Roshni Nair

Roshni P. Nair joins us from Reuters, where she was an online producer. With a background in weekend features at Hindustan Times and DNA, Roshni has written on subjects ranging from India’s amateur UFO investigators to the provenance of sambhar. When not pursuing story ideas, she enjoys reading, making a great cuppa adrak chai, playing with street dogs, and avoiding large gatherings. Roshni will work out of Mumbai and can be reached at roshni at the rate the-ken.com

19 Articles published

Top Comments by Roshni Nair

Up all night: Capitalising on India’s big sleep gap

Hello Amrit, Glad you asked me this question. This sleep scorecard had 16,000 respondents across India at the time of the data being published (March). Now, compared to Bangalore (5,000 respondents), Mumbai had only 1,500 respondents at the time. So essentially, only 2% of this group reported sleeping on time, or sleeping before 1a.m. Even then, this is more than the sample size in the Godrej Interio survey, and even the annual global sleep survey Philips conducts (in its latest report, it only had 1,000 respondents across India). As I've mentioned in the copy, one wouldn't be wrong in raising questions over surveys conducted by private companies - or surveys with limited sample sizes at the time of announcement. But this underlines the cold-shouldering of sleep deprivation research in India. It's telling that mattress and wearables companies, which have limited reach, are the only ones shedding *some* light on how we sleep. Never mind that most of these may be dipstick in nature; that there's no central concern over sleep deprivation is more problematic. But coming back to Mumbai: Wakefit's survey is an ongoing one. It remains to be seen what their findings will be in 2020.

Roshni Nair

Future of meat: The meat-ing point for non-veg lovers and vegans

Thank you Amit. As of now, there aren't many alt-meat/alt-animal product startups here. The most visible one, Good Dot (one of its investors is New Crop Capital, which has invested in some 35 alt-meat products worldwide), claims sales of 10,000-15,000 (packets) daily. GoodMylk operates only in Bangalore, but is planning to expand soon. These apart, there are a handful of mock meat brands like Vezlay - not to mention, a cultural history of consuming kathal or jackfruit as 'vegetarian meat' - that have been around for a while, and still are. I think consumer interest is definitely there (esp. for alt dairy, which will have a taste and texture advantage over soy + almond milk). What remains to be seen is which category gets the quickest/most enthusiastic response.

Roshni Nair

Corkeyed: Millennials are changing India’s wine industry

Hello Chintamani, Thank you for showing me the way as to how a woman should be accorded respect. However, if you'd been as observant as you are magisterial, you'd notice that the first reference/introduction to Sonal Holland is about her being India's only Master of Wine and the co-author of India Wine Insider. I do my best to add narrative colour to any story, and much of it comes from interviewees I meet face to face. Physical descriptors are used for all sources I've met in person. Whether they present as male or female is a peripheral matter. There's an obvious difference between describing how someone looks, and how someone presents themselves. Mine was the latter. Then again, I don't believe describing physical attributes is bad in and of itself. It's just tricky terrain that most male authors can't navigate.

Roshni Nair

How India got sheetfaced: Making sense of the K-beauty wave

Thank you, Zalak. I don't think it's Indian enterprises missing out as much as it is about Korean brands waiting for our market to 'mature' before dipping a toe in. I was also told that a handful of K-brands gave up at the CDSCO registration stage. The long-drawn nature of things perhaps made them think it's not worth the trouble in the still-small market that was India. But that was then. Let's see what this year portends :)

Roshni Nair

Ryzen shine: The little chip that turned AMD's Indian fortunes

Hi Parth. With respect to your first point: yes, marketing has a lot to do with the claimed specs, but it'd be unfair to call a match between 7nm and 10nm until we see actual benchmarks later this year. And yes, Ryzen did not start off with 7nm. I didn't claim it did. Its third generation does, however, use this node, and as you underlined, it's beaten Intel to it. Additionally, I don't believe Ryzen's price is the only thing working in its favour. AMD's processors have always had the price advantage, but it was the Zen architecture and Ryzen's performance as a whole that got it takers. We cannot overlook that. Lastly, that debate about more cores vs better frequency: we know it's not going to die anytime soon :) I'd argue that more cores end up being better for specific tasks, such as video rendering. Then again, that isn't the story :D

Roshni Nair

Ryzen shine: The little chip that turned AMD's Indian fortunes

Hi Gopal. The white box/components space isn't the focus of the story. Although it is, in my view, a crucial angle. As mentioned in the copy, Intel still holds fort in components, as a whole; however, its market share nosedived last year because of supply issues. And it's here that AMD sales spiked. The white box market may not be as large as the consumer one (which, as underlined in the story, AMD still struggles with), but it's the upper-tier assembly demographic that's actually experimenting with processors. We cannot ignore this gradual shift in consumer behaviour, however small it may be, if you only look at the big picture. With respect to the branded commercial market: as shown in the graph, AMD's market share has indeed plummeted compared to 2017. But they're also gunning for a clutch of public sector projects this year. Details on those weren't provided because it is election season, and companies have a code of conduct about remaining mum on such deals. As for the $1.1 billion figure: that is a ballpark average shared by industry analysts last year, as written about in the hyperlink.

Roshni Nair

How brands decide what your favourite snack tastes like

Thank you Shashvat. Couldn't agree more about (tomato) sauces. I remember Maggi having a chilli garlic and imli variant - both personal favourites, and both discontinued. Kissan had something called Chatakdaar to compete with Maggi's imli variant. That was also shelved. I was surprised about these imli sauces having short shelf lives, because Indians are suckers for the sweet-chatpata profile an imli chutney lends to chaat and 'junk', in general. Despite other brands having wider (and one would argue, better) flavour portfolios, these two brands dominate over half the market. I'd simplistically whittle it down to a combination of the legacy brand effect, and Indians not caring much for 'nuanced' table sauce and ketchup flavours.

Roshni Nair

How brands decide what your favourite snack tastes like

Thank you Kalyan. Pepsico (the parent of both Cheetos and Lays), being the conglomerate it is, has armies of in-house flavourists and food scientists. I'm not aware of what they're specifically doing with their potato chips, but wrt carbonated beverages - they just launched Nitro Pepsi days ago. It's essentially a soft drink that looks like beer, foam and all, with the 'soda bubbles' being smaller in size and settling more towards the bottom than fizzing up on top. What they've done is experiment with carbonation itself, rather than flavour. I'm assuming this is their way of arresting consumer attention, which is getting spoilt for choice from non-carbonated beverage brands. As for soya sticks, it's interesting you mention Haldiram's. I first remember seeing 'healthy snacks' like soya chips, ragi wafers, barley puffs, etc in unbranded/unlabelled packages in kirana and mid-sized retail stores. Brands realised their potential only later, when more consumers started exploring non-potato/non-fried options. Haldiram's being typically associated with 'junk food' saw the merit in expanding their portfolio here, as it were.

Roshni Nair

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