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Home > Sunday Mid Day News > A lot on their plate

A lot on their plate

Updated on: 13 December,2020 07:58 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Prutha Bhosle | prutha.bhosle@mid-day.com

Entrepreneur friends from Bengaluru launch website to hawk legendary food brands from across Indian states to foodies living in metros.

A lot on their plate


Ever craved Bhagat's rose soan rolls from Nagpur? The sweetmeat brand is the undisputed king when it comes to preparing the world's best soan papdi. What about Karnataka's famous crispy fried rice crackers nippattu? How about Bengal's most favourite snack-Mukharochak's sweet and sour chanachur? A Bengaluru-based start-up is making sure that you get to try trusted, delicious food brands from across the country right in your home.


Started in 1956 by the late HR Ramaswamy Iyengar, the Sreenivasa Brahmins Bakery began at the same spot in Basavanagudi selling bread and rusk to the local population in Bengaluru. Pics/Ajeesh F Rawther
Started in 1956 by the late HR Ramaswamy Iyengar, the Sreenivasa Brahmins Bakery began at the same spot in Basavanagudi selling bread and rusk to the local population in Bengaluru. Pics/Ajeesh F Rawther



Like the start-ups that launched this year, this one too has its genesis in the Coronavirus-induced lockdown. It was May, two months since the national lockdown, and Muskaan Sancheti's Marwari family in Bengaluru was panicking because they had run out of a staple, papad. "When you hail from Rajasthan, running out of papad is akin to a minor crisis," says the 21-year-old commerce graduate, adding that after serious toil and being overcharged for delivery, they managed to get their hands on a few packets from a store 15 km away from their Bannerghatta Road home. Sancheti realised both-the importance of local eats to Indian families, and how easily the distribution network could be disrupted.


Sunita Nahata is from Bikaner, Rajasthan, and is passionate about baking. Her ghee atta biscuits are a popular item on the website
Sunita Nahata is from Bikaner, Rajasthan, and is passionate about baking. Her ghee atta biscuits are a popular item on the website

Although her original plan was to gain work experience before turning entrepreneur, the lockdown didn't offer any opportunities, and Sancheti decided to dive right in with friend Raghav Jhawar.
Kolkata-based Jhawar, 21, is an extrovert and loves everything business. A casual laugh about the Sanchetis' papad crisis led the two to think up The State Plate, an e-commerce platform that aims to sell high-quality food brands from across India's states. A competitive analysis revealed that Rajasthan's most authentic food brands weren't available with e-commerce giants like Amazon. By June, the duo was building the website, and by July, they had supplies coming in from five states.

H R Ramaswamy Iyengar’s Congress kadlekaayi and masala peanuts from Sreenivasa Brahmins Bakery have been famous in Bengaluru since 1956
H R Ramaswamy Iyengar’s Congress kadlekaayi and masala peanuts from Sreenivasa Brahmins Bakery have been famous in Bengaluru since 1956

When the business picked up, Jhawar moved to Bengaluru. "We started with products from just five states with an appointed dealer/stockist in Bengaluru, since we were just testing the model, and wanted to keep things simple. What was tough was negotiating the margins, because we didn't have a lot of bargaining power. The challenge wasn't sourcing good products, but controlling margins. Now that the country has opened up, we have found better ways to research and hunt down diverse suppliers. Now, a lot of the products are procured directly from the source state," says Jhawar, who says speaking to friends and acquaintances from various regions of India helped them gauge which products had a fan following. "And then of course, comes the tasting. Do we like how it tastes, and does someone who hails from the said state think it of authentic taste? Of course, some of the brands that we have are iconic."

Sankethi Nutriments Pvt Ltd is a 10-year-old enterprise and is endorsed by 20 lakh customers worldwide. Their Nippattu by Adukale are to die for, says the State Plate team
Sankethi Nutriments Pvt Ltd is a 10-year-old enterprise and is endorsed by 20 lakh customers worldwide. Their Nippattu by Adukale are to die for, says the State Plate team

Product development is an ongoing process, and the idea was to keep getting better through product reviews and suggestions. "Our existing market consists primarily of adults over the age of 25, and we find more female customers than male. Youth and millennials aren't a core target at the moment, perhaps because they are a bit removed from traditional flavours unlike the older lot. But we would like to get them acquainted with the diversity of flavours India has to offer and broaden the target market," Sancheti says. "Mumbaikars are more given to order munchies or some staples.

Muskaan Sancheti and Raghav Jhawar launched The State Plate in August this year. The e-commerce platform hopes to source and sell authentic packaged products from states across India
Muskaan Sancheti and Raghav Jhawar launched The State Plate in August this year. The e-commerce platform hopes to source and sell authentic packaged products from states across India

People order staples, because it's tough to find authentic snacks like papad, chutneys and homemade pickles. We also get orders for Karnataka-specific foods from Mumbai, where young professionals have moved for work," Jhawar adds. Of the 500 items available on the site, two of the three bestsellers are Maharashtra brands. "Chitale Bandhu bhakarwadi and Laxminarayan chivda from Pune. The third is Parshumal Bhujiya from Rajasthan," he shares. But his personal favourite is West Bengal's Mukharochak sweet and sour chanachur, Shanta ji's Manchurian khakhra, and Rajasthani papad and bhujia. Sancheti says among the sweets, it's the Pali's gulab halwa and Amrali's dry fruit barfi that are fast sellers.

Raghav Jhawar and Muskaan Sancheti

The site manages to keep stock of at least 70 per cent of the total product list. Items that have low shelf life and need to be freshly procured are dispatched within two days. Most orders take three to four days to reach India's major metros. Far off destinations like cities in Northeast India are serviced in six to seven days. Jhawar says, "Our customers say they are loving our service and the courier companies have adapted to COVID-19 norms and work efficiently."

The mid-day verdict
We ordered gulab halwa (Rs 225) from Pali, Rajasthan, Mukharochak sweet and sour chanachur snack (Rs 70) from West Bengal, Gangwal jirawan masala (Rs 45) from Indore and Katdare goda masala (Rs 50) from Maharashtra. The parcels reached the writer's Mumbai residence in four days.

While the halwa had the perfect balance of premium and handpicked ingredients, the chanachur was a simple, tasty munchie. The MP masala is good to sprinkle on poha or curries for an Indori touch, and the goda masala worked well in our preparation of masaale bhaat.

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