Friday, March 16, 2007

Retail Markets

Just look at the photo and it could be a store anywhere in the world. The same Pringles, Oreos, Chips Ahoy etc. stocked on the shelves. There is only one such place in Chennai though (Amma Naana). Its where the ex-pats shop. And those who have moved back from living overseas. The exorbitant prices prohibit people from shopping here on a regular basis though. I've also found that though you are able to find most non-Indian branded food products, the packets are pretty close to their expiration dates, and some are downright stale. But, (woohoo!), they even have Starbucks Mocha Fraps!

Recently opened are a chain of grocery stores by the Reliance Group, Reliance Fresh. I visited one today and was pretty impressed. The shelves are lined with fresh fruit and vegetables and the staff are helpful and courteous, though sometimes they seem to be following you around and I enjoy shopping alone, making my own decisions, picking my own vegetables.

Its a great alternative to the vegetable vendor who comes to your doorstep, just because of the range available. The prices are extremely reasonable, which leads me to wonder how long that will last. (I took some great photos inside the store, but was pulled aside as I was leaving, and made to delete it from my camera infront of the security guy!) So, here's one I got of the outside of the store (with their permission). And another of the Indian cricket t-shirts being sold there to support the team! Of course, I had to buy one!

Reliance Fresh is also a great alternative to Nilgiris, which for a long long while has been department-store-of-choice for most of Chennai. More from a lack of alternatives, I believe. Hopefully Reliance Fresh will maintain the clean shelves, happy staff and low prices!


Sig said...

Good to know that you can find most stuff in India these days.
I wonder why they made you delete your pics, did they think you worked for a competitor or something?

Anonymous said...

Hi Arundathi,
Is this the Amma Naana right oppostite Park Sheraton near Boat Club Road? If it is , then I used to go there frequently :-) It's so nice to see the place ( even though it's just a pic) after all these years!I lived on Boat Club Road for a little bit ,then moved to Abhiramapuram and finally left all that behind and moved to the U.S . We also used to shop a lot at Food World. I wonder if they still have that chain.
Whereabouts in Chennai do you live?
Thanks for bringing back some great memories :-)

Arundathi said...

@ Sig: Yup I'm sure they thought I was gonna go out and copy the concept. The guy told me that they haven't even let journalists take photos. Oh well.

@ MK: Yes, its the same Amma Naana opp Park Sheraton. Unbelievably, they haven't opened any other locations. And Food World still exists and is doing well, after being taken over by the Spencer's group. a

Sangeetha said...

hi arundathi,

yea u do find everything in amma nanna's, especially the wide variety of cheeses which they have that are not really available anywhere else.

as for reliance, they will be fine only as long as they maintain the low prices. we have one here near my place in thiruvanmiyar, and the prices are lower than that in the market. otherwise, it is back to the market for everyone else.


Arundathi said...

Sangeetha - have you tried Maison de Gourmet for their cheeses? The variety is fabulous. I've blogged about them as well. They have a wide variety of unusual veggies too.

Raaga said...

I'm enjoying reading yur blog... :) a hard core Chennai-ite that I am.

amudha manoharan said...

Thanks for your excellent guide man

Shop in Chennai

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