‘Hi-tech’ solutions for food biz

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | S UMAMAHESHWAR
Published Jul 17, 2018, 12:31 am IST
Updated Jul 17, 2018, 12:31 am IST
The idea to get into the batter business, however, does not have any long aspirational background as most entrepreneurs claim to have.
Musthafa
 Musthafa

Hyderabad: Whenever technology is referred to, most people by default allude it to information technology or hi-tech industries. Who would have thought that a group of youngsters from Kerala and Karnataka would use technology to grow their batter business leaps and bounds? This is precisely the story of Musthafa PC, the founder of Azim Premji-based iD Fresh Food.

The idea to get into the batter business, however, does not have any long aspirational background as most entrepreneurs claim to have. “I am not a foodie or into cooking. We tried to address the need that the society had,” says Mr Musthafa.

 

Started in 2005 as a small batter supplier to kirana stores in Bengaluru, iD Fresh Foods has come a long way. It began its journey with 10 one-kg batter packets a day; in a few months, it reached 100 a day. Now it manufactures 55,000 kgs of idli and dosa batter per day besides other products to more than 18,000 retail outlets in 17 cities in India and abroad.

The foundation of over Rs 600 crore company was laid in 2006 when Mr Musthafa was whiling away his time during an evenings at his cousin’s grocery store at Thippasandra in Bengaluru, where he was studying management at IIM-Bengaluru.

“When I visited my cousin's store, he told me about a local supplier of idli/dosa batter, who failed to keep up the quality despite a great demand for it. That’s when I felt there was a gap in the market and decided to start our own,” says the 45-year-old Musthafa, CEO of iD Fresh Foods.

“From the day one, we tried to reposition ourselves in the market that was dominated by unorganised players by creating a brand. We designed a proper packaging for our product and ensured that our product is of high quality,” Mr Musthafa, one of five co-founders, said.

“Our philosophy has always been to allow the homemaker to get credit for the food. All that we do is to enable her to serve good food using our product. We don’t intend to replace her. So we use traditional ingredients to make the food taste traditional,” he explained.

Giving an example, Mr Musthafa said iD Fresh Foods has come up with a vada batter in a uniquely design pack that allows people, with little experience in cooking, to make vadas with a perfect hole in the centre — the way grandmothers used to make.

Getting a hole at the centre of vada may seem quite simple for us. But it took three years of research to come up with the final product because getting a hole in the middle automatically was quite a task.

Since its product has short shelf life, the company goes slow on expansion. “Whenever we enter a new market, we set up our plant and distribution network. At present, we have our units in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Dubai.” The company also has plans for other foreign markets where NRIs are present.

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