Agri Business

This start-up brings some ‘difficult’ traditional vegetables back to kitchens

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on May 07, 2021

nGV Natural Industry is supplying two such vegetables – banana stem and tender jackfruit – in RTC format

You would have tasted some of the vegetables in your childhood and want it to taste the same way now also. But the problems associated with processing of those vegetables make many people to look at other alternatives.

Now, a Bengaluru-based agro-food processing start-up has been supplying two such vegetables – banana stem and tender jackfruit – in ready-to-cook (RTC) format.

Naveen GV, Founder of nGV Natural Industry Pvt Ltd, told BusinessLine that some vegetables that are easily available are difficult to process. Added to this, many in today’s generation don’t want to spend time on the cumbersome process of making dishes from such vegetables.

After nearly two decades of experience in IT MNCs, Naveen quit his job in 2018 and started his venture with a single product – banana stem dices in RTC format - in 2019.

Stating that he had plans to enter the RTC food segment while leaving the job, he said: “I used the period between May 2018 and March 2019 to do homework on this.”

He said that the fibrous nature of banana stem makes its processing a cumbersome time-consuming task. Considering this, he devised an automated mechanism for the processing of banana stem. With this, his unit in Bengaluru can process one tonne of banana stem a day. Banana stem, which usually goes waste in farmers’ fields, will provide additional income to farmers also, he said.

In January this year, Naveen added one more product, tender jackfruit dices in RTC format. Stating that tender jackfruit provides scope for many tasty recipes, he said it is not easy to process it because of its sticky properties. Added to this, it is also hard to make dices of tender jackfruit.

“We have done some research on ground level and identified varieties of jackfruit that are good to use in kitchens at tender jackfruit stage. We have also done experiments to increase the shelf life and to avoid oxidation without using preservatives. Now nGV Natural industry is ready to process tender jackfruit of minimum 500 kg per day,” he said.

Consumption

Though banana stems were used in home kitchens only, Naveen made an effort to introduce it to HoReCa (hotels, restaurants and catering) segment also.

Stating that banana stem dishes were almost absent in industrial canteens of IT companies till 2019, he said he made an effort to introduce it there, and got good response for it.

To a query on the reason for this, Naveen said he was giving the product in RTC format at consistent rate. People are there to supply carrot and beetroot in RTC format. But there will be huge price variations during different periods.

Almost 150 hotels in Bengaluru were his customers. Main markets for his products were Bengaluru, Chennai and Mangaluru.

Now the consuming market for his products has shifted from HoReCa and retail to online segment due to the impact of Covid on those sectors. He said nearly 80 per cent of the market was from HoReCa and retail and 20 per cent from online segment in the pre-Covid era. Now nearly 80 per cent of his market is online, he said.

On why consumers like RTC format of these vegetables, he said now the traders sell whole banana stem that may not be easy to process, and they sell whole tender jackfruit of 600-900 gm which is not preferred by consumers.

Apart from alleviating the problems related to the processing of these vegetables, he packs them in 250 gm packets. A 250-gm pack of tender jackfruit is enough for a one-time Biryani serving for a family in the city. All the 250 gm of the quantity will be used, and there is no question of wastage. This is not the case in whole tender jackfruit, he said.

Incubation

Naveen’s nGV Natural Industry Pvt Ltd is recognized by StartUp India, Karnataka StartUp, and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade under the Union Ministry of Commerce and MSME, and supported by NITI Aayog, Atal Innovation Mission and ICAR.

He said the start-up is incubated at TBIKEC (Kongu College of Engineering); Pusa Krishi under the Union Ministry of Agriculture; and AIC RAISE – Coimbatore.

Published on May 06, 2021

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