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By TPCI | October 17, 2019

Indian spices have been immensely popular throughout the world since times immemorial and have found mention as early as 7,000 years ago in the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Sumeria, Arabia and China, far before the Greek and Roman civilisations came into being.

Ramdev Spices, the manufacturer, processor and exporter of Indian spices, has understood the grandeur that this heritage has stood for across centuries and is reaching out its customers’ hearts through their taste buds. The brand has been successful in taking Indian spices to millions of homes across the globe.

Talking to IndusFood, Mr. Laxman Singh Rathore, VP, Business Development, Ramdev Spices, expresses confidence in the company’s ability to drive its product range across mediums, and to relatively untapped markets like the MENA region.

IndusFood: What was the inspiration behind the brand “Ramdev Spices" when it was founded? How did the business launch and evolve in the initial years? What has been the entire growth story?
Laxman Singh Rathore: It was around five decades ago when, in 1965, the foundation of one of India’s leading spice brands was laid in a very modest manner by Founder and Chairman, Late Shri Rambhai Chhaganbhai Patel by catering to the pulses and spices required in his neighborhood. However, it was his son, Hasmukhbhai Patel who established Ramdev Food Products Private Limited and scaled up the business to encompass the entire state of Gujarat.

From a startup in 1965 to an FMCG, we have traversed the entire distance with honesty, ethics and passion. Ramdev is the favoured brand for spices and herbs, lentils, flour, grains, chutneys, seeds and more. We have been serving India’s growing love for these foods since 1965 and are trusted by homes all across India and beyond. We source our products from all over India, and bring them to our award-winning processing hub on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

Ramdev Foods is based in Changodar with vast capabilities in food & commodities sourcing, processing, cleaning, packing, blending, warehousing and dispatching. We have more than 50 years' experience of producing under our Ramdev brand in India, and selling to customers all over the world. We set high standards for the rest of the market to follow.

IndusFood: How important has the role of R&D and innovation been in the growth of your business?
LSR: Throughout the years of business presence of Ramdev Foods, it has always strived to innovate and introduce newer products into the market. With the belief that only innovation can survive a company in the twenty first century and a staff which exudes path breaking ideation, the company has traversed unexplored territories and developed unprecedented products.

In 2015, after spotting a gap in the market for traditional Indian snacks, we introduced snacks and potato chips; the company manufactures them all. The manufacturing facilities are of the highest standards. It has a state-of-the-art set up for the production of its range of products and currently operates two production lines. With the in-house laboratory, all ingredients and products are tested to perfection before production and packing. 

We offer some of the most prominent brands of the country under these food categories. With our aim to serve to our clients’ unique requirements, we also customise products to suit their tastes and needs. We develop the products, conduct suitable tests and sampling and incorporate the required changes until the product meets the clients’ expectations.

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)
LSR: As I mentioned, we started in a very modest way and catered to the customer base with a small range of pulses and spices. In the early 90s, Ramdev forayed into the ready-to-eat category with its ‘Instant Mix’ packets of traditional Gujarati snacks like Khaman, Dhokla, Gota, etc. along with popular South Indian snacks like Idli, Vada, Dahivada etc. It also expanded its portfolio to include Asafoetida (Hing) and streamlined its production processes to receive Agmark recognition.

By the mid-90s, Ramdev was a renowned brand across India in the world of spices. Ramdev has been a pioneer in many food-related offerings ranging from basic masala’s to instant mixes. In 2016, Ramdev took another significant step in diversifying its portfolio by entering the ‘snack foods’ segment. Ramdev has launched a mouth-watering range of snack foods like wafers, namkeens and fryums in a range of flavours.

The period from 1989-1992 marked major transformational changes in the brand’s product lines. I must say that those were not changes but add-ons rather. It was further in 2006 when Ramdev registered itself as an ISO 22000-2005 CERTIFIED COMPANY. And in 2011, we bagged the National Award for outstanding quality of products. We completed our 50-long and undisputed years of commitment and quality in the year 2015 and further look for golden expansion for years to come.

Today our product repertoire includes Basic Spices, Premium Basic Spices, Asafoetida (Hing), Blended Spices, Premium Blended Spices, Instant Mixes, Raw Crisps (Papad), Namkeen and Wafers. We have developed over 19 varieties of snacks. Apart from these, we also have Whole Wheat Toast, Khari, Mukhwas Punawala, Papad, Khakhra, Dry Dates, Elaichi Toast, Crunchy Toast, Pudina Khari, Jeera Khari, Peanut Salted, Potato Wafers, Mamra, Sabudana & many more available in pack sizes of 200g & 400g, especially designed for export baskets.

IndusFood: How does the company endeavour to ensure the best of quality in its products?
LSR: Our philosophy of “reaching a customer’s heart through quality” has enabled us to spread the rich Indian heritage to millions of homes around the globe.

Our products pass Sudan & Aflatoxin tests, which are the initial requirements for the international marketplace. Each and every product of ours is inspected and analyzed in our Agmark approved laboratory. Some of them are also inspected at the Spices Board of India’s (a Government of India Enterprise) laboratory before they are shipped. The aim has always been to make Ramdev a leading household name in the domestic as well as International Spices & Food Markets. We are also an ISO 22000-2005 food safety certified organization with an inclusion of HACCP from the BUREAU of VERITAS, Denmark.

Ramdev has applied and have been awarded all the required quality certifications at the national & international level. At present, our company is the largest seller of basic spices in consumer packs (Chilly, Turmeric, Coriander & Cumin) in India.

Morever, our business footprint and loyal customers across the world are our testimonials for consistently delivering the finest grades of spices in multifarious forms year after year.

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)?
LSR: Spices in the days of yore meant a handful of them like pepper, cloves, cardamom, ginger, to name a few. Being one of the first to introduce spices in attractive and convenient consumer packs, Ramdev has set a new trend in the Indian spice market. Today, with the world becoming a village, different cuisines across the globe have transcended borders and with that our product portfolio too has expanded to cater to international palates.

Ramdev today enjoys market leadership in Basic Spices, Whole and Powder Spices, Blended Spices, Instant Mixes, Indian Groceries, Pickles, Chutneys, Papad, Khakhra, Frozen Vegetables (IQF) & many other food categories and ranks amongst a few brands that have a nationwide presence in the organized sector in India.

So far, we are already exporting to more than 24 countries with a range of 600+ products across the globe where USA, UK & Australia are our key markets. Canada, China, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, UAE, Qatar, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Reunion (France), Angola, Republic of South Sudan, South Africa, Asia Pacific Middle East & Africa regions are the other major regions where we export.

We are into Private Labeling for some famous brands like Deep, Kathoomba and Sartaj. The company plans to increase its overseas presence, in view of its growing acceptance in more and more countries. We welcome our business associates who can import and distribute Ramdev products in their own territories, by offering exclusive distribution & exceptional business opportunities.

We are also present at Big Bazaar, D-mart, Reliance Mart, Big Basket etc. Ramdev Products are available at almost 700 modern trade stores. Worth mentioning, Ramdev Food Products Pvt. Ltd. has its own e-commerce website www.ramdevstore.com, with threefold rise in the sales and availability of products across leading market places such as Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm and Snapdeal and with the vision to reach the customers’ taste buds across the nation.

IndusFood: How do you see growth in the food and agro processing industry from India? How is it expected to reflect on the exports front?
LSR: The Indian food industry is poised for huge growth, increasing its contribution to world food trade every year. In India, the food sector has emerged as a high-growth and high-profit sector due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry. Food and grocery account for around 31% of India’s consumption basket. Overall agro and processed food exports rose to Rs 1.28 lakh crore in financial year 2019 from Rs 1.20 lakh crore in the 2017-18 fiscal, according to data from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

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?
LSR: As of now, we have decided to focus on our current style only instead of thinking for a new expansion in terms of product lines.

However, the company plans to increase its overseas presence, in view of its growing acceptance in more and more countries. We welcome our business associates who can import and distribute Ramdev products in their own territories, by offering exclusive distribution & exceptional business opportunities.

Presently we are catering to the Indian diaspora majorly in US, Canada, UK and Australia. We don’t have much exposure in MENA Region, which is our main objective at present. We are exploring opportunities in bulk segments due to our more than 50 years of experience in spices and related products.   

IndusFood: What is your take on IndusFood launching IndusFood-Tech and IndusFood-Chem as brand extension? How will it help the industry?
LSR: Of course, people from around the world are reaching to IndusFood for their needs and we are taking our brand to IndusFood to introduce it to new customers. So, branding & awareness is our main principal goal.

The show is a platform that facilitates exhibitors with three key requisites: Brand awareness, products visibilities and connecting to international & domestic buyers without visiting them at their sites! It is a must attend for all.