01 Sep VEGGIES IN RETAIL NET; TO BE BRANDED
It seems your neighbourhood veggie markets may soon be a thing of the past. Giving veggie-cart vendors a run for their money, companies like LEAF are now selling packed produce in stores. LEAF (Lawrencedale Agro Processing, India) is an end-to-end fresh produce-supply chain company that aggregates, processes and distributes fresh products to retailers in a branded and packaged format. KP Nair, director, said, “We are increasingly seeing that customers in Bangalore are focusing a lot on health. People are ready to spend more if they find the vegetable fresh and clean.”
The company ties up with farmers, collects their produce and takes it to their cleaning unit where the vegetables are ozone-washed. They are then packed and branded before being sent to retailers. 40 per cent of their total produce comes into Bengaluru — the highest for the company.
Nair said, “We cannot make the produce completely chemical free, but 90 per cent of chemicals are on the exterior of the vegetable. The ozone wash makes sure this is removed 100 per cent. It also increases the shelf life of the produce.” However, the bigger plus for this brand is that customers get to know the farmer and the location of the produce. So you can make sure if that Ooty carrot on your plate is actually from Ooty, and so on. Everyday around 10 tonnes of packaged fresh produce is brought into Karnataka. However, the company was started with a primary goal of ‘helping farmers free themselves from the hassle of the middle men’.