Here Are 8 Indian Food Brands You Can Support to Aid COVID-19 Relief

From shopping for teas to pre-ordering a cookbook, here’s how you can help.

Indian food brands supporting COVID-19 relief
Design by Grace Han for Thrillist
Design by Grace Han for Thrillist

As India strives to fight back the second wave of COVID-19, many Indian food brands decided to pay back. One of the biggest so far is Mumbai-based chef Saransh Goila’s Covid Meals For India. Reaching three lakh people who have visited the website so far and 3500 volunteers across 300 cities in India, the website allows patients to find the closest cook who can provide them subsidized, free or paid meals. 

“The problem was so far-reaching that it could not be solved by activating people on ground,” says Goila, the founder of Goila Butter Chicken. The need for meals was far and wide, and the only solution I found was in tech.” What started as an Excel sheet quickly moved to become a website that not only connects people, but also links you to make donations for the cause. The home country also saw initiatives by food and beverage entrepreneurs like Neysa Mendes of the Good Slice and her country-wide #BakeForIndia campaign, to top Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor donating free meals to frontline workers. 

While this is in India, the diaspora abroad too stepped up—especially these eight food platforms that are helping by donating proceeds from their sales to COVID relief work. You can pitch in by supporting them, too. 

Diaspora Co: Founder Sana Javeri Kadri has been on the forefront of COVID relief work. As a payback to the country where she procures the spices from, Javeri Kadri participated in a raffle done with 16 other brands such as Kishmish and Bespiced, One Stripe Chai Co, and even listed a handy guide that one can use to make donations in India. Additionally, Diaspora Co raised $5,000 via its Kashmiri Saffron sales to help in relief work in Kashmir, where distribution of resources is scarce.

Goya Journal: This Indian food blog came up with an interesting idea to collate a cookbook with eight of the best chefs in India. Partnering with Nivaala, a platform that inspires people to record heirloom family recipes, they will be creating a cookbook. A full sum of the sales will go to Yuva, a non-profit to help distribute ration kits and run vaccine help desks for Mumbai’s most vulnerable populations. 

Sach Foods: Paneer, the backbone of North Indian cooking, Sach Food makes artisanal cottage cheese and is one of the leading makers in the USA. The brand is choosing to give back to its first home, India, by donating 15% of all online sales to organisations helping on the ground in India right now to fight the COVID-19 crisis. 

Ahista Tea: “Ahista” in Hindi means slow-paced, which is the kind of experience this tea company is trying to provide. Ahista Tea works with various Michelin-starred restaurants, boutique hotels, vegan café and coffee houses around the world. For the COVID-19 relief initiative, twenty five percent of their sales from a large range of digestive, immunity boosting, calming teas will be shared with the GiveIndia foundation. 

Malai Ice Cream: From their recent colorful Holi photo shoot to an iconic move where they reacted to the US presidential elections by launching an ice cream tub titled Madam Vice President, Pooja Bavishi knows how to make desi ice cream cool. The brand that is doling out summer specials like sweet corn saffron and pineapple and pink peppercorn, donated 10% of their in-store sales for COVID-19 relief work, and have an active link on their social media for ice cream lovers to donate directly. 

The Chai Box: India is one of the largest producers of tea, which is why care is pouring from tea brands in different parts of the world. Not only did The Chai Box brand share COVID-19 resources on its social media, the company also pledged a share of 10 percent of its sales. 

Sugar & Spice Cookbook: A cookbook called Sugar & Spices is a specialty cookbook curated by food blogger Shivani Raja. Featuring recipes like coriander chutney, masala chai, sweet potato and chickpea curry, the 19-year-old food blogger from the UK has put together a quick plant-based cookbook. Needless to say all proceeds from her book go for relief work.

Brooklyn Delhi: We’ve always loved this vegetarian Indian pantry brand that pays a tribute to two iconic locations: Brooklyn and Delhi. While the roasted garlic achaar (pickle) and golden coconut curry has all of our hearts, the company is showing a ton of hear by donating 15% of its online sales to relief work. The donation will go towards distributing meals to underprivileged families fighting hunger in COVID’s second wave.

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Sonal Ved is a Thrillist contributor and the author of Tiffin: 500 Authentic Recipes Celebrating India’s Regional Cuisine. She is the content lead at India Food Network and Tastemade India, and the food editor at Vogue India.