Discovering Jackfruit: Aman’s Entrepreneurial Inspiration
In an exclusive interview with Startup Pedia, Aman shared the journey of the newly ventured brand.
Aman Chhabra, a graduate from SRCC, Delhi University, ran a successful event management business. However, like others, his company was also hit due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
“The pandemic made me think in the direction of a more meaningful and purpose-driven business. As I was exploring different industries, food processing being one of them, I crossed paths with articles related to Jackfruit. The more I dived into the research about Jackfruit, the more I was convinced to build a business around India’s most underrated fruit- Jackfruit,” said Aman while talking to Startup Pedia.
Unveiling the Potential of Jackfruit: Market Insights and Nutritional Value
Aman elaborated on what he found and said that India is the largest Jackfruit producer and the most enormous waster of it. Annually, around Rs 2000 crore of Jackfruit goes down the drain! Moreover, he also found that the tropical fruit has more nutritional value than other glamorised products like avocado, kiwi or broccoli. However, avocado is sold for about Rs 400 per kg while Jackfruit is hardly sold for about Rs 100.
Looking at the nutritional value, smaller countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka produce numerous value-added products from Jackfruit. According to market research firm Expert Market Research, the global market value of Jackfruit is currently valued at $311.7 million, which is expected to reach $380.96 million by 2028.
Aman also emphasized that Jackfruit is the best alternative for vegan products as it has a meaty texture naturally. Moreover, it is also suitable for diabetic patients as it reduces blood sugar. This tropical fruit is a more sustainable option than other meat alternative crops like soy or pea which further need extensive processing in labs, unlike jackfruit which usually grows without irrigation, pesticides, or fertilizers. Moreover, jackfruit trees contribute to a regenerative farming ecosystem.
“So, when I gathered all this information through extensive research, I understood that the problem with Jackfruit is its accessibility and convenience. It’s difficult to access, cut, peel and clean this fruit. That is why most of the jackfruit cultivation goes to waste in India,” explained Aman.
Overcoming Obstacles: Developing Clean Label Products from Jackfruit
Aman met many people who deal with Jackfruit, from farmers to food manufacturers and food scientists across many parts of India, to understand what kind of value-added products can be produced out of Jackfruit. Since Aman wanted his jackfruit food brand to be a clean label (no artificial flavours, artificial colours, artificial preservatives, or synthetic additives), it took him about two years to come up with 3-4 lines of product. Although he started his company, Kathalfy, in 2021, the products were launched in May 2023.
“It took so much time because I had to talk to the manufacturers and convince them to make products out of Jackfruit and that too under a clean label. So, we had to experiment and develop perfect recipes. It was challenging for manufacturers and for us too. It usually takes us 8-10 months to develop one product,” explained Aman during the conversation with Startup Pedia.
While talking about the quality of products, Aman said that at Kathalfy he always wants to sell products which his family and him consume themselves. Kathalfy has one product called jackfruit chocolate, which tastes precisely like other chocolates. The chocolate has only four ingredients- jackfruit seed flour, Cocoa butter, Cacao nibs and desi khand (unrefined sugar) for sweetness.
Kathalfy’s chips are vacuum fried, with 70% less oil than the usual chips. The brand sources raw materials from different parts of India and outsources manufacturing to Kerala and Bangalore-based manufacturers.
Kathalfy’s Evolution: From Online Launch to Expansion
Initially, Kathalfy was launched online through the official website with two products- tender jackfruit and jackfruit seed flour. It took around Rs 10 lakhs investment for Aman Chhabra, from research to manufacturing initial lines of products and launching them.
Now, the clean label jackfruit ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat brand Kathalfy has 13 varieties of tantalizing food products, such as jackfruit pickle, pancake mix with millets, ready-to-eat burger patties and jackfruit gravies. Wherein jackfruit pickle and jackfruit lucknowi keema are the most sought-after products of the brand.
Talking about Kathalfy’s financial growth, Aman said, “It started with Rs 60,000 monthly sales, then it increased to Rs 1,00,000. Now, we usually do Rs 3 lakhs sales a month. This is the sales growth month-on-month for my brand.” Aman is leveraging the power of digital marketing to promote his products.
The brand has received orders from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Punjab, NCR, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Assam and a few from Kashmir and Andamans as well.
Sustainability and Social Impact: Kathalfy’s Contribution
Aman plans to expand his Kathalfy business through retail outlets as well as restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, and hotels. He may also venture into exports soon.
When asked why he named his clean label jackfruit food brand ‘Kathalfy’, Aman said, “We are simplifying the kathal (Jackfruit). That is why we named our brand ‘Kathal-fy’. While simplifying the Jackfruit with value-added products, we are also striving to enhance its social value in India.”
1. What is Kathalfy?
Kathalfy is a ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook clean-label food brand launched by Aman Chhabra. It specializes in creating various value-added products using jackfruit.
2. What makes jackfruit a suitable alternative for vegan products?
Jackfruit has a naturally meaty texture and is considered an excellent substitute for vegan dishes. Its versatility allows it to mimic the texture of meat in various recipes, making it popular among vegans.
3. What are the products offered by Kathalfy?
Kathalfy offers a diverse range of products, including jackfruit pickle, Jackfruit keema, Jackfruit burger patties, jackfruit chips and more. Their jackfruit chocolate and chips are particularly sought after.
4. What has been Kathalfy’s sales growth since its launch?
Kathalfy initially started with monthly sales of Rs 60,000 and has grown consistently, reaching around Rs 3 lakhs in monthly sales. This showcases its substantial growth in a relatively short period.
5. Where can Kathalfy products be found or purchased?
Kathalfy initially launched online through its official website and later started selling on other online platforms like Flipkart, Amazon, JioMart etc. However, the brand plans to expand its reach to retail outlets, restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, and hotels across various Indian states.