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By TPCI | September 27, 2019

Late Shri Natvarbhai Patel launched Gajanand Foods as early as in 1980s, with a vision to reach every household & kitchen with his products. Firmly rooted in the principles of truth and morality, the well-poised entrepreneur grew the business in an ethical manner and moulded his aspirations into what “Gajanand” is today. His son Mr. Samir Patel is taking his father’s vision forward and aims to propel Gajanand to newer heights.

Today, Gajanand is India’s premium spice brand and Assocham’s national award winner for best innovative packaging for the year 2019. Talking to IndusFood, Mr. Samir Patel, Director, Gajanand Foods, shares how the company expanded from a small flour mill to a major producer and exporter of a variety of food products. Following are a few excerpts from the interview:

IndusFood: What was the inspiration behind the brand "Gajanand Foods" when it was founded? How did the business launch and evolve in the initial years? What has been your growth story?
Samir Patel: The name "Gajanand" itself defines purity. As we offer the purest form of material as “Prasad” to the almighty, we, similarly, offer our products in the same purest form to our customers. We have kept the brand name "Gajanand" keeping the purity of God in mind and we run our business by the same pure ethics.

Our father Late Shri Natvarbhai K. Patel started the business with a small flour grinding store and he used to clean & grind pulses. Later he started grinding whole spices too and also used to pack them as per requirements of customers. This led to the foundation of "Gajanand".

In 1980, he started a small flour grinding store with the name of Mahakali Flour Mill in Ahmedabad. The repeated demand by customers for ground spices as per their required pack sizes lead to the foundation of a small company called Gajanand Foods. Diversion of customers from purchasing loose products to packed products was the main challenge. Also to gain trust of the customers as a brand was also a very big challenge for us. 

As time went by, my brother Jayesh and me joined the business. With new marketing strategies and innovative products & packaging ideas that we then incorporated, the name "Gajanand" gained huge reputation in the market of Gujarat. Eventually, this small factory was shifted to Santej in the year 2014 in a much bigger area and with newer packing machines. Now the growth has expanded across Gujarat along with Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh & we now export to seven different countries of the world.

IndusFood: What transformational changes has the business undergone, since its inception in terms of product portfolio/innovations, reach, brand equity, etc.
Samir Patel: We provide quality to customers as per their taste requirements. We have a new hygienic plant with our own in-house laboratory, cold storage, and automatic grinding & packaging machine. This helps us to give perfect taste & quality to customers along with attractive packaging.

We have different qualities of chilli powder as per the requirements of consumers. For instance, we have Kumthilal, Reshamlal, Tejalal Chilli Powders to satisfy the needs of the consumers. We also have an innovative packing of Hing (Asafoetida) and its premium & special blend that gives an authentic flavor and taste to any recipe. Our “Instant Mix Products” give a traditional taste to a variety of products. Our “Achar Masala” can enhance the taste of any pickle of Indian recipe. Its different pack sizes can resolve the problems of any household and make recipes easier. 

Our products are available across Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh & seven different countries of the world. We are also available at various e-commerce platforms such as Amazon & Snapdeal.

We have our presence in Gujarat since last 38 years and have expanded our brand availability to neighboring states of Rajasthan & Madhya Pradesh over the years. Moreover, we are in the process of strengthening our presence with many marketing activities. 

IndusFood: How has the brand progressed on the international front? What are the key export markets you are targeting for your products and why (domestic and international)?
Samir Patel: Our brand enjoys a huge presence in US (Chicago & New York), UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand & Uganda.  The key markets for our products are Asian countries.

Our export range includes, namkeens, pickles, khakhra, papad, mathis, khari and chutney. We have an entire range of whole, ground, and blended spices like turmeric, chilli, white pepper powder, garam masala, ginger powder and many more. To add to our list of exports, packaged food items like instant mixes of Dosa, Dhokla, Upma, Vada etc. also find good demand overseas. Our specially packaged hing, healthy grains and flour are also hot sellers under our brand. To ensure a worldwide presence, we are also looking for distributors in various countries and regions. This would help us penetrate the markets better.

IndusFood: How do you see the growth in the food and agro processing industry from India? How is it expected to reflect on the exports front?
Samir Patel: There are a few product ranges like superfoods, frozen foods, ready-to-eat, organic foods, vegan foods etc., which have a very bright future in the international market. The demand for these products will increase due to fast lifestyles, health consciousness and need of pure food.

IndusFood: How do you plan to expand in the near future? Any new product launches you have planned or product innovations that you might want to share?
Samir Patel: We are planning to expand our business pan-India in the near future. Global network will also increase along with the increase in product range as per demands of the market. We will be launching our new product Jiravan Powder in a new Sprinkler Pack.

IndusFood: Can you please name a product that needs shelf space and marketing attention currently?
Samir Patel: Jaggery is a product that needs to be looked at differently. If it is available in the form of a flavored chocolate, we hope its demand and usage will gain market attention.

IndusFood: Have you participated in IndusFood earlier? Please share your experience.
Samir Patel: Yes, We have participated last year. It was a nice experience. The management was better than Gulfood. If the government along with TPCI focusses more and plans for more quality & aggressively finds more buyers, it would undoubtedly emerge as a huge platform for the international B2B market.