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Started her dairy startup to protect her daughter from allergy, ended up making 2 Cr turnover

Pune-based Rupali Kakade and Mohit Rathod co-founded “Truly Desi," an organic dairy products startup in 2018.

By Gopu S K
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Started her dairy startup to protect her daughter from allergy, ended up making 2 Cr turnover

In 2018, Pune-based Rupali Kakade and Mohit Rathod co-foundedTruly Desi," an organic dairy products startup.

Woman entrepreneur, Rupali Kakade wanted to protect her daughter from adulterated milk, and that initiative ended up in launching her startup, Truly Desi.

The GauEcoGram Agro Vikas Producer Limited Company is in charge of the Truly Desi project. Its goal is to help farmers in rural India by connecting them directly with customers so that they can sell their goods at a fair price and become financially stable.

Remedy to an Empire

In 2016, Rupali Kakade, a teaching associate, found her five-year-old daughter was falling sick on a frequent basis. Being a mother, she was worried.

Rupali and her husband consulted a doctor, and he directed their daughter to take a list of tests.

After a few tests, the doctor's feedback was that the allergy was likely because of the dairy products she served her daughter. Since the milk is adulterated, it could cause various health issues, and it can be dangerous for a kid.

As a result, Rupali and her husband decided to stop buying milk completely. However, since dairy is an essential component of a child's diet, they needed to search for a substitute.

The couple finally bought a few cows in Pune and took them to their family land in Junnar, which is about 90 kilometres away from the city.

"We started milking these Lal Kandhar cows," Rupali to TBI, adding that they began supplying the pure milk to their relatives and friends in addition to drinking it.

It all started with that. Prior to that, small steps were taken, and the brand "Truly Desi" began official selling of health - care and organic foods in 2018.

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“Truly” Greatness

As the mompreneur began to build the brand and brainstorm new product ideas, she met Mohit Rathod, a management consultant. He initially joined Truly Desi as a business consultant because he loved the core idea on which the brand was formed and didn't have a second thought about being a part of the venture.

According to the duo, Truly Desi's goal is to create an ecosystem that allows its customers to benefit from 100% fresh and certified organic products.

“We offer organic indigenous dairy products such as cultured ghee, butter, A2 paneer along with some other healthy items to the consumers,” says Rupali.

The main goal, she claims, was and still is to find an alternative to the market's adulterated dairy products.

On a regular day at Truly Desi, it involves milking the cows on the farm. The milking will be done before 4:30 AM and once in the evening as well. On the other hand, all the claves in the shed will be well-fed with milk before the milking process begins.

“This ensures that the cattle are comfortable and are in a state to let us milk them without any resistance,” Rupali says.

The best part is that they don't use injections, hormones, or even antibiotics to increase the yield. They want it all natural.

Later, after the milking process is complete, the milk will be taken to be stored in chillers where the temperature is less than four degrees Celsius and then pasteurised, says Mohit. Then the pasteurised milk will be carried out to make different products at their manufacturing unit located in Bebedohal village in Maval taluka, Pune.

"They have a long list of products, and the pick of the list are A2 cow ghee and kulhad dahi, which are seeing massive sales,"

“The milk that needs to be distributed is transferred to the chilling tank after pasteurisation and then the packaging process begins. Following this, it is once again stored in a cold room to make sure that the cold chain is not broken,” says Mohit. 

After that, the delivery vehicles are loaded, and the distribution process begins. This entire process takes place within 24 hours of the cow being milked.

According to Rupali, the brand is currently associated with approximately 8-10 cowsheds, each of which houses approximately 100 cows, as well as approximately 100 farmers from Pune's rural areas.

The concept behind that strategy is for the benefit of the farmers, as these farmers can directly connect with the consumers so that they can sell their products at a reasonable rate.

As a result, in addition to working with the farmers to milk the cows, they devised another plan. The cow dung and urine collected on their farm could be decomposed to make manure and fertiliser, which could then help farmers in their fields grow produce organically, and the brand could sell this.

Now, the brand is focusing on developing organic farms to spread the goodness of fresh organic vegetables. “Truly Desi has helped at least 50-60 farmers who are now producing organic vegetables,” Rupali tells TBI.

The journey hasn't been very easy for the duo, being producers of organic food items. They had to convince the farmers to go organic, and it was pretty tough.

“There was a lack of awareness in terms of what exactly was organic food, what are the benefits, and why organic products cost a little higher,” Rupali says. Finally, the issues were solved.

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Looking to the Future…

Truly Desi has a long list of products that includes Kulhad dahi, ghee, buttermilk, paneer, and khawa. The founders are now looking to further expand their line of products such as yoghurts, milk bars, fortified milk, etc. in the near future. The duo also have a plan to produce ice-creams, and more that too, in a low-fat, high protein version.

Truly Desi now ships throughout India and is available on all major eCommerce platforms. Product prices range from Rs 90 per litre for A2 cow milk to Rs 70 per litre for buffalo milk to Rs 140 for 200 g of paneer.

As per Rupali, the organic dairy products brand receives over 1,000 orders per month and had a revenue of Rs 2.71 crore last year.