Sustainability has become a buzzword in the last two years. Whether it is fashion or lifestyle, people have realised the need to live closer to nature and, in the process, reap numerous health benefits. Realising the potential of the same, some entrepreneurs mixed sustainability with innovation and revolutionised the way not only how people eat, but also how they cook.
With the government’s push towards Make in India and the global impetus towards innovation with low carbon footprint, young Indian entreprenuers in the kitchen appliance space are innovating and how.
While established brands have always been coming up with new kitchen appliance categories, the start-up space seems to be making a difference. Indianexpress.com reached out to some to understand their thought process, and how the market has been responding to them.
Aufla Electric Cooker, touted to be the only manufacturer in India, recently won the 2020 Global Leap Award for Best Energy Performance Category funded by UK Aid and supported by Next Program. The competition identified 13 best-in-class, affordable, energy-efficient electric pressure cookers that are appropriate for use in underserved markets, including weak-grid areas where grid connections are intermittent and of inconsistent quality, as well as areas where energy comes from small-scale solar systems or mini-grids. Yash Santosh Parmar, the brain behind the innovation subsequently received a grant of $50,000 from UK Aid.
In keeping with the essence of the Make in India initiative that focuses on creation, advanced manufacturing, raw materials and technologies to produce products within the country that have no adverse environmental consequences, the electric cooker promises electricity consumption of just 0.01 unit a day for three hours of cooking.
“If we don’t save the last leftover fossil fuel, then our future generations will not even get to see it or rather at that time, it will be sold at gold’s rate. Because of burning of fossil fuels, there are so many health problems people are facing. So, switching to electricity (sans fossil fuels) is the best option as India is fast growing and our Prime Minister is even electrifying many villages every year. We need to switch to electricity so that fossil fuels will be saved,” the 24-year-old told indianexpress.com.
The outer body of the cooker is 0.6mm in thickness, something not available in the market at present. The pressure cooker, at present, offers a maximum of 0.4 mm thickness. This particular cooker also has a SS Triply Base Inner Pot, with a double pressure switch control. “One can make various Indian food items according to Indian taste. The wires used inside the cooker are fireproof,” said Yash, who claims that in the past two years, there “has not been a single faulty piece returned or a complaint from any customer”. The product’s variants are available in the price range of Rs 4,000-Rs 6,000 on its website.
‘Zero Defect Zero Effect’ has been the Government of India’s Make in India slogan which was coined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Not just sustainability, Yash said doing something different also meant trying to address the gender equation in households. “As I gathered the data during my research phase, I found out that because of cooker blasts, every day there are so many women who are losing their lives. So, I wanted to make cooking safer, and easier for everyone. Even men can cook easily too,” he shared.
There are many other similar initiatives. Few of them are clay cooker-producing start-up OrgoLove, or Agnisumukh’s ceramic stoves that reduce fuel consumption by 70 per cent.
Actuarial analyst-turned-entreprenuer Kaviya Cherian from Kerala’s Kochi launched Green Heirloom, a traditional cookware business, after experiencing the difference in taste and aroma of the food which is made in it. “While I was working as an actuarial analyst in Mumbai, my work wasn’t fulfilling and I knew I had to do something on my own. So I quit my job and came back home to Kerala. When I came back my grandmother was going to undergo cataract surgery so I went and stayed with her to help her out. While I was helping her out I could see a drastic difference between the cookware we use at home and the cookware my grandmother uses. If I were to buy a cookware I would go to a big supermarket where the only options I saw available were non-stick pans or hard-anodised aluminum cookware. That’s what prompted me to start Green Heirloom,” she mentioned.
She explains that the feedback has been positive, especially now that many people are waking up to the benefits of cooking in traditional cookware.
The platform established in August 2020 retails traditional cookware made out of clay, cast iron, stoneware and bronze/kansa items on its website by the same name. One can find tawa, kadai, skillet, appam pans, mortar pestle, among others. The price point ranges from Rs 450 for a terracotta clay curd setter to Rs 5,900 for the bronze vessels. While the life of a non-stick pan is only 4-6 years and one needs to discard the pan causing pollution, traditional cookware lasts a lifetime.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.