B Swaminathan (email@example.com)
One would simply raise their eyebrows to know that a heat-and-eat food product stored at normal room temperature can sustain for 18 months. On top of that a product sans preservative. And yes, It is not a joke. Kerala based ESJE Food Craft, started its journey less than a couple of years and offers food at convenience.
Started by veterans in the FMCG industry, ESJE (under the brand name FEASTEZ) has its manufacturing unit in Telangana and has tasted success in Kerala and few pockets of urban and semi-urban areas. “From day one, we were very keen that, we would be competing with the Indian FMCG giants. Like every company, we tested the product first in Kerala and it is receptive.”, says Nassim M.S, Director of the company. Nassim is a veteran with more than 3 decades of experience in the FMCG, Healthcare, Food, and Fintech domain. His expertise also involves financial consulting for well-known MNC companies and mentoring growing enterprises suited for the Indian soil.
In today’s fast life, people face two challenges – their work-life balance is so bad that they can not cook their favorite food at home, and even if so, they have to compromise on the quality by e-purchase through online food aggregators. The next is they have to locate and relocate for better prospects which would make them miss their favorite food. “We see many Indians are relocating to various places and many could not get the authentic taste which they tried in the place regardless of the geography within or outside the country they reside”, Nassim says further adding that saving in cold temperature for a long time is another challenge for both supply chain and consumers.
EsJe Foodcraft had designed its product with longer shelf life using the technology which they assure sustainability at any temperature. “We have retort-able pouches which are able to withstand thermal processing temperatures in excess of 100°C at the required specified pressure for sterilization. The whole sterilization process is monitored with computerized systems which provide data of complete and effective sterilization.”
“Our products are 100% natural and free of any chemical preservatives. We prepare and pack using a combination of natural and scientific techniques, our products contain only the freshest ingredients, rich in nutrition and high on delight.”, he assures.
Averring on the recent consumption trends, Nassim observes the demand for quality at an affordable price is increasing. “This pandemic has created new avenues for various business segments. When there is a wide range of options available for the consumers, they have more demanding power and if the product is of sub-standard quality, we are lost”.
Rejecting the myth that the HoReCa segment is a mere cost-sensitive market, Nassim provides an alternative angle for that. “On any given day, many new eateries are coming up and the same numbers of people are downing the shutters. If quality, taste, and consistency is not there, many would not survive.”, he said.
Paint point of hoteliers:
The hotel sector is heaviliy dependent on the quality of the chefs who make it. However, the key challenge any hotelier faces is the lack of the right manpower for them. This leads to the change in the taste every time a chef changes the job. To address that challenge, ESJE is ready to come up with customized packs for the hoteliers which would help them be consistant regardless the change of the jobby the chefs. Nassim also says that such heat-and-eat healthy food concepts can be useful for inflight caterings, industry kitchens and restaurants functioning outside India who have challenges in procuring the raw materials.
The top three expansion plans of this company are
- To become a PAN-India brand with a tightly-knitted distribution system.
- With the Indian foods becoming a brand, exporting Indian food for the food lovers who miss the Indian food
- QSRs would be the next focus in both establishing their own QSRs and serving for the QSRs in some of the hotspots like airports, IT parks, industrial areas would be the next focus.
With close to 15 SKUs of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian heat-and-eat products, ESJE foodcraft is yet to unleash the metro markets fully. “We have not touched the major markets till now. Our key focus would be geographies and areas where getting quality food immediately is a challenge. For example, a resort located in a dense forest or a family residing in hill stations or an Indian family working offshore.” he said.
Stating that the fate of the restaurants is in the hands of chefs, he requested the hoteliers to bring a process-driven approach and not a people-driven approach. “Every chef should mandatorily have their signature dish as customers are getting exposed to global cooking trends and without a signature dish, one cannot thrive”, he concluded.
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