The scrumptious warm deliciousness of waffles was first introduced to the world as early as 14th century through an anonymous manuscript called Le Menagier de Paris. The beauty of waffles comes from the perfect combination of flour, milk and eggs to bring together a warm crunchy and filling dish. Internationally, waffles are extremely popular as a mainstream breakfast option, with every family having a unique recipe for their idea of perfection. However, in India, the dish wasn’t as popular until the last few years. Today the industry has blossomed to constitute almost 6-8% of the overall Indian dessert industry.
Internationally, waffles play an extremely important part of all-day breakfast menus in various cafes. From classic combinations like maple syrup and whipped cream to unique ones like charcoal ice-cream and black waffles, waffles have great prominence, in the international markets. They are a popular daily breakfast option, much like the Upma or Idli in India. However, the introduction of waffles to the Indian market brought forth a new perception towards the popular morning meal.
Indians generally prefer savoury dishes in the morning and therefore, waffles couldn’t make a mark as strong as its international counterparts in this country. Instead, they were viewed as high-end gourmet dessert options which were earlier available only in 5-star restaurants or cafes. With globalisation of food preferences of Indian audiences, especially among the millennial generation, waffles have now become the replacement to gulab jamuns and rasgullas for the millennial generation and a form of urban street dessert. Waffles, therefore, owe their growth and popularity to the versatility of the dish from being a breakfast option to dessert, and even a street snack.
Despite the recent trend in healthy and organic diets, waffles have flourished in every market across the world owing to their indulgence factor. Not only are they a favoured dish for foodies but also for health-conscious people due to options like multi-grain waffles being available at various places. In India, the millennial generation are the driving force behind waffle sales as they are more experimental with their food choices. With their exposure to the western culture, the popularity of waffles has grown among this generation. The rise of waffles among this generation has unlocked the potential of the waffle industry in India, leading to national and international brands now having presence across the country. With pocket-friendly options and unique Indianised combination options, even the older generation of consumers are now consuming them as a preferred dessert.
Finally, an important contributor to the growth of the waffle trend is the Instagram-worthiness of the dish. Instagram is an integral marketing tool for product awareness and customer engagement. People today love taking pictures of their food and sharing it on their online profiles which has given motivation to waffle brands to make their offerings more aesthetically pleasing. Trends like charcoal waffles, red velvet waffles, and such are the result of this trend making waffles an even more widely accepted dish.
Thus, with the combined effects of the versatility of the dessert, its aesthetic appeal and its capacity to be Indianised has led to the trend of waffles to be one of the prominent trends in today’s F&B industry.
By Saurabh Rathore, Founder and CEO, Gobble Me Good