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INTERVIEW

“We plan to start exporting to UAE, UK and Fiji Islands”
Monday, 22 August, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
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LivRite Foods, an emerging honey manufacturer, recently launched a range of honey products. Kayan Motashaw, founding partner, LivRite Foods, in an email interaction with Lucy Fernandes throws light on the new range and the market with emphasis on the growth of competition in retail market, the effect of pricing, new packaging advancements that ensure quality and safety of the products and expansion plans. Excerpts:

How has the demand for honey in the Indian market been? Tell us about the consumption pattern of honey in the Indian market.
Growth of the retail industry has helped in raising the popularity of wellness products like honey, since it now offers several more options to the consumer. Merely 3-4 years ago, honey was treated as more of a medicinal product but today it is part of daily grocery to many. The fact that we also see several foreign brands on shelf now is an indication of the increasing acceptance of this wonder food and the growing awareness of its innumerable benefits. More and more people are now consuming honey for its enormous therapeutic benefits right from weight loss, to being an instant energy booster to empowering the immune system and the list is endless.

There have been several cases where FSSAI has discovered presence of adulterants and colour additives used in honey above the prescribed levels. How do we put an end to such malpractices? How do you, as a part of the industry, contribute towards this end?
We are just a drop in the ocean at this juncture; but we try to contribute our bit in several ways. As mentioned above, we have imported some very advanced and expensive on-field test kits. This helps us procure the right stuff right at the extraction and procurement stage. This also discourages the beekeepers from indulging in malpractices. Our honey is then sealed and transported straight to our facility, therefore leaving no loopholes for any malpractice even during transit. As manufacturers, we are extremely particular about delivering products with the highest possible quality standards and products which are 100% pure.

Do we see a movement towards organic honey from non-organic honey?
Both organic and inorganic honey are well accepted as on date. The price of organic honey will always be a dissuading factor since not everybody can pay twice the amount for the same gram-age. As long as the levels are within permissible limits it shouldn’t be a reason of concern. India produces considerably low volumes of organic honey currently and most of it is exported.

Brief us about the product offered by your company. How much is the shelf-life of your products?
LivRite Foods LLP currently offers two variants of Beelicious honey in jars of 250g & 400g: 1. Classic Premium honey; 2. Kashmiri Premium honey.

We will have our third variant - Raw Kashmir Acacia Premium honey soon.

We are also introducing a 30g jar and a single serve pack of 7g.

Honey being a preservative in itself; does not have a limited shelf life. However one must avoid exposing it directly to sunlight. It compromises the flavour and colour to a certain extent. Since we follow the international labelling norms and it is mandatory to have a best before date; we suggest that the honey be consumed within 18 months of packing.

How are your products different from competitors? There are several brands like Dabur and Patanjali. How different are your products compared to them? What quality precautions are taken for your products?
Beelicious is free from added sugar, or fructose or corn syrup.

One of the main reasons behind founding “LivRite Foods LLP” is to introduce 100% pure, adulteration-free, real honey!

We consider our honey to be a work of art; which is why we travel personally and extensively, to pick the best honey available.

Our honey is carefully selected from Kashmir, Himachal, Jammu and other parts of northern India. We understand that stringent parameter checks are a must right from the field stage. To ensure this, we have imported very specialised portable test kits from Europe and USA, which we use on field. The detailed tests conducted before selecting the honey is the key differentiator, which then reflects in the quality of the final product.

Our team has a keen eye for perfection and we therefore use only brand new food grade drums for transportation. Many a times drums used for sesame oil are reused for honey which we believe could compromise the taste, odour and quality to some extent.

Beelicious honey then goes through a unique, one-of-a-kind filtration process; from a state-of-the-art processing plant that was recently imported by us. It works on the latest; and thus a very different technology from the existing plants. Our process allows honey to retain all of its natural goodness, antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and nutrients as it is only warmed to 45 degrees. Additionally, most of the honey’s pollen content gets retained too. This might affect the aesthetic appeal; but nonetheless is great for health.

Honey, when processed at very high temperatures, looses the beneficial enzymes and other nutrients, leaving behind only the sugars; thus defeating the very purpose of its consumption. Having our own imported processing plant makes it possible to control the quality; right from extraction to packing.

We are also one of the handful Indian companies; to introduce Kashmiri Acacia honey through one of our variants. This is very exclusive as it is available for only 20 days a year. We are also launching raw Kashmir Acacia honey.

We take utmost care right until the last step of packing and hence use full boxes; rather than shrink packed half cartons, so that the honey is not compromised due to high temperature used for shrink packing. We also have a tie-up with The Akshaya Patra Foundation, whereby a certain amount per jar sold, is donated towards malnourished kids.

What are the key strengths of your product that give it an edge in the market?
When it comes to nutritional wellness products, the market either offers premium goods at exorbitant prices or affordable goods that are unfortunately, not very quality-centric. Finding products that have a perfect balance of quality and price is a rarity. Filling this void by making reliable, premium and high quality local products available to our consumers at fair prices is a key strength.

The other factor is our packaging, which has been appreciated by one and all so far. Keeping in mind the premium quality of our natural honey, our identity in terms of packaging too, had to be exceptional. Not so surprisingly, it was the hardworking innocent honeybee itself that gave us inspiration. Making us choose black and yellow gold as our primary colours. We also decided to give special importance to our key USPs which is why we have a brief note on each jar - SKU sizes.  Soon, we will have an entire range - right from a large jar to just a single sachet. We are coming up with some very innovative and user-friendly (mess-free) packaging concepts that can cater to daily individual consumption needs.  We will be offering single-serve packs of 7g that can be easily carried in a purse, in a tiffin box, in a gym bag and so on. Our consumers can also buy just 1 single sachet. We are certain that this would increase our reach tremendously.

Your current operations are restricted to India. So, are you looking ahead to expand your business globally?
Yes, there is a huge global market for honey. Beelicious is at par with international standards in terms of quality of product and packaging both, which makes the process of expansion much easier. We have received very encouraging feedback for our current honey variants and plan to start exporting to the UAE, the UK, and the Fiji Islands soon.
 
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