prefer to give well wrapped healthy gifts that include organic chocolates and gift hampers with juices, green tea and spices.
“Ever since adulteration in confectionery got exposed, people have switched to healthier alternatives,” said Sanjay an IT professional.
“The buzz word for this festive season is ‘organic’. There is a shortfall of traditional sweets. There is so much wastage and people are aware of the health consciousness around. Moreover, most of them prefer useful gifts,” said food historian Sourish Bhattacharya.
SURGE OF DIABETES ALSO A FACTOR
The change in consumer pattern is also due to the surge in cases of diabetes in the country. While India had 11.9 million cases in 1980, it has now surpassed 69.2 million cases. This trend has forced consumers to switch over to other alternatives than traditional Diwali sweet treats.
Dr. Pragiti Sawhney, a chocolatier and founder of Chockriti works out of home and this year has her hands full with Diwali orders. She uses dark chocolate and combines them with desi flavours such as Kaju Katli, Soan Papdi, Gulab Jamun, Paan and Thandai. She also has Kesar Pista macroons as well. From gift hampers to chocolate bars, this chocolatier caters to the healthy mind.
“I use pure chocolate and ensure that I do not add any sugar, butter or any artificial flavour or agent. I infuse the chocolate with organic flavours, teas and spices and these have medicinal benefits as well,” said Pragiti.
With people increasingly getting conscious of their health, there is a growing demand for low calorie, low sugar organic sweets and this time it looks like this Diwali is not going to be all about the mithai after all.