There is a yearly wastage of 5 million metric tonnes of onions produce in India (25% of the total yield). EGK Foods Pvt Ltd is an 18 month old Indian startup looking to make a positive impact in the onion trade and onion processing field. Satyajit Roy, managing director and chief executive officer of EGK Foods Pvt. Ltd tells our correspondent, Pranay Mathur, how he has been able to reduce household’s effort going into chopping, peeling and frying onions by launching the EGK Fresh Fried Onions packs. Roy also talks about the packaging design of the fried onion packs and its rationale.
Here are the excerpts:
Pranay Mathur (PM): How did the idea of selling crispy fried onion come to your mind?
Satyajit Roy (SR): The concept for EGK Fresh Fried Onions was born out of our kitchen at home. Being from a Bengali family, our weekly sinful indulgence has been mutton biryani on Sundays. Sunday mornings were a tearful affair in this house! Seeing the amount of effort going into chopping, peeling and frying onions one such Sunday morning, not to mention the tears shed, it suddenly struck us that we could be getting our fried onions from the markets directly.
A quick Google search revealed that no such product existed in the market. We look at EGK Fresh Fried Onions as a product that is similar to Tomato Puree. If we can eliminate the effort and maintain the quality and taste of the final product at a competitive price, no one would be frying their own onions anymore.
Currently we process 150 MT of raw onions every month.
PM: What is the USP of your product? Tell us in brief about your company.
SR: The USP of our EGK Fresh Fried Onions is that we add convenience and reduce labor in any kitchen – home or commercial. There is minimal variance in the taste, consistency and texture of our product so people prefer to use EGK Fresh Fried Onions as compared to frying their own onions. We are also extremely cost competitive.
EGK Foods Pvt Ltd is an 18 month old Indian startup looking to make a positive impact in the onion trade and onion processing field. There is a yearly wastage of 5 million metric tonnes of onions produce in India (25% of the total yield). Through our innovative products in the onion space, especially EGK Fresh Fried Onions, we are poised to process and sell large quantities of onion products in the domestic as well as international markets. We currently process approximately 150 MT per month of raw onions to produce and sell 30 MT of EGK Fresh Fried Onions.
PM: How is packaging technology helping you in fulfilling your dream?
SR: The new packaging technology that we are using allows our product EGK Fresh Fried Onions to stay crisp for up to 6 months. This is the reason that our consumers like the product so much because we are able to maintain consistency in crispiness as well as flavor.
PM: Who are your target customers? Apart from taste and flavor of your product, do you think packaging design will play any role in attracting your target customers? How are you going to tap this opportunity?
SR: Our target customers are currently caterers, restaurants and hotels. As we make our first move in Modern Trade and General Trade we have specially designed our packaging to attract customers off the shelves directly. Through extensive sampling we plan to build a massive direct to consumer customer base over the next few months.
PM: Please tell us about the look and design of the all new EGK Fresh Fried Onions packs.
SR: The all-new logo unit for Everyday Gourmet Foods replaces the erstwhile tilted chef’s toque with a round insignia-like crest, making it a more wholesome, integrated unit, in a fresh combination of two shades of green, balanced with adequate yellow — as our product line is purely vegetarian.
The modern-day crest with crossed frying spatulas, between the well-rounded letters E, G and K works as a recognizable mark equally against light and dark backgrounds and is distinctly recognizable in all sizes.
PM: Please tell us about EGK’s packaging design rationale.
SR: The idea of using a pin-striped brown paper bag feel on the design, replete with a vintage pen and ink illustration of onions, stemmed from the thought of keeping the packaging classical, simple and frills-free; yet to make it appear distinct and contemporary from a shelf-throw perspective. In a cluttered market scenario, we opted for refined modesty over garish graphics.
The centralized structure of the pack design and the choice of fonts is vintage and classical, yet contemporary and clean.
The world over, premium brands in categories as diverse as chocolates, confectionery and even fashion brands have used a similar overall approach of a vanilla brown paper bag feel, in their packaging and brand experience. Of course, keeping in mind our category and the nature of the packaging substrate, ours is a simulated feel rather than an actually tactile brown paper experience. In sum, the idea was to make our brand exude premiumness through simplicity.
PM: Who designs your packaging?
SR: Our packaging was designed by One By One Design – a Kolkata-based design house and now with a Mumbai office too. One by One Design has a unique talent pool of exceptional expertise that looks at design not just as aesthetic solutions but from the eyes of experts who have helped build successful brands over the years. One by One Design’s services comprise all possible brand-related design, both online and offline, ranging from corporate identity design to packaging, to brand communication collaterals, across media.
PM: Where do you source your raw materials from? What are the challenges?
SR: We source raw materials (onions) from the farmers directly. There are various challenges for the same. The market is volatile and storage is an issue as crops tend to go bad if not stored properly.
PM: What are your expansion plans? Do you have plans for backward integration?
SR: We have plans to expand our production capacity to 100 MT per month within the next 12 months. On the back end, we integrate with farmers to offer them fair prices for their produce and hence help them to avoid volatility of the market. This helps them to do what they do best, which is to concentrate on the quality of their produce and make sure that their crops come out healthy.