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By TPCI | December 3, 2019

Primarily a merchant exporter, Januz Universal is representing many popular Indian brands for various segments in over 30 countries today, under its private labelling business. Planning a major diversification with the launch of a few self-made brands, Januz remains true to its roots, as it comes-up with a range of products, which are innovative as well as invigorating.

Januz Universal endeavours to ensure quality, and promote high quality and differentiated products for its consumers. Heading the export firm as the Managing Partner since its inception in 2011, Dharmil D Thacker, has a rich experience in exports of spices and other agri-food products for over 30 years now. In a recent conversation with IndusFood, Thacker revealed his plans for representing new products under brands like Oliphant, a new range of non-fried snacks. Below are some excerpts from the interview:

IndusFood: What was the inspiration behind the brand when it was founded? How did the business launch and evolve in the initial years? What has been the entire growth story?
Dharmil Thacker: We, at Januz Universal understand the ever growing needs of universal consumers in the global market. We specialize in procuring good quality products sourced from across the Indian sub-continent and are exporting to more than 30 countries across the globe. We also specialize in sourcing new products for our valuable clientele. For clients who wish to get products under their brand name, we coordinate with manufacturers for private labels and ship products to clients under their respective brands. We have set and remain committed to our clients by providing the best possible service and thereby enjoying trust and customer satisfaction.

We have the expertise and are well equipped to handle bulk consignments and assure timely shipping and delivery. Our constant endeavor to remain upgraded on the ever growing consumer needs and our vast in-depth knowledge and experience have helped us remain one of the most promising companies in exports.

Today, we sell a huge range of products such as flour, grain, chikki, fried namkeens and staples like upma, rawa suji, poha, etc. under the brand Januz, which we had started back in the year 2011.

IndusFood: What were the major challenges to growth and expansion and how did you meet them?
DT: For a new brand, the major challenge to growth is always to establish it amongst existing ones. We are in the process of establishing ours. We plan to represent the new brand OLIPHANT under which we have started snacks that are not fried. We have used ingredients like Quinoa, Jowar, Soya etc., in products under OLIPHANT and also hope to establish it in the global market in a short span of time.

IndusFood: What transformational changes has the business undergone, since its inception in terms of product portfolio/innovations, reach, brand equity, etc.?
DT: The major transformational change in the food business today is that the consumers now know what they are buying and are more vigilant about what goes into the product in the form of ingredients.

The rise and penetration of internet and other technological advancements has digitally transformed most of the major industries across the world. The collaboration of all these elements has also brought in a significant change in the attitudes/behaviors of consumers by giving them a platform to share their concerns. Since the consumers are more empowered and vigilant, the manufacturers are, in a way, compelled to maintain greater transparency in supply chain.

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)?
DT: We are into exports of many products of reputed brands and represent a few brands for selected countries. We export all foodstuff items like Spices, Processed Foods, Agri-products, beverages, snacks, bakery products etc. We are majorly exporting to US, the UK, Canada, European countries, many African countries, Thailand, the Far East and the GCC countries.

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?
DT: The food and agro processing industry from India has evolved to a great extent already. Today, as per information available, India is the 2nd largest producer of food products.

Indian Foodstuffs & Groceries of several reputed brands are already available in the entire global market and with introduction of newer technologies in the food and processing industry, the export market for products from India is definitely going to grow.

IndusFood: How do you plan to expand in the near future? Any new product launch planned or product innovation that you might want to share?
DT: Our plans are to introduce more products in the overseas market, keeping in mind the requirements of global consumers. We are coming up with a variety of healthy food products, as I mentioned.

There is another product innovation, which we are soon to launch. The product is, particularly, a snack variant wherein oats would be a major ingredient. We further envisage a growth of 15-20% YOY.

IndusFood: Can you please name product that needs shelf space and marketing attention?
DT: The consumers now, whether in India or overseas market, are getting more health conscious and are looking at health foods that can help them to maintain overall good health. Non-fried foods or roasted snacks is one category that is gaining popularity and needs to be given more attention. This is mainly because, young and old, both the generations are looking at lifestyle changes, especially related to the foods that they consume.

Moreover, Soya, Quinoa, Amaranth, etc. can also be made into extruded snacks. In fact, I feel, Amaranth is an underdog which is set to come out in a better and bigger way in the years to come.

IndusFood: Have you participated in IndusFood earlier? Please share your experience. Is there any product to be launched in IndusFood’s upcoming fixture in 2020?
DT: Yes, we have participated in IndusFood 2019 under Spices Board pavilion. The experience has been good which is why we have taken an individual stall this year to draw the attention of importers who come to attend this event from across the world. This is indeed a good platform to meet importers and grab business opportunities. We plan to represent the new brand OLIPHANT in IndusFood 2020.

Currently, we find very good demand from regions of US, UK, and few countries in Africa. We would further like to tap more buyers specifically from Africa and Europe exclusively from IndusFood.

IndusFood: What is your take on IndusFood launching Indusfood-Tech and Indusfood-Chem? How will it help the industry?
DT: IndusFood has become a brand now. We see the launch of these two concurrent events as a good initiative by TPCI as it will cater specifically to these two industries and businesses who are into these two sectors exclusively. Players in the respective fields will also have a platform to interact with prospective clients and develop their business.