This month has been quite exciting because I’ve been trying out different food Ahmedabad has to offer. When I’m not eating, I’m busy going down Instagram rabbit holes only to find healthy food brands mushrooming out of homes in the city.
One of my many scrolling trips led me to Dip Trip, a local Instagram shop. One look at Dip Trip’s offerings will make you wonder what’s unique about a healthy, preservative-free, vegan dip brand (of course, non-vegetarians can eat it too!). But a closer look reveals never-seen-before flavours of hummus, pesto and salad dressings that are made with ingredients Amdavadis don’t commonly cook with. “Kale, celery, moringa, wheat grass are now commonly available in the city, but no one uses them. We wanted to make people aware of these healthy ingredients and show how they can be used,” says Yashasvi Shah, co-owner and founder of Dip Trip.
From Home Kitchen To Instagram Store
But before Shah’s life started revolving around making unique dips, she worked as a set designer in Mumbai. As the pandemic forced the film industry to stop shoots, Shah moved home to Ahmedabad. “My brother and my mom often experiment with a lot of recipes. And, as my brother is focused on eating healthy; we make a lot of hummus and pesto at home,” says Shah.
As the pandemic went on, Shah’s kitchen experiments transpired into an idea to have her own brand of healthy food products. She got her friend and now business partner, Manali Mehta to help her out and soon enough the duo launched their brand from Shah’s home kitchen.
Mehta and Shah produce small batches of the items on their menu; and as all products are preservative-free, they’re made fresh-to-order. “It’s one of our biggest hurdles. But we do spend nights and manage to make everything. That’s why we only take pre-orders. Everything is made in my home kitchen and sent out”, says Shah.
You can try a Smoky Activated Charcoal hummus, Curry Leaf hummus, Queen Green Kale pesto, Moringa & Mixed Greens pesto, Mint-Parsley vinaigrette among other varieties. The brand has also extended its offerings to salad bowls, and hosts a salad pop-up every Sunday and Monday offering two varieties each week. They take pre-orders via the number on their Instagram and get it delivered to your doorstep.
Talking about how she got around to coming up with unique recipes, Shah says, “I used to drink celery juice a lot when I lived in Mumbai. But when you consume celery, you use the stalk and the leaves are wasted. So we thought, why not use it to make a pesto and add other greens to the mix too.” It’s all trial and error in the kitchen. If the experiments with different greens and ingredients – amla, barley grass, wheatgrass, and more – work, then they find their way on the menu. “We’ve also tried several different products available in the market and I know you won’t find anything like what we offer”, she adds.
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Shah also ensures that there is 100 percent transparency. All the ingredients that go in are mentioned on the label along with the calorie count. And, they truly try to keep it healthy; “Using extra virgin olive oil does increase our costs. But, it’s healthier than regular olive oil and definitely tastes different. We only want to offer what’s truly healthy.”
As for the ingredients, they’re all sourced locally (as much as possible, at least) from hydroponic farms and other organic farms in and around Ahmedabad. “These farms grow all kinds of leafy greens, so accessing them is easier. And, some ingredients come from farms that our friends own too.” That’s why the price point at Dip Trip is also slightly higher, “we avoid inferior quality ingredients”, says Shah.
Building An Amdavadi Brand
While a market full of exotic veggies is great, do Amdavadis really love eating healthy? “We still see some reluctance. People usually think that you can only make pasta with pesto. But in fact, our products can be used as a dip, spread, a dressing or something else”, says Shah. However, the salad bowl pop-up has worked well for the brand. “It’s more accessible. People are getting a ready bowl of salad that’s healthy to consume”, she says.
She also adds that the brand doesn’t get too many online orders yet, and is growing thanks to word-of-mouth. It’s probably because Amdavadis are still exploring their city’s brands coming up online. Or perhaps, there’s hesitance to try a brand that’s not on store shelves. The brand’s regular customers are usually people who are genuinely focussed on eating healthy; and gradually Dip Trip is earning an increasingly loyal customer base.
Staying Truly Local
The story of their delivery guy is also quite heart-warming and makes the brand truly Amdavadi. While bigger metros like Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore have several apps that pick-up and deliver parcels on the same day, Ahmedabad relies on Swiggy Genie alone. “We fortunately found a delivery guy who works somewhere else. He was voluntarily helping COVID-19 patients earlier; but told us he was happy to take on more work and would deliver our orders for us.”
As we try to be more supportive of local brands, Dip Trip is definitely worth keeping your eyes on. Right from the ingredients, its founders to the guy who’ll deliver your parcels – everything screams local. But more importantly, Dip Trip is trying to turn heads not only with its unique flavours, but also by pushing Amdavadis to adopt a healthier lifestyle.