Emerging Entrepreneurs

Serving up traditional Indian delicacies with authentic spices

Vishwanath Kulkarni | Updated on April 30, 2018 Published on April 30, 2018

Sudeep Srivastava, CEO, MintSprint Food and Beverages Pvt Ltd

MintSprint Food sells the Kalchi brand of curry spreads and ready-to-eats

Ideas to start a new business can come from anywhere. For Sudeep Srivastava and partners, who till recently were running a chain of food outlets at sports retailer Decathalon across multiple locations, a steady and repeated demand for the spreads used in their sandwiches mainly by the youngsters, triggered a new business idea. Thus, Kalchi, a start-up selling the Indian curry spreads, was born. “We have now diversified the product range a bit — from the Indian curry spreads to ready-to-eat kebabs and marinated chicken,” says Sudeep Srivastava, CEO, MintSprint Food and Beverages Pvt Ltd, which sells its products under the brandname Kalchi.

New category in curry spreads

Over the past six-to-eight months, the Kalchi brand of curry spreads and ready-to-eats have found space on the shelves of retailers such as MORE, SPAR, Godrej Nature’s Basket and Foodall Stores. “We are also selling online through Bigbasket,” says Sudeep, while claiming that Kalchi products are free from any ‘artificial preservatives.’ Kalchi is creating a new category in curry spreads with an USP of multi-usability of the product — can be used for breakfast or lunch or dinner. “The spreads available in the market typically go well with the bakery products such as bread or buns. But our curry spreads can be used also with rice, dosa or Indian breads such as roti, chapati or parathas,” he adds.

Unlike the spreads available in the market that are either mayonnaise or curd based, the Kalchi products are either paneer or chicken-based spreads because of which they have higher protein content and provide balanced nutrition, says Sudeep.

Kalchi competes with the likes of MTR and ITC and the new age brands such as Veeba and Wingreens. The changing lifestyles, rising disposable incomes and the growing dependence on convenience foods are driving growth in categories such as curry and sandwich spreads, which is estimated around ₹600 crore.

Kalchi sells 250 packs of its products daily, mainly in the Bengaluru market and expects the volumes to increase as it proposes to branch out to Mumbai and Delhi over the next few months. Production of Kalchi brand of products is concentrated in Bengaluru. It proposes to tap the B2B segment and plans to have its own e-commerce portal while targeting cafés and pizza chains that are looking to increase their Indianised servings. “We wanted to initially establish a retail brand and have been largely successful,” says Sudeep, who comes from a background in infrastructure engineering having worked with Reliance, Essar and Leighton, an Australian firm.

Sports connection

Sudeep has two partners Shashi Bhatia, who had a stint with Bharti Airtel and GVK, and Payal Srivastava who had worked with Reliance, Smec and Leighton. Fascination for sports brought them together to float a sports event management firm Talentspeak Pvt Ltd that was associated with sportsmen such as Limba Ram, Bahadur Prasad and Shiny Wilson. A liking for food landed the TalentSpeak team with an opportunity to run the food outlets at Decathlon and thus MintSprint evolved.

The initial funding for MintSprint Food & Beverages — about half a million dollars — has come in through the promoters, their family and friends and several HNIs including former bosses, says Sudeep. “We are in talks with some venture capitalists to raise a pre-series A funding of about half a million and expect to close the deal by end of next month,” he adds. The funding is expected to help Kalchi expand into other markets.

Published on April 30, 2018
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor