Traditional Indian breads are an important part of Indian cuisine. They have been a staple food in the region for thousands of years. With different spices and ingredients used, the flavours of traditional Indian breads vary from region to region. Know the varieties of traditional Indian breads, each with its own unique flavour and texture.

By Meenakumari R

India is known for its flavour-packed recipes and spices, which are used to create a variety of dishes, including breads. Traditional Indian breads are an important part of Indian cuisine, and they have been a staple food in the region for thousands of years. These are often made using whole wheat flour and are cooked on a hot griddle or in a tandoor (a traditional clay oven). The flavours of traditional Indian breads vary from region to region, with different spices and ingredients used in various parts of the country. They are not only delicious but also a nutritious and filling part of the Indian diet, providing an important source of carbohydrates and fibre.

Ingredients, Flavours and Product Types

Indian breads are often made by hand using traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations, giving them a unique and authentic flavour. There are many different types of traditional Indian breads, each with its own unique flavour and texture.

Some major traditional Indian baked breads are:

  1. Roti/Chapati – unleavened flatbreads, made of whole wheat flour which are a staple food in many parts of India and are often served with dal, vegetables or meat dishes.
  2. Paratha – a layered flatbread, stuffed with various fillings, such as potatoes, cheese or paneer, often served with yogurt or chutney.
  3. Naan – leavened bread baked in a tandoor is often served with curry or other Indian dishes.
  4. Kulcha – Kulcha is made from flour that has been allowed to rise, and is partially fermented, usually stuffed with veggies or other fillings.
  5. Puri – a deep-fried bread made with wheat flour and often served with potato curry or chana masala.
  6. Malpua – a sweet pancake-like dessert made with flour, milk and sugar that is often deep-fried and served with rabri (a sweet, condensed milk-based product).

Traditional Indian breads can be flavoured with a variety of spices and ingredients, such as garlic, onion, cumin, coriander and fenugreek. Some traditional Indian breads are stuffed with vegetables or cheese, adding another layer of flavour to the bread. Regional cuisines within India vary in terms of their flavours and ingredients. For example, South Indian cuisine often features coconut, curry leaves and tamarind, while North Indian cuisine may include more dairy products and wheat-based breads. Many traditional Indian breads are served with a variety of curries or chutneys, which complement the flavours of the bread.

Key Players, Emerging trends and Market Impactors

The Indian bakery market is highly competitive with a large number of private players. Various factors for private dominance are adapting to changing consumer preferences, wide marketing and distribution networks and high investments in innovation and R&D. Some of the top players in the Indian bakery market are:

The Indian bakery industry has been evolving rapidly over the past few years and there are several emerging trends that are shaping the industry’s future. Some of the key emerging trends in the Indian bakery industry are:

  1. Health and wellness– consumers becoming health-conscious, preferring healthier products, such as whole wheat bread, gluten-free bread, low fat and sugar-free cakes and biscuits.
  2. Premiumisation– consumers are willing to pay more for premium products that offer higher quality and innovative flavours.
  3. Localisation– diverse tastes and preferences based on regional and cultural backgrounds.
  4. Innovation– companies investing heavily in R&D of new and innovative products that cater to changing consumer tastes.
  5. Digitalisation– Indian bakeries now adopting online platforms to reach a wider audience.
  6. Sustainability– consumers now looking for eco-friendly and sustainable products, for reducing their carbon footprint and producing products that are environment friendly.
  7. Convenience– products to consume on the go, such as sandwiches, wraps and rolls cater to this need for convenience.

There are several market impactors that are shaping the Indian bakery industry that includes changing consumer preferences, urbanisation, growing middle class, technological advancements, competition and supply chain disruptions due to war.

Opportunities and challenges for the rise of traditional Indian bakery


  • Growing demand for ethnic and traditional foods
  • Increasing awareness of health and wellness
  • Growing popularity of street food
  • Rise of e-commerce.


  • Competition from industrial bakery products
  • Lack of standardisation
  • Lack of modernisation
  • Regulatory challenges in meeting regulatory requirements related to food safety, hygiene and packaging
  • Rising costs of ingredients and labour.

How Indian Traditional Bakery is Outpacing Western Bakery

Indian cuisine is gaining popularity worldwide and this trend is expected to continue. As a result, there is a growing interest in traditional Indian baked products, which are an integral part of Indian cuisine. Other factors include:

  • Healthier options- using healthier ingredients, such as whole wheat flour, millets and jaggery.
  • Affordability compared to Western products.
  • Localisation- Indian traditional bakery products cater to regional and local tastes.
  • Innovation- new flavours and combinations being introduced regularly by traditional players.
  • Convenience- sale in small, independent bakeries are easily accessible and convenient.
  • Emotional appeal- especially among older consumers and children.

Overall, the unique flavours, affordability and health benefits of Indian traditional bakery products coupled with their localisation, innovation, convenience and emotional appeal, are helping them to outpace Western bakery products in the Indian market.

About the author:

*Author is a Research Analyst at F1rst is a post-graduate in Food Technology and Management and is skilled in market research, food regulations, food process and product development.  Email: