#56 — Oyster Fishing, Indian Nutrition, Innovation Challenges and More


It’s been a while since we last dropped by.

One change that we have definitely seen in the last few months is the increase in the number of conversations we are having about food and the food system.

No doubt, these conversations are generating lots of ideas and potential solutions for change.

But what happens next, after the conversations? How do those ideas become tangible solutions?

We’ve noticed many great opportunities arise that are helping people dive deeper into these ideas and create impactful solutions in the food system. Jump to this part of the newsletter for some of them.

We are keeping an eye out and will continue to bring to you new pathways that might lead to a change.

Stay curious,
Anusha and Elizabeth

Image for post
Source: Arsh Raziuddin / The Atlantic

India’s Comfort Food Tells the Story of Its Pandemic

The Atlantic

“Across the country’s varied culinary landscape — where what one eats can signal class, caste, religion, ethnicity, and income — Parle-G biscuits are neutral. Wealthier Indians dip them in milky tea, poorer ones in water.”
Through a series of stories, Alia Allana tells us how this simple biscuit was in many forms, for many communities a way of getting through the nationwide lockdown.

Parle Power

Image for post
Photo by Charlotte Coneybeer on Unsplash

The Unwritten Rules of Oyster Fishing

The Goya Journal

For World Ocean Day, Aaron Savio Lobo studies the fascinating rules of oyster fishing, and the surprising role they play in creating a more sustainable future.

Harvesting the Future

¿What, Why?
Restaurants & Retail

¿Why are businesses exiting Delhi’s Khan Market?
Khan Market was the 20th most expensive in the world, with annual rents averaging $243 per sq foot. High rent maybe one of the problems, but not the only that’s causing restaurants to shut down.
Indian Express

¿What does future-proofing a food business look like?
Natalie Shmulik and Neil Stern talk about FAST (flexible, agnostic, safe & sustainable, technology focussed) and how this E-store mindset will help us re-envision what food spaces could be like coming out of COVID-19 and in the future.

¿Why are restaurants telling delivery platforms to do away with ‘forced platform discounting’?
With around 20% of restaurants reopening around the country for dine-in, reduced discounting and a transparent commission structure will help both restaurants and platforms get back to pre-COVID stability.
Times of India

Eating is a Political Act

Image for post

In the images above, Shivani Unakar, writer and food researcher speaks up about the discrimination on the basis of food culture following the ban of dog meat in Nagaland.

Richard Kamei a PhD candidate at Tata Institute of Social Sciences also writes
“The dog meat ban should be seen as a point where a need to reclaim indigeneity must come forth and resist the cultural imperialism and racism leading to its dismantling.”
Read Richard’s full article here

  • “Like so much of society, the colonial encounter transformed India’s self-image of its own cooking traditions. The Indian elite first copied, then adapted these forms. The cookbooks also kicked-off the process of a more mixed “Indian” cuisine.”
    Caste, class and aspiration: What old cookbooks reveal about new India — Scroll.in
  • “As much as Indian restaurants boast of having a dedicated Chinese section in their menus, much to our disappointment, the deep-fried chicken dipped in a spicy concoction of soy sauce and schezwan sauce is as Indian as Golden caramel latte.”
    Athawale’s Chinese food ban: These Chinese-Indian dishes don’t exist in China — The Free Press Journal
  • “At ‘home’ in India, caste and commensality still play an active role in who can eat what and who is allowed to share what kinds of food. Vegetarianism, access to the best quality of food, even fruits like the mango, have always been an upper-class, upper-caste hegemony.”
    The Pleasure and Politics of Eating Mangoes, by Apoorva Sripathi — Vittles
  • “How much would it change things? If we’re going to spend so much time talking about how food unites the world, wouldn’t it be sensible to make translation a part of that exchange — at the very least, it would go quite a ways toward not excusing anyone’s ignorance around things like red palm oil or turmeric.”
    Why Aren’t We Translating Food Media? by Alicia Kennedy


👩‍🌾The newly launched Microsoft for Agritech Startups program is designed to help startups build industry-specific solutions, scale, and grow with access to deep technology, business, and marketing resources.

💰“Probably the biggest challenge we have faced is changing the mindset of rural consumers,” founder-director Jatin Singh said. “We have had to teach them that insurance, with its small upfront cost, is worth paying to avoid risks that could destroy your farm and family.”
Start-up GramCover has raised it’s pre-Series A funding for rural insurance network

🪔Amrita Amesur dives deep into India’s relationships with palm oil starting in the early 1990s where adulterated oils and a new food safety policy saw the decline of indigenous Indian edible oils and the rise of imported refined oils

🦇These nocturnal creatures are responsible for many of the fruits we love today. Akhila Vijayaraghavan, a microbiologist gives a creates a new narrative acknowledging the bat’s role in evolution.


Image for post

We had an exciting meet-up earlier last month with Akash Muralidharan who in his 100-day project of cooking with forgotten vegetables from the book “Samaithu Paar”, Akash has shared recipes, illustrations, and stories on his Instagram channel.

We also conducted a small activity where we called out most of the vegetable-based dishes from the popular Swiggy restaurant — Homely. Since Homely promises ghar ka khaana, we wanted to see how many of the vegetables were present in their dishes.This activity sparked a lot of conversations around restaurants and the role they play in influencing our food choices.

Head over to our website to catch up on notes from the meet-up.

Also, read more about Akash’s project on CondeNast Traveller.

The State of Indian Nutrition

The Global Nutrition Report is the world’s leading independent assessment of the state of global nutrition. It is data-led and produced independently each year to cast a light on where progress has been made and identify where challenges remain.

As per the 2020 Global Nutrition Report, India is on track to achieve 0 targets to be achieved by 2025.

Some highlights from the report w.r.t India can be found below. And here’s the detailed report if you’d like to read it.

Image for post


No doubt this year has seen potential ideas and solutions for change. If you are one of those people who have a big idea but are not sure where to get started here are some programs we have come across in the last weeks.

🍖India Smart Protein Innovation Challenge
The India Smart Protein Innovation Challenge is aimed at inspiring students, researchers and entrepreneurs to equip themselves with the skills to tackle pressing problems and enter that market.
Learn More

🍻Innovation Brewery | BudSmart 2020
Innovation Brewery is an open innovation team of AB InBev based out of Bangalore. AB InBev is the world’s largest beer company with 500+ Brands and sells its product in more than 100 countries. The BudStart program new batch is focused on Procurement and Sustainability and be part of the journey to achieve their 2025 sustainability goals.
Sign Up

👨‍🎓Thought For Food Ambassador 2020
TFF is dedicated to empowering young people everywhere in the world with the skills, connections, and mindsets they need to transform our food system. The TFF Ambassador Program has created uncountable connections and experiences for young changemakers and taken the TFF movement to new heights. With their support, we are able to leverage our global reach and impact in different communities all over the world.

Applications for the TFF Ambassador program 2020 are now open! Join the global community of leaders & changemakers that are solving food security through innovation and collaboration.
Check out their website

Image for post

A Circular Economy Guide for Restaurants

Image for post

Discovered this via the internets and like what you read? Join our newsletter!