Learning about geography of India’s food habits from Zomato’s annual report

Fascinating piece by Anil Padmanabhan in Mint (HT: Avinash Tripathi). The piece is based on this annual report of Zomato, the food app which itself is so cool to read. I mean annual report written like a blog post.

Anil writes how the annual report gives many insights on culinary tastes of India:

Last week Zomato, the online food ordering and discovery platform, shared its annual report with a covering letter from its CEO—frightfully similar to the annual missive from Jeff Bezos to Amazon’s shareholders (But then no harm in copying a good idea, right?) Among other things, the annual report carried a revealing culinary map derived by crunching the big data generated from the company’s food delivery business. While it does demonstrate Zomato’s expanding footprint, the subtext, in this instance, is of far more significance.

But first some of the highlights:

—Tuni, a town in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, is the smallest emerging city and almost cashless.

—Kota in Rajasthan has been identified as the largest emerging city.

—Ahmedabad in Gujarat saw the most deliveries in a Tier-2 city.

—Indore in Madhya Pradesh requested more midnight deliveries than Mumbai.

—Bhagalpur and Gaya in Bihar have more cyclists than bike-riders.

—Pizza is the most preferred dish in Anand, Gujarat.

—Abohar municipal corporation in Punjab, saw 1,000 deliveries on launch day.

—Among Tier-3 cities, Jammu’s citizens are most likely to eat fast food.

A quick perusal of the highlights reveal that the company’s new-found success is outside Tier-1 cities. On the face of it, rather counter-intuitive; but not, if one keeps in mind the bigger picture. For one, there is an emerging convergence in consumption habits between urban and rural India (as captured in the data put out by the National Sample Survey Office). Second, is the phenomenon called Rurban India—the grey area between rural and urban areas, essentially large villages that mimic the demographic characteristics of a town. Not only has this made the consumer map contiguous, the convergence in consumption habits of rural and urban India, together, with growth in internal migration, has made it easier for companies to standardize their products and embrace scale.

See this map from the annual report:

Food delivery happening via crossing Brahmaputra!

These companies are part of this so called big-data revolution. It will be really useful to get annual reports of similar app based companies…

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