Taste'L Fine Foods: Bespoke Innovations By the Food Connoisseurs

Ajay Kumar Talwar, Founder & MD

Ajay Kumar Talwar

Founder & MD

Take any recipe in the world and it will possess that one distinctive ingredient that renders it its base character, gives it authenticity and creates the soul of the dish. Sometimes it is mild, like Kaffir lime leaves in a Thai curry, some times it is bold like chipotle chilies in a smoky chipotle sauce and sometimes even bitter like kasoori methi in a butter chicken gravy. While these are best found in their home countries, they are tactfully and regularly sourced into the sophisticated innovation Center of Taste’L Fine Food, where they surpass the grind of multiple nutritional and sensory tests and find their way to an R&D kitchen where expert chefs and food technologists bring cooking sauces, curries and pastes from across the world to life. What makes them special you ask? It is the commitment to the authenticity of flavor and the traceability of ingredients. Under the expert guidance of Founder and Managing Director Ajay Kumar Talwar, Taste’L Fine Food has created innovative products that master global recipes and today have found resounding success and acceptance on the shelves of the world’s top most supermarkets.

The beginning of this story however is rather humbling. It began with a 17 year old Ajay who joined the Taj group of hotels as a cook in the late 80s. Soon, he migrated to being a working professional in the processed food industry where he developed close to a 100 new products for his firm.Life would have continued the same way for yet another decade had it not been for that pivotal day in his life. It is the day that arrives in every ‘to be’ entrepreneur’s life, the day he asks himself, why am I doing this for some one

else when I could do it for myself? There began his entrepreneurial journey and with it came into existence Taste’L Fine Food Private Limited. “In an era where India was majorly known for exporting papad, pickles and spices, we were the first to develop pastes and sauces in a shelf stable format, we were a phenomenon at that time” says Ajay. Today Taste’L runs two fully owned facilities, one with all accreditations like BRC, USDA Organic and EU certified Sites producing Ready To Heat and serve meals and specialty cooking sauces. The other Plant produces Ethnic frozen snacks with exports to USA, Canada, Middle-East, Australia, and some parts of Europe.

Customized Offerings for Various Cultures
Today our Instagram and Facebook feeds are populated by tabletop food videos. A host of individuals are making YouTube media brands by simply posting instructional cooking videos of their local recipes. Authentic restaurants are making their way into the biggest and the smallest cities of the world exposing cultures to a host of different flavors and preparations. The world indeed is becoming smaller, however palates and the
ease with which they accept different flavors vary. For instance, a stronger and hotter flavor profile of Butter Chicken is accepted in India where as a milder profile of the same product is accepted in Australia. It is Taste’L’s ability to understand these fine differences that helps in creating a customized solution as per the target geography. This makes it easy for them to scale and penetrate new markets. Furthermore, the products are aimed to make cooking more convenient. The ‘ready to cook’ range, simply requires the user to add vegetables or meat to the cooking sauces that are provided in the packs and in minutes a delicacy can be served to the table. The ‘ready to serve’ range just requires the user to heat and serve. Their bestsellers in this range include Green Thai Curry, Red Thai Curry, Yellow Thai Curry, Vietnamese lemongrass sauce, Japanese Teriyaki sauce, and Japanese Katsu curry.

"Today Taste'L runs two fully owned facilities, one with all accreditations like BRC, USDA organic and EU Certified sites producing ready to heat and serve Meals and specialty cooking sauces"

Ahead of the curve, at the cusp of change and ready for the future
Taste’L has always prided itself in being ahead of its time and even today has its eye on the next big wave in the food industry. Shaurya Talwar, a second-generation entrepreneur and Director of business development at Taste’L believes that every trend presents an opportunity with a window period and if you see it late, it’s as good as missed. “The food of the world is going through a protein migration, from products of animal origin to vegan and vegetarian alternatives, Taste’L has taken Indian staples like Dal Makhani that rely heavily on dairy products and has created a dairy free alternative” says Shaurya Talwar. With the millennial generation having increased buying power, their ideologies are beginning to reflect in their lifestyle choices and food preferences. Health and fitness is key to a generation to whom physical appeal is extremely important. Taste’L has created a range of products for various low carb and high protein diets. There is also an increased sensitivity to the environment and people prefer to buy organic and sustainable products. “We intend to make Taste’L fully Natural & Organic Food Processors in the next three years, we are already creating sustainable food solutions for some of our international clients, it is only a matter of time that India too will follow suit” adds Shaurya Talwar.

Foraying into the vibrant Indian market
A decade ago, most Indians would need to go to restaurants to sample different cuisines. ‘Eating out’ was an event for a family. Today, the scenario is vastly different. The best delicacies of world cuisines can be brought onto our dining tables with the push of a button. Food delivery services are changing the very

way in which Indians consume food and there lies the opportunity. Today, we have cloud kitchens that prepare food for many brands offering different cuisines but in fact own no physical restaurant. They need to be fast and innovative to keep up with the host of other restaurants on the app. Taste’L with its rich offerings of Mother sauces and solutions for QSRs, Multispecialty Cuisine chains, Cloud Kitchens, Institutional Catering, Defense with customized and Nutritional offerings that reduce preparation time, Wastages, maintain consistency, decentralize Kitchen to be more efficient.

Taste'L has always prided itself in being ahead of its Time and even today has its eye on the next big wave in the food industry

Next Gen India
“India is poised to grow at a fast pace in Agro processed products in next decade where value addition is the Key for double digit growth, as India is at 13 percent in food Processing wherein the world average is 40 percent”, says Ajay Talwar. Taste’L Fine Foods is surely sitting on a great opportunity to set up processing units every 150 Kms of Agro produce to cut down fresh produce wastages by 20 percent by converting them in long life Frozen or ambient aseptic packs for long life for all seasonal produce.

What Ajay Talwar had started is gradually becoming a trend setter in the Processed Food industry. Soon enough, when the Food Processing industry reaches its peak in India, Taste’L Fine Foods will become a beacon, more like a reference to how the Indian flavors actually made it to several parts of the world.