Offering Victoria on the plate

Offering Victoria on the plate

Mixed cuisine

Exploring : Mark Morley, Geoffrey Conaghan and D D Saxena.

Over 46 Victorian companies are in the country for the largest ever trade mission to India where they hope to to tap into the Indian food and beverage market. The three main representatives of this one-of-its -kind mission — D D Saxena, Managing Director of Riverina Oils and Bio Energy; Mark Morley, International Market Manager, Regional Development Victoria and Geoffrey Conaghan, Commissioner to India — tell Metrolife how similar the food habits of both the countries are and what they expect out of this mission.

Mark Morley says such a step, taken by the Victorian Government, is huge considering the ban that was imposed a few years ago.

“Victoria has so much to offer especially when it comes to food and beverages. It’s known for its cheese and wine and I am sure that it’s a fantastic opportunity for both the countries,” he says.

Geoffrey adds, “Australia means good quality food. While the brand image is high, the deliverance is low and through this mission, we hope that it will be achieved.”
The delegation, comprising food and beverage producers, importers and food service companies, is headed by D D Saxena.

“The Indian market is coming of age and over the years, one can see that there is a tremendous change in eating habits. I remember there was a time where only a few sections of the society would order a bottle of wine for dinner but today walk into a restaurant and every table has one. The question is, at what point is people ready to pay for quality? And with the kind of quality Victoria is ready to offer, I am sure people won’t be disappointed,” explains D D Saxena.

The wine culture is not alien to Australia. Mark says that wine in Victoria is not a luxury item unlike here.

“In fact many people go for weekend drives to wineries and stack up cases to take back home,” he adds.

Many of the ingredients available in Victoria can be easily adapted into Indian cooking, largely due to the many cultures that influence their cooking. According to them, there is no such thing as ‘authentic’ Australian cuisine. In fact, a lot depends on the immigrants who live there, that’s why Indian cuisine too is something that one is very familiar with out there. “Also, Victoria is a hot State and it understands the cuisine of a hot country like India. That way, here too, the use of Victorian ingredients in Indian cooking would be easy,” adds Geoffrey.

The trade mission will soon participate in the Annapoorna - World of Food Trade show in Mumbai where they will showcase a range of food products and interact with wholesalers and retailers in India and show how Australian produce can contribute to India’s growing interest in food fusion.

“This will be the one of the many missions and we only hope that we get enough visibility in the market and educate people out here what Victorian food is all about,” concludes Mark.

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