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July 18, 2024
Food Beverages Processing | India no 1 Food Processing Magazine

Mr. Akash Agrawal, Co-Founder of Zoff Foods

Founded in 2018, Zoff Foods specializes in high-quality spices, dry fruits, and whole food products, focusing on exceptional flavor and health benefits. Utilizing cool grinding technology, Zoff ensures maximum flavor retention and purity, setting them apart in the spice market. Their innovative packaging and strong e-commerce presence provide consumers with convenient access to fresh spices. With plans for expansion and continuous innovation, Zoff Foods aims to disrupt the traditional spice market and cater to evolving customer preferences.

Can you give us an overview of Zoff Foods and its product offerings? What sets your products apart in the spice market?

Started in 2018, Zoff Foods is an Indian brand specializing in high-quality spices. We offer a curated selection of spices, dry fruits and whole food products. We focus on providing high-quality ingredients that elevate consumers’ culinary creations’ taste and health benefits.

Our product range can be broadly categorized into key areas:

  • Spices: Available in whole and ground varieties, our spices are sourced directly from farms and processed using a special cool grinding technology. This ensures maximum flavour retention and purity. We offers spices into two different categories including:

Powdered spices: Powdered spices include Turmeric powder, coriander powder, chili powder, garam masala, chaat masala, kashmiri chili powder, roasted jeera powder, sabji masala, chicken masala, meat masala, amchur powder, chole masala, black pepper powder, shahi paneer masala, pav bhaji masala, pani-puri masala, sambhar masala, kitchen-king masala.
Whole spices: It includes choti elaichi whole, sabut saunf and variyali, jeera whole, garam masala sabut, dalchini sticks, ajwain whole, whole black pepper, laung whole, garlic flakes, coriander whole, tej patta, poppy seed whole, Badi elaichi, dried red chili, black mustard seeds, methi dana whole, dried gum, dalchini whole cinnamon, star anise whole, panch phoran whole, long pepper, laal sarso whole, yellow mustard whole, jaifal whole, dry ginger, javitri whole, onion flakes.

  • Dry-fruits: Besides spices, we offer a selection of premium dry fruits like almonds, cashews, and pistachios. These are available in various roasts and sizes to consumers’ preferences. We also provide interesting options like Makhana (lotus seeds), a healthy and versatile snacking option.
  • Whole food products: We cater to health-conscious individuals with a range of whole food products, including Tamarind/ Imli whole seedless, safed til seeds, kaale til.

What truly sets us apart is our unwavering commitment to quality and purity. Our cool grinding technology preserves the essence of the spices, and our dedication to natural ingredients resonates with those who seek authentic flavours. Moreover, our combo packs and diverse product range provide a comprehensive solution for all your pantry needs, and our zip-lock packaging offers resealability, prevents spoilage, and eliminates the need for refrigeration or makeshift storage solutions. In addition, we were among the first to embrace e-commerce, establishing a solid presence in the digital marketplace and achieving significant sales growth. In addition to our established offline channels and website sales, we have expanded distribution to include all major quick-commerce platforms, such as Zepto, Swiggy Instamart, and Blinkit. This comprehensive approach ensures convenient access to our high-quality spices for all our customers.

How do you ensure the quality and flavour retention of your spices? Can you explain the role of Air Classifying Mills (ACM) in your production process?

We source our spices from regions known for cultivating the most flavourful varieties. After meticulous cleaning and careful drying techniques that preserve their essence, we package the spices in airtight, light-protective containers. It ensures they reach your kitchen bursting with the rich aromas and vibrant tastes that define Zoff’s quality. We recommend whole spices whenever possible, as they retain their potency longer. However, we also offer ground options for convenience, knowing they’ll still deliver a delicious punch to your culinary creations.

Understanding the importance of flavour potency, we advocate for using whole spices whenever possible. Whole spices retain their aromatic and taste properties for extended periods. However, we also recognise the convenience of pre-ground options. Zoff’s ground spices are prepared using state-of-the-art Air Classifying Mills (ACM) grinding technology. This innovative process preserves the inherent characteristics – flavour, aroma, and colour of the spices.

Here’s how ACM technology safeguards spice quality:
Traditional grinding methods generate excessive heat (up to 80°C) during production. This heat damages the delicate, volatile oils and oleoresins that contribute significantly to a spice’s essence. The ACM grinder operates at a significantly lower temperature range (30°C – 40°C), preventing this degradation and ensuring the spices retain their full flavour profile.

The volatile oils and oleoresins within spices are the foundation of their unique sensory experience. Excessive heat, as produced in conventional grinding methods, causes these essential elements to evaporate, diminishing the overall quality of the spice. The cooler grinding temperature employed by ACM technology safeguards these vital components, delivering the authentic taste and aroma that the consumers expect from us.

