“As long as you’re in the food business, why not make sweets?”
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

In India, varieties of food, change according to the region and culture. Its production depends upon different weather conditions, lifestyles, availability of ingredients, professions, and the nature of people. Indians are fond of snacks as well as sweets. It plays a different role on different occasions all around India. Primarily sweets are distributed and eaten for festivals or to celebrate something new and joyful moments in life. There are various changes in sweets in appearance and demand with modernization in recent times. Their quality, build, and ingredients became a symbol of their status and a way of celebrating and showing a person’s importance and value. “Kuchh meetha ho jaye” is the tagline used by the Cadbury brand to promote chocolates. It is the phrase used by Indian families for every happiness in their life through offering and eating sweets. 

Sweet shops increase the variety, change the appearance of a particularly sweet, and give it a new name. In contrast, the ingredients remain almost similar—for example, Kaju Katli, Kaju pan, Kaju Kalash, kaju apple, and Kaju gulkund. The Kaju apple signifier is the kaju apple, the signified is the shape(apple), and the sign is the final sweet(kaju apple). 

Kaju katli
Kaju Apple

Customers need new varieties of products in terms of aesthetics and appearance, even though the functionality remains the same. People here take pride in displaying things they have done or have bought. The shopkeeper, thus, sells more sweets, mixes a new flavor to the existing sweet, and changes the appearance of the sweet or gives it a new name. It is a general perception of the people; when given something new that is very modern, this thinking somewhere touches the base of their status symbol. People are ready to spend enough money to get new varieties and explore new areas; this generates a rise in demand for the same. Thus to fulfill the order and satisfy consumers, shopkeepers need to be more innovative. This helps in the regulation and growth of their business. Sweets are now a medium to show moods and express feelings. People prefer different sweets as per their cultural habits and it become a medium of communication in society.

Sweets as Status Symbol
The exact nature of the people is portrayed in the choice of their sweets. They add dry fruits like Almond and Cashew to most of the sweets. Dry fruits symbolize royalty and high standards. People use such sweets for welcoming and gifting to relatives and guests. Not only dry fruits, but people also use large amounts of Ghee and silver coating in sweets to show off their prosperity. For status, sweets are presented in various forms, like traditional sweets, chocolates, pastries, and ice creams. Rajbhog – which initially is a traditional sweet, now, is also available as ice cream, which is mainly served at weddings as its name suggests it creates a myth . The whole process of designing a sweet has significance in every step, right from the production to its display in the sweet shops. The hierarchy is maintained according to price, ingredients, significance according to festivals, and aesthetics as well.

Kaju Matka

Sweets and Myth
Sweets play an essential role in portraying myth. According to Ronald Barthes, having a relevant relationship between the signifier and the significance is optional.
Here the shopkeeper creates the myth—their aim of introducing different sweets and snacks at a particular festival or occasion according to their significance. Here the myth is different kinds of sweets that became a symbol of royalty festivals and celebrations. Shopkeepers increase their sales of sweets by distorting sweets in different ways, like the appearance of sweets and using multiple names. They use the opportunity for various occasions. Some sweets for a particular festival like uttrayan –til k ladoo and chikki, Ganesh Chaturthi modal laddu signifies a new start or event as it is a favorite food of lord Ganesha. Independence or Republic Day and election period by introducing like Trianga Barfi of Banaras, which has the tri-color of the Indian flag to connect the sweets with the occasions for marketing, creating a myth among people.

Modak Laddo
Tiranga Barfi