Hey folks!

Indian filter coffee is having its moment in the sun.

The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, believes that companies like Bengaluru’s Hatti Kaapi can compete with international names like Starbucks and give them a run for their money.

And he may not be wrong after all. Because a fortnight ago, India’s filter coffee ranked second on TasteAtlas’ (a popular food and travel guide platform) list of the ‘Top 38 Coffees In The World’.

Also, India is the 8th largest coffee producer globally and we export over 70% of the coffee we make. And countries like Italy, Belgium, Germany and Russia probably love our coffee because they’re some of our major markets.

Could India’s filter coffee swing it out of the park with this newfound recognition and a push from the government? You tell us.

Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵

Past Midnight by Five Little Indians

Let’s jump right in!

A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀

Cotton candy and gobi manchurian are in trouble

Cotton candy and gobi manchurian are disappearing from Indian streets!

Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and Himachal Pradesh have banned making and selling cotton candy on streets altogether while Goa’s Mapusa has done the same with gobi manchurian. And now, Karnataka is a new addition to the list of governments chasing street vendors who sell these foods.

So, what’s going on?

Well, the sugar-spun cloud candy and the veg cousin of chicken manchurian are both widely loved street foods. But Indian state governments have also found another common attribute that these delicacies might share - cancer!

See, foods like these can’t really be made without artificial colour because colourless cotton candy or pale coloured gobi manchurian obviously wouldn’t attract anybody. And India’s food regulator, the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has marked only a specific set of food colours and flavours as safe for consumption.

But apparently street vendors are using unpermitted dyes like Rhodamine B to make them appealing.

What’s that, you ask?

Well, it’s not a food colouring agent. It’s actually a chemical dye used in textiles and it can even help locate leaks in the sewage industry. And when consumed in small quantities over time, it can also have carcinogenic effects.

And that’s exactly why governments are after them.

Because street vendors are not really regulated like hotels or packaged foods, they often tap into the unorganised network to access these cheap alternatives to permitted food colours  

But we’ll be wrong if we only blame the poor street vendors. Because think about it. If they’re easily able to buy such chemicals, then the regulation on the trade and supply of stuff like Rhodamine B is probably weak, no?

Anyway, Karnataka has only warned vendors against the use of non-permitted food colours and hasn’t enforced a blanket ban on the sale of cotton candy or gobi manchurian. It's also spreading public awareness on the issue.

In the meantime, vendors in Tamil Nadu who’d been selling colourless clouds of cotton candy after the ban, have found a new way to retain its pink hue. They’re now using rose milk essence! The ingredient not only brings a twist to how the candy tastes, but is also being trusted by parents who were earlier skeptical about its safety.

So yeah, kids can relish their pink cotton candy if street vendors from other states follow the same playbook. But we’re not sure how gobi manchurian is going to bring back colour to its gravy.


Luna rides on nostalgia’s back

India’s electric two-wheeler (E2W) sales are rising! In just 11 months of the current financial year (FY24), India has sold nearly 10% more E2Ws than the entire previous year (FY23).

And that seems to be a good sign for another competitor in E2W town ― the e-Luna.

Ever heard of the Luna?

Well, let's rewind to 1972. Motorbikes were only owned by the rich. And everyone else rode bicycles.

That's when H K Firodia's Kinetic Group spotted an opportunity to launch India’s first 'moped' to attract the country’s middle class. Think of it as a cross between a motorbike and a cycle. It was light, could run on fuel and could also be pedalled if it ran out of fuel. It was the perfect mode of transport and it was an instant hit.

But in the 1990s, the automatic scooter version called the Kinetic Honda gained immense popularity, so, the company stopped making the Luna in the year 2000.

The Luna was relegated to our memories as a symbol of India’s transitioning development.

But now, over two decades later it’s back!

The Firodia Group has launched a revamped electric version of the Luna through its subsidiary Kinetic Green. And has already sold over 5,000 units since being rolled out in February this year. The aim is to sell 1,00,000 of them in FY25.

Can they do it?

Look, the Indian two wheeler market has changed drastically over the years. And the e-Luna’s design may not be something that can compete with other E2Ws.

But here’s the thing. The e-Luna isn't competing with the likes of Ather or Ola. Rather it has a very small set of competitors which are electric mopeds themselves ― Okinawa Dual-100 and Odysse Trot. And when you compare it to them, it offers a great payload capacity (the combined weight of cargo and passengers that it can carry), charges just as quickly and has a decent top speed too.

Besides, the ambitious sales target is based on the expectation  that it could be a great vehicle for delivery agents. It costs about 30% less than a regular non-moped E2W. And the cost of running it works out to just 10 paise per km. It’s also betting on India's tier-2, tier-3 cities, and rural areas where consumption seems to be increasing.

That’s probably why its makers were confident enough to chalk up a ₹100 crore investment plan for product development, brand building and marketing over the next year.

We’ll have to wait and see if all of this combined with the nostalgia factor can help it churn out a good return on that big investment.

Infographic 📊

Money tips 💰

The 100-age rule

The investment world can be complicated. And even dead scary for someone who may have just started earning or has no idea of how to go about saving. But as you’ve heard, it’s always good to start early and the intricacies of different investment options shouldn’t keep you from building up a piggy bank for your future.

So what do you do?

Well, you could follow a simple strategy called the 100-age rule. Here’s how it works. All you have to do is subtract your age from 100 and allocate a percentage of your savings equivalent to that number in equity instruments like equity-linked mutual funds or stocks. So if you’re 25, you simply park 75% of your savings in equity investments.

The rest of it or a percentage coinciding with your age can go to non-equity instruments like debt funds, liquid funds, fixed deposits or bonds. That means a 25 year old will allocate 25% of their savings to such investments.

The premise is that you reduce your exposure to risky equity investments as you grow older and strike a balance.

Sounds pretty cool right?

But here are a few things to look out for. This rule can be quite generic. So it won’t consider how much risk you’re willing to take, the extreme volatility of equity instruments and even the financial goals different people have.

What that means is that you and your friend who are both earning the same amount of money may still have different outlooks on risks or money goals. You might want to make aggressive returns at the cost of a higher risk, while your friend may not. You may want different things from life too. You might want to retire at 40, while your friend might want to keep working until they’re 60.

So yeah, the 100-age rule is cool until you start taking it as the gospel truth for investment strategies.

Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩

It’s time to announce the winner of our previous weekly quiz. And the winner is…🥁

Adithya Krishna K R! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch. And for the rest of you, we’ve moved the weekly quiz to our weekly wrapup. So make sure you answer all the questions correctly and tune in here next week to check if you got lucky.

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