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By TPCI | December 23, 2019

Nestled in Bikaner, the heart of ‘Thar Desert’, Sun Shine Food Products under the brand name Bhikharam Chandmal (BC) is a renowned producer of Bhujia that boasts of a long journey from being a small-scale enterprise to being a leading FMCG. The brand has garnered accolades and admiration from customers in India and abroad for its remarkable sweets and savouries. Its nonpareil focus on quality has remained central to the brand’s success. Ashish Agarwal, Director, Sun Shine Food Products (Bhikharam Chandmal) takes IndusFood on a fascinating walk down memory lane as he narrates the success story of this brand.

IndusFood: What was the inspiration behind the brand when it was founded? How did the business launch and evolve in the initial years to reach its present position?
Ashish Agarwal (AA): The history of the famous Bikaneri Bhujia is, indeed, the history of Bhikharam Chandmal (BC). Dating back to more than 2 centuries, BC is the pioneer of the world famous snack – Bikaneri Bhujia.  The business has evolved step-by-step from generation to generation and modernized as the country started to liberalize. The group was founded by Late Tansukhdas Agarwal, who used to manufacture BARI (a local homemade dry vegetable) made with Moth Dal flour. Once he fried these BARI in a frying pan and found it very tasty. He named this new product BHUJIA, which means ‘fried product’. Thus he ended up inventing a new product, which has now achieved worldwide fame. Later his son Bhikharam and grandson Chandmal joined his business. They improved the quality of Bhujia. The father-son duo got patronage from the Maharaja of Bikaner and were also awarded suitably. Bhujia gained popularity, as it was included in the list of favorite snack foods in the Darbar of Bikaner.

The growth journey is a thrilling one where a generation passes the baton to another with a hope that values of good food will be kept intact during the growth. From a royal delicacy of the Bikaner rajgharana, Bikaneri Bhujia is now the most known ethnic snack of India the world over.

IndusFood: What were the major challenges to growth and expansion and how did you meet them?
AA: Major challenges that we encountered were the ever changing scenarios of market and customers along with government policies and capital requirements. Food is a capital intensive industry when you decide to scale up. Hence we scaled up slowly and slowly.

Thus, in 1990 Navratan Agarwal and Hari Ram Agrawal established their first high-tech systematic manufacturing unit to produce quality BHUJIA and NAMKEENS. The unit was named SUNSHINE FOOD PRODUCTS. They inherited the art of manufacturing quality Bhujia and Namkeens from their ancestors.

IndusFood: What transformational changes has the business undergone, since its inception in terms of product portfolio/innovations, reach, brand equity, etc. (also please talk about your major products and USPs)
AA: Our product portfolio has always been ethnic savouries and sweets.  Continuously innovating the products, Bhikharam and Chandmal introduced several varieties of Namkeen. But with changing scenarios and food habits, we are exploring many new products like breakfast cereals, herbal juices etc. However, having said that, we realised that the local population favoured Bhujia as their regular snack food, and thus our major products continue to be namkeens and sweets.

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)?
AA: On the international front, we are present in 10 countries. We are targeting Africa and Europe as now the mainstream people have started liking Indian taste and we are capable enough, as IndusFood says ‘Worlds Food Super Market’.

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?
AA: Overall growth outlook looks fantastic and on exports front it is already been seen. For more expansion, the government needs to support existing manufacturers while supporting start-ups. International market will see more products made in India for them.

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?
AA: We need to diversify our portfolio and try some new categories besides keeping a track on our existing portfolios. In terms of product launches, we are launching a product in breakfast cereals category at Indus. 

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?
AA: We have been associated with INDUS since its inception in 2018 and can’t thank Indian government and TPCI enough for this event. We would love to have it as a 3-4 day affair. We have got lot of starts and leads in overseas market from this event and since the buyers are looking at only the Indian basket, so their insights have increased our knowledge tremendously to cater to overseas markets. The kind of exposure it gives us to the world market sitting here in India cannot be said in few words. We are launching our new brands Indichef and Fespro in Indus.