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By TPCI | September 10, 2019

“From a small spice shop to an export mogul”- this perfectly sums up as the journey of Kwality Spices. Endowed with the Best Manufacturing Excellence Award (Food category) at Invest Karnataka Summit, 2017, Kwality is one of the emerging exporters of spices and cereals in India today. In a conversation with IndusFood, Mr. Dheeraj Jain, Director, Kwality Spices, shares the fabulous success story of the company.

Dheeraj Jain has built a robust and professional team while heading the general trade and modern trade operations at Kwality Spices. A Bachelor in Business Management, Mr. Jain has spearheaded exports and has been managing over 150 people in the sales team, apart from 450 distributors across South & West India, 35,000 domestic retailers and 5,000 international retailers. Under his leadership, the company has expanded its presence to 20 countries, majorly in Asia, Middle East and Africa.

IndusFood: What was the inspiration and vision behind the setting up of Kwality Spices? How has the brand, “Kwality Spices” evolved since its inception?
Dheeraj Jain: KWALITY made a debut in the spices industry when its founder Sri Bhawarlalji Pagariya embarked on his journey as a spice trader with just a small spice shop in a primitive area of Bangalore. He came from a small town Sojat in Rajasthan to earn a livelihood. He commenced his business as a provision store and ran it for 30+ years. However, it was in 1998, when Mr. Naresh Pagariya, son of Bhawarlalji Pagariya, felt that in order to ensure exponential success, there was a dire need to venture into manufacturing as well. Without giving a second thought to the idea, we started with the manufacturing of four varieties of masalas in that tiny shop. Naresh spearheaded and built a solid infrastructure for the company\'s state-of-the-art factory across two acres in Harohalli, Bangalore. Therefore, with the advent of Naresh, who is today the MD, the entire affair accentuated from that small shop to a 300-square feet facility on Magadi Road, Bangalore.

This laid the foundation for tremendous growth and we slowly kept on adding products, since then. Eventually, within one year, we appended our showcase with a total of eight products in the range and within no time, the products crossed the boundaries of Bangalore and spread to nearby towns like Tumkur, Ananthpur & others.

Within one year, in 2002, the unit moved to a space, which was five times bigger than the previous one. This period marked an inflow of new ideas in our minds for some product innovations, so as to place the firm well in the market. We certainly felt that products with attractive packaging and that too, at affordable prices, will fetch a better traction for the brand. The idea was an instant hit. Since then, we never looked back.

Within the next 2 years, we launched almost 20 more products in masalas; instant mixes and cereals were also added. The markets were expanded to all the regions of South India. The company also launched, for the very first time, Gobi Manchurian Mix & Noodles Masala, in the Indian market & they were very well accepted.

After ensuring a strong hold in the domestic market, we switched our interests towards modern trade in 2012 & today we enjoy a kind of omnipotent presence across modern trade.  

IndusFood: What transformational changes has the business undergone since its inception in terms of product portfolio/innovations, reach, brand equity, etc.
Dheeraj Jain: Factors driving the growth for our products are as below: • Good taste with good quality
• Pricing / MRP – value for money
• All variants available under one umbrella
• Available in small packs; children eat as snacks and new consumers treat it as good for a trial.

Combi packs are our latest innovation. They are packed with nutrition and taste, exclusively designed for kids and young adults. We have positioned it as a “QUICK SNACK” and due to the variety, neither the kids nor the adults will get bored. We have seven verticals added to this wholesome combi-pack containing four different varieties viz. choco flakes, choco fills, strawberry fills and fruit rings.

We also added Instant pasta in our innovation list. It’s made of durum wheat and is dried, not fried. It is a healthy snack option, which comes in Indian masala flavor at a super affordable price of just Rs 10.

IndusFood: How do you ensure quality across your product portfolio?
Dheeraj Jain: KWALITY products are manufactured under good manufacturing practices with internationally accepted HACCP guidelines to achieve the best quality. Raw materials are sourced from the best of the cultivators across different regions of India and are processed after passing through stringent quality control systems of current international standards.

The products are packed and presented in world-class packaging with ‘aroma retention’ technology to deliver fresh taste and flavor in the kitchen.

 How has the brand progressed in the Indian and international markets? 
Dheeraj Jain: A professionally managed marketing and sales team ensures that the products are readily available through a network of super stockists, distributors and retailers. KWALITY products are made available at all modern trade outlets like Reliance, Big Bazaar, Dmart, Metro, More, Walmart, etc and the kirana stores near your home. They are being exported to various countries also. Bulk packs are made for the convenience of the institutions and caterers.

The company operates four channels - General Trade, Modern Trade, E-commerce and Exports. Apart from this, the company also supplies to CSD (army canteens) all over India. In general trade, the company has over 450 distributors across South India and West India with over 35,000 domestic retailers. Products are also available on e-commerce as Amazon, Flipkart, Big Basket etc.  

IndusFood: How do you see the growth in the Indian food and agro processing industry both in general and spices segment? How is it expected to reflect on the exports front?
Dheeraj Jain: Overall, the organised segment in the spices industry is growing at about 15% and major conversion is happening with the sector becoming more organised. However, we expect to grow at a minimum of 40%. Across the globe, spices are exported majorly from India and we intend to mark a multifold growth in exports year-on-year for next 3 years.

IndusFood: How do you plan to expand the business in the near future?
Dheeraj Jain: We are looking forward to a pan-India expansion as far as the domestic market is concerned. In terms of exports, we plan to cover entire Middle East and Africa and plan to be present in at least 30 countries by the end of FY\'20. The brand is also slated to add more healthy and nutritious products, which would be made available in the market at very affordable prices.  

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?
Dheeraj Jain: Yes, we have participated in IndusFood earlier. We are really happy with government taking the initiative and having a big vision to increase exports. We intend to participate in 2020 as well and have invited a number of our customers. We are also looking forward to launch combi pack and pasta in IndusFood 2020.  

What is your take on IndusFood launching IndusFood-Tech and IndusFood-Chem as brand extension? How will it help the industry?
Dheeraj Jain: It will certainly offer huge help to the entire food industry. IndusFood-Tech and IndusFood-Chem would accelerate the industry as a whole. We look forward to an ever burgeoning Indian food industry and mushrooming exports in ancillary industries as well.