By prioritising meticulous sourcing, gentle processing techniques, and innovative grinding technology, we ensure that every sprinkle of spices elevates the consumer’s culinary creations.

What measures are taken to ensure that your spices meet the highest standards of safety and hygiene? How is your production process managed to maintain these standards?

We understand the importance of providing spices that are not only flavourful but also safe and hygienic. We achieve this high standard through a rigorous and multi-layered approach throughout production.
Firstly, we prioritize sourcing from trusted suppliers who adhere to strict quality control measures. It ensures that the raw spices we receive are free from contaminants and meet our stringent specifications. Upon arrival, all incoming ingredients undergo a thorough inspection by our qualified personnel. This inspection includes a visual examination for any signs of damage or foreign objects and laboratory testing for factors like moisture content and microbial activity.

Secondly, our production facilities are at the forefront of hygiene standards. We employ state-of-the-art equipment made from non-porous, food-grade materials that are not only easy to clean and disinfect but also ensure the highest level of safety. We implement a comprehensive sanitation program, with regular cleaning and disinfection protocols in place for all equipment and surfaces that come into contact with the spices. Additionally, we maintain strict temperature and humidity controls throughout the production process to further minimize the risk of contamination or spoilage.

Finally, we are dedicated to the highest level of safety and integrity in our spices. We employ a robust Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan to identify and mitigate potential hazards at every stage of production. Our HACCP plan includes critical control points like grinding, blending, and packaging, where we have established clear procedures and monitoring systems. We also maintain a strong traceability system, allowing us to track every batch of spices from farm to final product. This system facilitates swift action in the unlikely event of a recall, underlining our commitment to your safety.

By implementing these meticulous measures, we are committed to delivering spices that meet the highest standards of safety and hygiene. We are confident that our dedication to quality control allows you to enjoy the vibrant flavours of our spices with complete peace of mind.

With many players in the spice market, what strategies does Zoff Foods employ to stay ahead of the competition? What role does innovation play in maintaining your competitive edge?

We understand the dynamic nature of the spice market. We navigate this competitive landscape by focusing on three key pillars: quality, innovation, and customer focus.
We prioritize sourcing the highest quality spices, and work directly with farmers and growers, ensuring freshness and adherence to rigorous quality control standards. This commitment translates into a consistently superior product that our customers can rely on.

Our growth strategy is built on innovation; we don’t just wait for it to happen. We actively invest in research and development to explore new flavour profiles, ethnic spice blends, and convenient formats. This proactive approach keeps our product line exciting for existing customers and attracts new ones seeking unique culinary experiences. We stay ahead of the curve by actively monitoring food trends and consumer preferences, allowing us to anticipate and fulfill evolving needs.

Understanding our customers is paramount. We maintain open communication channels, gathering feedback through surveys, focus groups, and social media engagement. It allows us to tailor our offerings to their specific needs and preferences. Additionally, we prioritize building strong relationships with our distribution partners, ensuring efficient product delivery across various retail channels.

By combining a commitment to quality, a culture of innovation, and a deep understanding of our customers, we can maintain a competitive edge within the ever-evolving spice market. Moreover, continuous improvement and a dedication to exceeding customer expectations are the keys to our long-term success.

With the spice market expected to grow significantly, what are Zoff Foods’ plans for expansion and innovation? How do you plan to continue disrupting the traditional spice and food & beverage market?

At Zoff, we are aware of the projected surge in the spice market and are thrilled to be a part of it. We plan to leverage this growth by strategically expanding our reach and continuing to innovate in the spice and food and beverage landscape.

We are poised for further expansion into the Seasoning and Ready-to-cook spice category. Currently, our plant is operating at around 30-40% capacity, leaving ample room for growth. We aim to boost our production capacity by introducing new products. This includes expanding our range to feature seasonings like chilli flakes, oregano, and tomato flakes, among others. Additionally, we’re delving into the ready-to-cook spices category, offering consumers the convenience of preparing dishes in just two to five minutes.

In the coming years, we plan to expand in neighbouring states like Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Telangana, strengthening our general trade operations. Additionally, we aspire to gradually enter the HoReCa and modern retail sectors, solidifying our position as a leading contender in the Indian and global spice market.

Furthermore, dry fruits comprise only 10 percent of our product line. We’re looking to broaden this segment by introducing flavoured nuts in the near future. Regarding revenue targets, our aims to surpass the 600 to 700 crore threshold within the next five years.

We always prioritize product innovation and understand that today’s consumers crave new and exciting flavour experiences. Our research and development (R&D) team constantly explores unique spice blends inspired by global cuisines and emerging trends. We will also continue to develop convenient packaging solutions, like our successful Zip Lock packaging that preserves the integrity of our spices.

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