Aishwarya Ramesh

A ‘meaty’ touch to every meal - a taste of non-veg pickles category in India

Meatigo introduced meat pickles and TenderCuts has been in the pickle market for a while. Here’s a sample of India’s non-vegetarian pickles market.

For most Indians, their meals are incomplete without pickles. Mostly made of vegetables, fruits and sometimes even meat, pickles are preserved to have a longer shelf life through the process of fermentation (usually with vinegar, brine or salts). These pickles are spicy, pack a punch and are full of flavour.

There are multiple brands in India that operate in the non-vegetarian pickles category. Meatigo and TenderCuts deliver non-veg pickles to users’ doorsteps. Nomad Food Project and Beevi’s are relatively smaller in scale, but still trying to leave their mark.

Then there are brands that have been around for much longer, like Everplus Mix Pickle, Konaseema Pickles, Eastern, Viking’s, Double Horse and Keya. These brands are more established in different markets. The non-veg pickles category faces strong competition from home-made and locally sourced pickles.

Data from Ipsos, a Paris-based global market research firm, reveals that the organised pickle industry is worth around Rs 400 crore, but the non-veg pickles industry is largely unorganised, dominated by local players and cottage industries. This makes its popularity fragmented and highly niche, but there are companies still trying to cater to these tastes.

Meatigo has a range of non-veg pickles, which includes flavours such as sweet and spicy prawn sambal, smoked chicken pickle, pork pickle and zesty chicken sambal.

Gayatri Tampi, CMO, Meatigo (and Prasuma), says that the brand’s pickle flavours are influenced by Malaysian, Sri Lankan and South East Asian cuisines. The team also drew inspiration from their own families, lived experiences and the flavours they grew up with.

Gayatri Tampi
Gayatri Tampi

“Our TG is people who don’t have the time or expertise to go through with the pickling process themselves. We target working individuals and students who don’t have the time to prep and plan elaborate meals, and can use pickles as a quick fix solution.”

"Our TG is people who don’t have the time or expertise to go through with the pickling process themselves."
Gayatri Tampi

Tampi adds that Meatigo is still in the process of collecting consumer feedback on the newly introduced flavours. The company is looking to target an experimentative audience segment.

"We expect to see sales and traction for the non-veg pickles from our existing customer base."
Gayatri Tampi

“We expect to see sales and traction for the non-veg pickles from our existing customer base. They already buy the raw materials from us. There is scope for this product in different states. I’ve eaten freshwater fish pickle in Gujarat, mutton pickles in Rajasthan, fish and pork pickles in Goa and Kerala. Wherever there is a history of meat consumption, there will be pickle consumption in that state,” she says.

"Wherever there is a history of meat consumption, there will be pickle consumption in that state."
Gayatri Tampi

Nishanth Chandran, founder and CEO, TenderCuts, tells afaqs! that around 90 per cent of the company’s business comes from the sale of chicken, mutton, fish and cold cuts. Around 3-4 per cent of the company’s sales come from its pickles segment. TenderCuts currently has presence in Chennai, Hyderabad and has recently entered the Bengaluru market.

Nishanth Chandran
Nishanth Chandran

“We introduced non-veg pickles around three years ago with a preservative-free pickle. Preservatives are important in pickles to ensure they have a long shelf life. Jars with a 300-400 ml capacity will last consumers for about four months, but the pickle has to stay fresh until the consumer finishes the jar. That’s why we introduced small packs for these products. Without preservatives, these pickles have a shelf life of about 60 days.”

Chandran adds that a family of three can easily consume 150 ml in 20-35 meals. He agrees with Tampi’s point - that it is predominantly men and women who live by themselves and students who buy these pickles to spice up their food.

Nomad Food Project infuses bacon, chorizo and prawn into most of their products to create savoury jams and condiments. “Housewives and families end up using them to whip up quick breakfasts. Or maybe, it's an evening snack that their kids want after playing football, and for individuals living alone,” says co-founder Advaith Inamke.

He stresses that the pickles his company make are very similar to home-made products, since they don’t use chemical preservatives “What we bring to the table in this saturated market of pickles and chilli oils, is a fresh take, i.e., a smokey bacon condiment, which is ready to eat, in a jar.”

Advaith Inamke (L) and Aditya Rai (R), The Nomad Project founders
Advaith Inamke (L) and Aditya Rai (R), The Nomad Project founders

Inamke says that non-veg pickles are mostly popular in the southern and northeastern regions of India. “We do see great traction coming from these areas, mainly Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam, but the majority of our market lies in metropolitan cities, Mumbai being on the top.”

Inamke and his team started market research when they were still in college and began product development once they graduated. According to him, their inspiration comes from regional cuisines of India, for products like Bacon Thecha or the Goan Chorizo Jam.

To solve the preservative conundrum, Nomad Food Project creates products in small batches and stocks them in the warehouse for a limited period of time. Inamke reveals that bacon fat keeps all the goodies in the jar stable for a longer period of time, without any use of preservatives.

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