While addressing the nation on Tuesday evening, PM Modi underscored the significance of supporting locally-owned businesses in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that has sent the entire country into lockdown. In order to mitigate the social and economic downturn that the coronavirus has caused, the economy needs to capitalise on local products and markets. Buying local also means visiting your neighbourhood auntie’s boutique for a new kurta instead of a giant multi-brand retailer. It’s about walking down the street to your local sabziwala instead of ordering fruits and vegetables online. 

Local businesses use local resources and also contribute to the local community by creating job opportunities. They help by investing in the infrastructure of the country while also reducing the carbon footprint since they require much less shipping and transportation. 

So, how can you do your bit? For starters, you may be helping out without even realising it! A lot of the products that you already purchase may be from local brands. Take a look at this list of local brands and businesses to keep in mind on your next shopping spree. 

1. Parle Agro

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From Frooti to Melody chocolates, Parle is the brand behind all the snacks that you have been loving since your childhood. And who can forget Parle-G? The combination of a Parle-G biscuit dipped in a steaming cup of chai is one of the high points of human creation. Founded in Mumbai in 1929, this popular and reasonably priced brand is an all-time favourite. 

2. Lakme Cosmetics

Named after the goddess Lakshmi, known for her ethereal beauty, Lakme is owned and operated by the conglomerate Hindustan Unilever. For a lot of Indian girls, Lakme was their first step into the world of beauty products and as their consumers matured, their collection has grown and developed as well. Their products cater to every price bracket of their segment, and their lipsticks, compacts and foundations hold a place of pride in almost every makeup bag in the country. 

3. FabIndia

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This ethnic chic brand does not just manufacture their products in India, they also help to sustain rural communities of craftspersons and artisans, employing over 40,000 artisans who painstakingly handcraft every single article you find in the 250 stores that are operated by them. So the next time you pick up one of their exquisite kurtas or stoles, remember that you are not just purchasing an article of clothing, but also that you are providing for a rural artist’s family, and that you are becoming an active part of keeping the Indian textile industry flourishing. 

4. Vicco 

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Ayurvedic, ayurvedic vicco vajradanti, vicco powder, vicco cream… If that didn’t make you sing along, you’re probably lying to yourself right now! The Vicco Group has a host of Indian Ayurvedic products under their belt, from Vicco toothpaste to pain relief cream and is popularly regarded as one of the brands that most people have been knowing and trusting for decades. Their products are all-natural and mild on your body. 

5. CCD

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Anything can happen over coffee, and this brand has made a lot happen. Cafe Coffee Day has been the Indian response to Starbucks, and a hangout spot for college students and young urban professionals all over the country. They even grow their own coffee beans in Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka. Paired with moderately-priced beverages and snacks, Coffee Day also serves 1.6 billion cups of coffee annually! Raise a cup of cold brew to this homegrown venture!

6. Amul

This dairy cooperative society based in Gujarat, also the pioneer behind India’s White Revolution, is a much loved and a recognised staple in most fridges and pantries. It has put India on the map by becoming the world’s largest producer of milk and dairy products as well as earning a place in the Guinness World Record for the longest-running ad campaign in the world, with the iconic figure of the Amul girl. This brand is not just utterly butterly delicious, but utterly popular as well. The credit for this can be given to its consistent and reliable quality.

7. Nirma

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Launched in 1969, with the most catchy and iconic advertisement jingle, this detergent brand has environment-friendly, phosphate-free products that are very competitively priced. Nirma has also been ranked as the most widely distributed Indian detergent powder brand and its products are a staple of most Indian bathroom shelves. 

8. Big Bazaar

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The desi version of the American brand Walmart, Future Group’s Big Bazaar has set up shop in over 100 cities, from sprawling metropolises to smaller towns and are currently operating nearly 250 retail outlets. At the time when it had newly opened, the offers that were put out by the brand were so appealing that customers would stand in line for hours at a stretch just to get their groceries at their heavily discounted prices along with those much-feted free gifts. Big Bazaar is a one-stop solution to all your shopping needs— from grocery items to personal care, kitchen appliances, utensils, sports goods, electronics, apparel and footwear. You might walk in empty-handed, but Big Bazaar ensures that you will leave with plenty of heavy bags, while also making sure that their wares are light on your pocket. 

One of the major effects of all the Netflix shows and YouTube videos that we all watch is that we would like to possess the same snacks and beauty products and clothes that we see the most popular influencers consume, and that often drives people towards spending their hard-earned money on expensive international brands, and globalisation has made making these choices almost too easy for you. From luxury cosmetic brands to home decor to the newest glitziest gadgets, you have all of these available on online shopping platforms, but as ethical consumers and aware citizens, you have a choice to make at this time about who you choose to support and endorse. 

Ayushi Astha
Ayushi Astha

An armchair philosopher, Ayushi likes writing and making an inordinate amount of mug cakes. In the event that she's not writing she can either be found watching baking shows on repeat or reading poetry.