The Indian Packaged Food Industry is going through a huge boom and Portabites is making good use of this opportunity. Read on...
According to a Euro monitor forecast, India will become the third biggest market for packaged food in 2020, after China and the United States. The food packaging industry is India’s fifth largest sector with a current worth of nearly $40 billion. By 2020, it is expected to reach over $65 billion. According to Bloomberg reports, more working women and smaller families will drive the consumption of packaged food in India, particularly when hiring household help is becoming costlier. Welcome to the world of ready-to-eat mixes and packaged food options.
PortaBites in an entrepreneurial venture of TejasKharwar and SaagarVakharia, who have kept in mind the huge potential and need for quick, healthy and hygienic food options. “With no preservatives, no added color nor MSG, PortaBites is a hygienic alternative to other packaged foods as the freeze-drying process helps to preserve the quality of ingredients and retain its true taste and flavor. The airtight packaging keeps it safe no matter how bumpy the ride,” shares the young duo Tejas and Saagar over a telephonic conversation, who was inspired to take on this venture once they came back from their struggle for Indian food while studying abroad.
TejasKharwaris a practical and systems’ driven person with great respect for meticulous working. His love for the startup world and scaling up new businesses created a spark to start a freeze-dried foods’ brand along with his co-founder, SaagarVakharia.
India is conventionally an agrarian community. Do you think there is potential for such kind of food technology driven ready-to-eat food mixes here?
With a rise in the number of working professionals in the country, fast lives, busy schedules, increased tourism and changing food habits, the demand for ready-to-eat products is increasing at an exponential rate. People don’t have leisure time for meticulous food preparation anymore. Also, order takeaway every day isn’t financially viable and healthy. There has been a concern over the quality for regular packaged food, with the number of preservatives and additives therein.
However, newer technologies are coming into the market, which reduces or nullifies the use of such additives in the product. The technology, freeze-dried, that we possess ensures the taste, color, texture and nutrients retention of the product in its purest form, without the use of any additives/preservatives. Also, there has been an increase in awareness among the manufacturers about the food safety standards, which in turn is transferred to the consumers.
What precautions have you taken to ensure the hygiene and health of the perishable food products in intact?
We have built our factory as per the British Retail Consortium (BRC) standards, which maintain the highest form of standard in Food and Global Safety. These standards are developed by food industry experts from retailers, manufacturers and food service organizations. We are already practicing this standard to ensure food quality, safety and responsibility towards our customers. Very soon, we will be applying for a certification, which in turn will give our brand an internationally recognized mark in the food industry.
How has your journey been as first-time entrepreneurs? Did you face any major challenges on the course of setting business? How does it feel to run your own entrepreneurial business?
Our journey as first-time entrepreneurs in the food sector was filled with lots of difficulties. We came into this business without any contacts and experience. This toiled us a lot on our way. Our experience as an entrepreneur in Textiles and Construction sector helped us to some extent. But, with food, it was entirely different. A lot of care was needed to be taken to ensure the quality and safety of the product, which directly affects the consumers. There have been instances when we needed to dispose of entire food batches because of poor quality.
Also, when you are dealing with ready-to-eat products, there is always resistance from people to buy a not-yet-renowned food brand. However, with time, we have been able to develop trust among consumers and are reaping rewards of our hard work.