Given huge demand of bakery on Eid, big hotel chains make inroads in valley markets

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SHEIKH UZAIR

RINAGAR: Ramadhan is almost over and people have started preparing for Eid-ul-Fitr. The Eid festivities are around and valley markets are abuzz with shoppers. Apart from clothing, home accessories, meat and chicken, bakery – ranging from cookies, cakes and pastries form an integral part of the Eid shopping.

Kashmir’s love for bakery is not new. Starting the day of Eid with some sweet dish is largely believed to be the Sunnah of Prophet (PBUH) and people throughout the world prefer to eat sweets on the day of Eid. But for Kashmiri’s it is the bakery, art of which is believed to be learned from the European travellers, served with the traditional Elaichi-Milk-Kehwa, which kicks the day off.

It is this huge demand of bakery that shops preparing bakery products have mushroomed in the valley. Apart from local single shops, chains of local brands of bakery shops can be seen all around the city and other districts.

Apart from Jan Bakery, Mughal Darbar and Hattrick from the already established units, Crème by Ahdoos, The Other Side Café, Le Delice – The French Bakery and few others, offering wide range of cookies, cakes and pastries, are some new entrants in the industry.

With this ever increasing demand and love for the bakery, big hotel chains that have in recent years started their franchise in Kashmir have started producing of bakery products on the special occasion of Eid.

An international brand in hotel companies, Radisson with over 1000 hotels and resorts in 73 countries has also jumped into the market by offering bakery to the citizens of valley at its Srinagar hotel.

“For the cake lovers, Radisson Srinagar brings you the most delectable selection of cakes, pastries and cookies. Pre-order your specially crafted scrumptious delights with 20% discount on all orders,” a promotional advertisement reads.

Two big names in Kashmir hotel industry, Vivanta by Taj and The LaLiT Grand Palace – India’s largest hotel chains have already started taking orders for cakes and pastries.

Fortune DELI (delight), a café unit, at Fortune Resort Heevan, Ishber Nishat which is a member of ITC – India’s second largest hotel chain are also inviting orders through newspaper advertisements about their ‘special treats’ on this Eid.

“Eid just got a little sweeter. Freshly Baked Walnut Cake, Crisp Lemon Tart, or the Evergreen Kashmiri Shufta. Choose from a host of special treats for the special occasion,” reads their big front-page advertisement in a local newspaper.

But according to Omer Bhat, President Kashmir Bakers and Confectioners Association, this doesn’t seem to affect the local business establishments in the valley.

“Yes we have noticed these new hotel franchise offering bakery products but they are priced very highly. So it doesn’t affect our business as we cater to the middle-class population in the valley,” Omer said.

“They target the small group of elite class of the valley which would have been our customers otherwise but since that is a small percentage it won’t make a big impact,” he said.

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