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Startup May, 18 2017

Is 'Farm to Fork' concept turning big in India

In an exclusive interview to Restaurant India, Nilesh Palresha, Executive Director at Earth Food talks about the concept of serving residue fruits and vegetables.

By Sunil Pol
Correspondent

Venturing into residue farming space

I used to enjoy my visits to home stay farms and that’s where the inspiration to start Earth Food came from. We realised that residue free vegetables were difficult to acquire in the local market and hence decided to opt for residue free farming. The produce is much healthier and cuts the risk for any type of allergies that arise from vegetable residue. In the coming future we wish to expand our range of products and also venture further in residue free fruits. We have 40 vegetables and we want to increase numbers significantly. We have also acquired 200 acres additional land around 40 km from Malthan. Our objective is to provide fresh and residue free fruits and vegetables first in Pune market and by next year enter Mumbai and Bengaluru. We have already signed contract with SGS for GLOBAL GAP CERTIFICATION.

Working on ‘Farm to Fork’ concept

Farmed in a natural way, Earth Food, a product of VTP Foods, offers produce reaching the end-user in the most hygienic, healthy way possible. Earth Food offers a wide range of fruits and vegetables that are grown in the purest form without using harmful chemical fertilizers or pesticides and they are sold to the customers without adding preservatives and synthetic food enhancers. The produce are residue free and our philosophy of ‘Farm to fork’ aims to minimize human handling of the produce to ensure high quality. We have established complete supply chain from farm to customer.

A wide range of products

We have a wide range of products at EarthFood and we are constantly working to get new line of products with a shelf life of seven days. Currently we have 36 products which are available for purchase. Our produce consists of the Iceberg Lettuce, Capsicum, Aloe vera, Broccoli, Gawar, Methi, Red Cabbage, Bharta Brinjal, Coriander, Cherry Tomato, Green Chili, Thai Chili, French Bean, Lemon Grass, Sponge Gourd, Basil, Bitter Gourd, Pak choi, Bottle Gourd, Celery, Lady finger, Parsley, Beet Root, Zucchini, Tomato, Green Roman Papaya, Oregano, Curry Leaves, Thyme, Green Pea, Mint, Drum Stick, Rosemary, Colocasia. We are also planning to introduce hydroponics technique.

Serving on quality

Quality has always been our USP. We believe in minimum use of hand touch in our farm to maintain hygiene. We also have a certified quality control team which is taking care of the product at the pack house and then again it is checked at distribution center. We have a detailed end to end process to maintain health and hygiene of every product that reaches to our consumers.

Health wave is driving the biz

People are becoming more and more conscious and prefer sustainable and organic food. The behavioral change is slow but steady. We expect the current demand to rise in the future leading the way for more organic farming. Also, VTP Earth food offers residue free vegetables and fruits, meaning they are extremely safe to consume. We follow a farm to fork philosophy with minimum human handling that ensures superior quality. That is what differentiates us from our competitors.

Expansion plans

Currently we have 100 acres of land and we are planning to expand from 100 to 1000 acres in the year 2017-2018. We have 8 acres of land which is dedicated to green house and 7 acres will also turn into green house. In our expansion plan, we will dedicate 60% land to fruit plantation and 40% to vegetable. Additionally, we have recently started our online delivery services to make our customers life faster and easier. Recently we have acquired 200 acres of land at Belwandi, which is 100 km away from Pune. The purpose is to increase the production and add new variety to Earth food. And, in coming 3 years, we have planned to expand the production from 300 acre to 1000 acre of land for more and more supply.

Value for money pricing

We have sensitized the pricing according to the Pune grocery market. We are highly affordable for all the classes. Though, these kinds of products usually cost up to 0.5% to 2%. It is a better option than the regular vegetable that we find in market in terms of health. We are cost effective and our pricing justifies that it will not get affected by the flexibility of the change in market price

Market trend

India is a huge market for residue free fruits and vegetables. Though, the residue free/organic food market in India is growing at 25-30 per cent, but the awareness about this kind of farming is still low in India despite huge spending. The government has also been supporting, according to the recent study which projected that the domestic organic food market would touch $1.36 billion mark by 2020.

Related: How this startup created a market for invite based paid dining

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