“Modern tech in food minimizes labour, automates processes”

In a comprehensive interview with IBT, Kanhai Porecha, the founder of Zissto, shares the journey of his venture from its inception in 2017. The brand, born out of the founder’s experience in London, aimed to address the gap in authentic Indian products. The interview delves into Zissto’s milestones, market footprint, technological integration, diversification plans, and observations on global F&B trends.

As Zissto aggressively expands in India and internationally, Kanhai emphasizes the importance of convenience in the food industry, saving time for busy individuals. The conversation also touches on the significance of Indusfood for showcasing products and connecting with clients worldwide.

kanhai - Zissto

IBT: Please tell us about your company and the inspiration behind its establishment. Also, could you please highlight the significant milestones achieved along the way? 

Kahai Porecha: Zissto was founded by me in 2017. The idea came to me while I was studying in London for my bachelor’s degree. Despite the presence of many Indian brands, I found a lack of authenticity in their products, especially in masalas and spices. When I returned to India, I identified a gap in the market and launched Zissto in 2017. It took two years to bring the product to the market, and in 2019, we started retail sales. The pandemic led to a surge in online sales as more people became home chefs, contributing to our product’s overnight success. Since 2021, we have been focusing on the B2B segment, targeting restaurants and hotel chains. We’ve expanded our reach to the UK, Mauritius, and Australia, aggressively growing our presence in different geographies.

IBT: What is the market footprint of your company both in India and in the international market?

Kanhai Porecha: We have a strong online presence nationwide, operating as a direct-to-consumer (D2C) company. Zissto is available across India on major online retailers like Amazon, Flipkart, Jiomart, and Big Basket. Our products are widely accessible, reaching customers everywhere. Additionally, we are proud to be stocked in retail stores such as Reliance Smart and Reliance Signature in Mumbai, Pune, and the NCR region. Internationally, we are expanding our footprint in the UK, Mauritius, and Australia, actively exploring opportunities in various geographies. We continually receive inquiries, and our focus is on meeting the demands and expectations of our expanding customer base.

IBT: How has your company embraced modern technology to enhance the production of high-quality FLP products?

Kanhai Porecha: Zissto collaborates with numerous partners, practising transparency and honesty. Our products are manufactured through contract manufacturing, involving multiple partners who contribute to shaping Zissto. We prioritize affiliations with factories that hold certifications such as US FDA approval, ISO certification, and BRC approval. Maintaining stringent Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and quality standards, we ensure that the recipe and SOP remain exclusive to us. While the partners contribute labour and machinery, the entire process, including the recipe, remains proprietary.

Investing significantly in cutting-edge machinery, our partnered factories boast top-of-the-line equipment. Whether it’s cold processing, freezing, or hot filling, our factories are equipped with advanced machinery, sourced from reputable manufacturers. Embracing modern technology in food production, we focus on minimizing manual labor and maximizing automation for efficiency and consistency.

IBT: Could you please elaborate on your plans for market and product diversification? Also, what factors or innovation drive your expansion into new markets and the introduction of new products?

Kanhai Porecha: When Zissto commenced its journey, our focus was primarily on manufacturing Indian gravies. However, our growth and expansion have led us to diversify our product range. We’ve ventured into producing Indian chutneys, Chinese sauces, and Italian sauces. Looking ahead, our future plans involve expanding into additional categories such as masalas, seasonings, mayonnaise, and even ready-to-eat meals—a convenient “heat and eat” concept.

While we have exciting expansion plans on the horizon, our current priority remains aggressively tapping into our existing market. This strategic approach ensures that as we explore new categories, we continue to strengthen our presence in the market we serve. All these developments are part of our long-term vision and will unfold gradually over time.

IBT: In the global F&B landscape, what major trends do you observe and how well positioned is the Indian F&B industry to leverage and capitalize on these trends?

Kanhai Porecha: Food trends are ever-changing. Think about how everyday items like ketchup and mayonnaise went from being fancy to essential in every home. Similarly, with products like Zissto, people initially wondered why choose ready-to-cook when you can cook at home. The answer is in our busy lives.

More and more people, whether working or homemakers, want convenience. The trend is all about saving time in the kitchen. Busy schedules demand solutions that cut down cooking time. This is the key to current food trends.

Take butter chicken gravy, for example. It usually takes an hour to make. But with our product, just add the gravy, boiled chicken, veggies, and water, boil for 10 minutes, and your tasty gravy is ready in no time. This focus on time-saving is what makes convenience a big trend.

IBT: What are your impressions of Indusfood and what specific expectations do you have for the upcoming edition of the show?

Kanhai Porecha: Indusfood is significant to me because it provides an excellent platform to showcase my products. It’s a great opportunity to meet clients, especially from the UK, US, Australia, and around the world. It’s a valuable chance for both new and existing clients to interact with us. We conduct tasting sessions at the exhibition, where we cook and present our products for them to try. This live experience helps them understand the taste and often leads to successful sales. Indusfood is a crucial platform for us to connect with potential and existing clients and effectively promote and sell our products.

Kanhai Porecha is a dynamic entrepreneur with a diverse background in business administration and a keen understanding of global family-managed businesses. Having earned his Bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA) from Kingston University, London, and a Master’s degree in Global Family Managed Business (GFMB) from SP Jain Global School of Management, Kanhai has equipped himself with a profound knowledge of global business dynamics.

In 2017, fueled by a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship, Kanhai made a bold decision to venture out on his own. He founded Zissto, a brand specializing in Ready To Cook & Eat Gravies, Sauces, Chutneys, and Dips. Zissto has established a strong presence in the market, catering to HORECA and retail chains such as Reliance Retail, Modern Bazaar, Society Stores, Spencers, and various online platforms including Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket, and JioMart across India. The brand has also expanded its reach globally, exporting products to Australia, the UK, and Mauritius, and actively exploring new opportunities in other international markets.

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