You can heal yourself with spices

Vikas Makhija, Managing Director of Tapovan Impex Private Ltd., spoke with India Business & Trade ahead of the IndusFood’s sixth edition. The fourth generation entrepreneur believes that the years of hardship and failure made him more committed to his passion for quality spice manufacturing. He adds that while Indians are well-versed with the medicinal properties of spices, it is now time for the rest of the world to experience its charm.

Vikas Makhija Tapovan Impex

Photo Sources: Tapovan Impex

IBT: Tapovan Impex was established close to 19 years ago. What inspired you start your own business?

Vikas Makhija: Tapovan Impex was established in August 2004. My first venture, started in 1999, was a failure. And we learn from everywhere, that learning is from failure only. In 2000, 2001, and 2002 I traveled the world-Asia, including Pacific countries, Australia and New Zealand, Dubai, Singapore, and Hong Kong, many other countries just to know the law. We had developed the right product, the right packaging, but somehow we fell short in the paperwork. Since 2004 my company never faced any compliance or regulation issue. So, export documentation is a challenging job, but we came out of this and now Tapovan Group is about 200 crore company, we are hoping to grow in a big way. We introduced during this journey our brand Bharat Bazaar in 2005 so that is how we started with a staff of four and now we have more than 100.

IBT: Initially, your company was manufacturing other brands’ food products. In 2005, you launched your in-house spice brand called Bharat Bazar. Why did you launch your own line of brand spice?

Vikas Makhija: The initial idea of our company was to export the existing brands’ food products. But when I started visiting overseas I had this idea launch a brand for myself. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and my great-grandfather was involved in spices, so that idea came from that. I spoke to my buyers for these spices. So in 2005, we came up with the Bharat Bazaar brand. This is how we started exporting our products under this name. Spices business has been a part of our entrepreneurial journey for almost 120 years. Somehow my father chose to pursue another business idea from 1972 to 2000. So, you can say I restarted our traditional business.

IBT: Indian market has a competitive environment in the spice manufacturing segment. Along with established big brands there is an option to purchase spices in loose packets as well. So what prompted you to re-enter into the spices? 

Vikas Makhija: With spice manufacturing I realised challenges like sub-standard packaging in the market. In the global market, Pakistan products were more promoted, with a tough competition from famous Indian spice brands. But once you go into real life, there’s a difference. It took me 10 years to understand my business aspirations and to realize that spices manufacturing and trade are a passion for me. I want to offer a wide range of fresh spices and I wholeheartedly believe in the motto “Whole world is one plate”, so I want to serve the consumers with my products.

IBT: Let’s talk about Bharat Bazaar. You’re exporting spices to other countries. Which are some of your major international destinations and what is your plan for expansion on the global front? 

Vikas Makhija: We started (export) to Australia as it has ample market potential for Indian products to grow. From Australia we expanded our footprints to Asia Pacific and later to New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. These are the major countries I’ve started exporting to.

In 2012-13, we entered European market and began exporting to the UK, Ireland, parts of Italy, Norway, and Cyprus. in 2015, we began exporting our products to the U.S. So, these are the markets we are exporting to currently.

IBT: What is Bharat Bazaar’s presence in the domestic market? 

Vikas Makhija: We wanted to launch Bharat Bazaar in India around 3 years back. My daughter joined our business and led the new packaging and makeover of bakery products. In 2021, we showcased our product line in the Aahar exhibition for the domestic market. We have significant presence in the online portals like Amazon, Flipkart, and Meesho.

Tapovan Impex is expanding our foothold in the virtual market and my daughter has cracked the deal with BigBasket which will distribute our products in Delhi, Gurgaon, and Sonipat. We have an expansion plan to introduce our full product range into the domestic market. Along with this we have established a factory in Jaipur and in the coming years, we will set up another factory in Sonipat to meet the demand in the domestic market.

IBT: There is a major shift in consumer behavior. What future do you see for FMCG products or F&B products in retail stores versus online stores?

Vikas Makhija: We all have learnt something from COVID, and one major lesson is the utmost importance of product quality. Indian people have a good immune system, and dwell with the only good products, good food habits and spices. India is a natural country for the spices like cumin, red chili, and turmeric and these products have a very good potential for improving your health. You can heal yourself from spices. Indian spices have value and if you have it on your plate, include it in your daily routine, your immune system can improve anytime and you can fight with the COVID and other ailments that may come in the future. Today we are facing COVID somewhere, next down the line 5 or 10 years something else will come, we don’t know, but we have to be healthier so we have to take care of our food intake. So, I recommend people to make spices a party of their daily diet.

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Bharti
Bharti
1 month ago

It is amazing, it’s really inspiring us and it is an honour to be part of your company made with so much of hardwork & passion. Thank you

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