Typically sitting together with our thalis, this meals merchandise may typically really feel decorative to the principle course however strive excluding it, and the platter loses its appeal. Are you able to think about consuming piping scorching samosa with out the inexperienced chutney, or North India’s papdi chaat with out the tangy, candy and spicy saunth?
As numerous as India is in its tradition, heritage, and panorama, one factor that binds all of us collectively is our meals. And for each 100 km that you simply journey in any course, you might be prone to encounter a brand new style of chutney, modified to go well with the area’s local weather and other people’s style palate.
Capitalising on an Indian’s love for meals and their timeless loyalty to chutney, 40-year-old Soumyadeep Mukherjee has managed to construct a chutney empire. His startup ‘Spice Story’ just lately raised Rs 70 Lakh for five p.c fairness on Shark Tank Season 2, and right here is his story.
Deep dive into an entrepreneurial journey
In 2018, on an everyday journey to the grocery retailer, Soumyadeep noticed folks shopping for inexperienced chutney from the shop. So, he determined to strive it too and acquired some.
“When my spouse noticed it, she mentioned, ‘Oh let’s make pani puri to go together with this chutney. It appears to be like recent’. That’s when it hit me that there isn’t a model in India that sells chutney,” Mukherjee recollects to The Higher India.
Hailing from Indore, Mukherjee had moved to completely different cities due to his job. Earlier than beginning Spice Story, he had a 20-year-long profession in distribution and advertising, the place he labored with firms like Coca-Cola, ATA Meals, and so forth.
Whereas the thought of constructing a chutney model appeared sensible in Mukherjee’s head, saying it out loud didn’t get the type of reception he hoped for.
“After I talked to my associates about this concept, they merely mentioned ‘chutney will be made at house simply, why would anybody purchase it from you?’. This was argument, however I had a easy reply to that. Indians love comfort. Each family has ginger and garlic at their house, however nonetheless, ginger garlic paste sells like hotcakes at grocery shops. So, I had a robust feeling that it will work,” he says.
Belonging to a middle-class household with two youngsters to take care of, leaving a 20-year profession to observe his dream didn’t come straightforward.
“I offered my house to get began on the enterprise. I informed my spouse that I’m going to depart my job and begin a enterprise. Fortunately she didn’t go away me saying that I had misplaced my thoughts!” he shares, including, “I informed her ‘I’m 40 years outdated, and if I don’t do that now, then I might not be capable of do it once more. If I fail, somebody will rent me at 45 however not at 50. So that is my window’.”
‘Aspect of the plate is as necessary’
“The primary sauce the model launched was a sriracha sauce, but it surely didn’t take off very properly. I realised that Indians love their desi meals. Amongst all the favored effective eating eating places within the nation, most of them serve Indian delicacies. An individual from Gujarat will eat Gujarati meals each day at house, however nonetheless exit to eat at Govardhan Thal [which serves Gujarati cuisine]!” he says.
He continues, “I realised that there isn’t a organised marketplace for chutneys. If we would like pickles, we are saying Mom’s Recipe; if we would like papad, we are saying Lijjat. If we need to purchase packaged water, we are saying Bisleri. If we need to prepare dinner Chinese language at house, we ask for Ching’s. However there isn’t a such go-to model for chutney. I needed to faucet into this chance.”
He provides, “The facet of the plate is as necessary because the centre for Indians, so I believed ‘why not give them a chutney model?’”.
A spicy slope to success
With hope in his coronary heart, Mukherjee began by manufacturing solely three chutneys initially.
“We made three primary merchandise — imli chutney from Gujarat, Bombay sandwich chutney, and mint chutney from Delhi. In mint chutney, we had a variant with out onion and garlic. These merchandise had been a success, and we realised that individuals are shopping for what they already find out about. So, I made a decision to go absolutely desi after that and have become positive to not enterprise into sauces from different international locations,” he says.
Because the chutney model’s recognition elevated, so did folks’s religion in his thought.
In 2020, he was joined by two of his associates with comparable ambitions — Gayatri Gogate, who was a advertising lead at Nykaa and is now the CMO of Spice Story, and Vibhor Rastogi, who was a chef and now handles high quality management for the chutney startup.
Explaining the method of bringing new recipes into the menu, Mukherjee says, “All three of us are foodies; we like to journey and experiment with meals. Each time I discover a chutney I like, I acquire samples and provides them to Vibhor, who then does his magic. The chutney then goes to a meals testing lab known as Equinox, the place the shelf life and dietary values of the product are decided.”
With a group of 11 folks, the model now has 14 variants of chutneys — together with Dilliwali Spicy Mint Chutney, Kolkata Mango Mustard Journey, Mumbai Schezwan Mayhem, Agra ki Saunth, Indori Lemon Chutney, and The Authentic Kolhapuri Jhatka.
The shelf lifetime of all of the merchandise is as much as 12 months, and they’re obtainable to buy on the model’s web site and on Amazon, Flipkart, Flipkart Grocery, Swiggy Instamart, Bigbasket, Reliance Mart, and Extra retail.
“The title actually justifies the style. It’s completely mindblowing, and anybody who loves spice goes to like them,” says Antara Roy. Yet one more reviewer mentioned, “The packing is so good and straightforward to hold wherever we would like, at any time. Liked the chutneys too.”
After profitable the hearts of individuals across the nation together with his chutneys, Mukherjee was in a position to seize the eye of the sharks within the second season of Shark Tank India.
“It’s like clearing a CAT examination. Some 30,000 folks pitch their concepts and to be chosen amongst them is encouraging and humbling. However pitching isn’t just to the sharks however to the lots of of individuals watching the present on TV. It doesn’t matter if I raised cash or not, however assembly these iconic folks and telling them about my enterprise is superb,” he says narrating his expertise on the truth present.
Mukherjee’s zeal for bringing comfort to folks’s doorstep doesn’t finish with making chutneys. He desires to enterprise into different untouched areas of the Indian meals trade.
“We’re able to launch a variety of Indian gravies out there. One other space we need to discover is hand-pounded spices. We don’t need to transcend the Indian market and turn out to be a worldwide model. We want to be a family title so far as chutneys are involved,” he informs.
Edited by Pranita Bhat