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The Rise of Food Vloggers in India

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Origin of Vlogging: The World

The concept of vlogging came from the pre-existent concept of sharing one’s experience regarding an event, situation or topic (known as blogging), done in the form of a video. Hence, a vlog is basically a blog captured in a video graphic format. The idea of uploading vlogs to the internet actually predates long before the creation of YouTube. American songwriter and editor, Adam Kontras is said to be the first ever individual to upload a vlog to the internet. On January 2nd, 2000 Adam posted a 15-second-long clip of him sneaking a cat into his apartment.

Kontras later carried on his hobby of vlogging to YouTube and till this day keeping uploading videos on a regular basis. The term “vlog”, however, wasn’t coined yet and would only come into existence a few years later. Filmmaker and Musician, Luuk Bouwman sometime in 2002, for the first time ever made use of the term “vlog” while uploading a video diary of his post-college travels. Vlogging however, did not go mainstream due to the hindrance by the technical difficulty of uploading, storing and publishing of online videos. What it lacked most of all – was a proper platform, which was soon going to change with the launch of YouTube in December 2005. YouTube gave birth to a whole new era of vlogging and also gave birth to some of the most popular vlogging channels today – iJustine, Philip DeFanco and Grace Helbig. One name however, was set to create more buzz than others and would eventually end up elevating the whole vlogging genre to mainstream levels of success. This individual was none other than Casey Neistat. For a record 534 days in a now, Casey would upload a vlog regularly while also maintaining an excellent level of quality in his videos. His impact on the whole vlogging scene was so immense that copying him had become the norm. As such, Casey Neistat had become the flag bearer for what would soon turn into a global affair, reaching even the likes of India.

Vlogging: The Indian Scene

With the influence of vlogging in India, Indian vloggers had big shoes to fill while presenting the Indian audience with vlogs endowed with a desi twist to them while also not losing their original essence. One individual who was ready to take on this role was Nikhil Sharma aka Mumbiker Nikhil. Boasting a whopping 3.93M subscribers (as of January 4th, 2023), Mumbiker Nikhil uploaded his first ever YouTube video on July 13th, 2014. Only a 42-second-long clip of him riding a Harley Davidson with his friends, the video was titled, “Harley davidson FAT BOY ride in mumbai”. Later that year, on December 8th, Nikhil’s channel would blow up after one his video titled, “Ghost spotted while riding” would go viral and be his first ever video to hit a million views. Nikhil would then soon go on to popularise the moto-vlogging genre all over the Indian YouTube community. As of January 4th, 2023, Nikhil has uploaded over 2K videos in his channel, amassing a whopping 1.48B total channel views.

Following in his footsteps would emerge Gaurav Taneja aka Flying Beast who’d diverge himself from the travel vlogs of Nikhil and go on to popularising the Family Vlogging style in India. He isn’t much of a veteran in the community as he had started his channel only in 2017 and uploaded his first video on December 10th of that same year. His channel however, would grow in no time amassing a total of 7.79M subscribers and a total channel view of 3.3B. He alongside one other vlogger going by the name of Sourav Joshi would together dominate the vlogging scene for the years to come.

Currently, Sourav Joshi Vlogs is the most popular and successful vlogging channel not only in the Indian YouTube community but the entirety of YouTube as a whole. In just under 4 years, youngster Sourav Joshi, in just over 1.1K videos succeded to amass a record 19M subscribers along with a sum total of 7.5B channel views. Apart from the travel vlogs and family friendly vlogs, a third style of vlogging was also gaining popularity both overseas and in India. This was none other than the rise of food vloggers and mukbang channels.

Food Vlogging: Its Rise and Flag Bearers

The concept of a food vlog was basically recording oneself while consuming various types of cuisines and street food. Food Vlogs would initially see its inception in mid-2017 when Sanket Sankpal would start his very own YouTube channel solely dedicated to his love of competitive eating. Along with this brother Sagar Sankpal, Sanket would form the Wake’N’Bite YouTube channel with the dream of bringing the sport of competitive eating to India. His channel would act as a gateway for all the upcoming food vloggers and especially the mukbang channels. His channel currently has 2.99M subs with a sum total channel view of 1.1B.

Following Sanket would be Tanmay Sharma, who by the end of 2017 would start his very own YouTube channel by the name of Veggie Paaji, solely dedicated to content based only on vegetarian food. With over 1K videos, 2.98M subscribers and a sum total of 1B channel views, Tanmay would go on to see significant success in the future.

Further impacting the scene, in 2018 would emerge a channel literally named Indian Food Vlogs that would base itself on cherishing street food from various cities all over India including Mumbai, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, etc. His channel would also turn out to be a huge success with over 2.8M subs and a total channel view of 1.5B in just over 800 uploaded videos.

Other noteworthy names in the Indian vlogging scene that would emergence by late 2020 are Food Incarnate and Are You Hungry. These two food vloggers are by far the most successful and popular food vlog channels of India, with Food Incarnate holding the 2nd position with a sum total of 4M subscribers and 4.19B total channel views and Are You Hungry remaining at the top with a whopping 6.11M subscribers and a combined total channel view of 4.2B.

Lastly, the most mention worthy name in the mukbang category is none other than MaddyEats, who would upload her first video in 2019 but then would soon go on to dominate the entire mukbang community amassing over 3.61M subscribers and a total of 1B channel views over the course of the next 3 years.

Conclusion

Over the years food vlogging has grown a lot both in terms of variety and diversity. From sitting in a single room in every single video and consuming various types of fast food to travelling all over the country and consuming the various region-specific cuisines, food vloggers have vastly evolved. Food vlogs as a whole also act like a tool to help people educate about the various types of eating habits and food culture all over the nation. It has led to people from different parts of the country learn even about the cuisines which are locally unavailable to them. It is no doubt that this is only the beginning as in time food vlogging will only grow even shedding light over the various unknown cuisines that are not commercially available at the mainstream level yet.

Dipankar Kalita
Diploma in Electric Engineering

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