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India’s Ist Fortnightly Newspaper For Beverages, Food & Allied Industries

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India’s Ist Fortnightly Newspaper For Beverages, Food & Allied Industries

Organised By: In Association with:

Indian Ice Cream Manufacturers' Association

AFTPAI ( An Association of Allied Sectors of Agro & Food Industry in India )

Indian

Ice cream & Expo 2012

Congress

Hyderabad, 13th Dec.

For Participation

Vol.4, Issue 24, Sep (II) 2012, Rs. 20/-

www.timesinfomedia.com

Balaji Wafers A company with A great Commitment

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by Firoz H Naqvi

very decade witnesses a change, a change in lifestyles, fashion, living standards, technology, and what not; food habits are no exception. With busy lifestyles pounding on the existence of the urban gentry, it is no longer the usual homemade food all the time that is in the platter. Given the demand for food snacks, meals, chaat, sweets, and more, a number of restaurants have cropped. And if the restaurant happens to be that of a reputed brand, you will not easily get a seat; you will have to wait in queue to get it. Even if you want to buy takeaway food snacks or chaat or any other items, you will have to wait as there will be many others like you waiting to pay the bill and get the items. As aforementioned, food habits and lifestyles have changed to a great extent. This has in turn steered the growth of the snack industry. It is namkeen items including potato chips, etc. that are savoured by people at large any time of the day while on the move. If you visit a home in India, the hospitality showered comes in the form of serving of some hot or cold beverages with the accompaniment of namkeen items and sweets. The namkeen offered by Balaji group Pvt. Ltd. is one of the most selling items in the Indian snack industry. You will be spoilt for choices when you come across the menu of Balaji namkeen items. Worth mentioning are Aloo bhujia, RatlamiSev, peanuts, mung dal, chana masala, dal moth, ganthiya, aloosev, singhbhuji, and of course wide ranges of wafers or rather chips and many more. It is no exaggeration to point out the fact that once you taste these namkeen, you won't feel like tasting the namkeen of any other brand. Such is the spiciness, taste, crispiness, and flavor associated. The sky is the limit for the Indian snack industry with players like Balaji group catering to the snack and namkeen needs of the people at large. The size of the Indian Snack food market is currently estimated at approximately US$375 million. Unorganized small companies with a localized presence dominate the snack foods market in India but in recent years the organized branded products market size has grown significantly. Potato chips constitute the major segment among a wide range of local snacks available. According to industry sources, the market for branded chips has been growing rapidly at approximately 20 per cent annually. To increase consumption and encourage first-time purchase, many players have started introducing their products in smaller pack sizes at lower unit price .Consumer preferences and tastes vary widely across the different regions of the country. Penetration of snack foods is highest in North India as compared to other parts of the country. With Indian consumers constantly looking for variety, customers becoming increasingly health-conscious and with positive factors being attributed to packaged products, snack food companies are now increasingly emphasizing on newer snack food items and better quality packaging for their products. Balaji Wafers Private Limited manufactures and supplies potato chips plus a variety of mixed fried snacks called namkeens to the populace in Gujarat. The Balaji 35 grams bag of potato chips (salted or Masala) retails at mere 5 rupees. Its biggest bag is 200 grams package retailing for 20 rupees. However, it produces some 5 tons of this products per day (approximately 19,000tonnes per year), ranking in some US$ 15 million per year for this enterprise. Having plants that have the capacity of making several lakh wafers and namkeens, Balaji wafers command 70 per cent market share in Gujarat, 50 per cent in Maharashtra and 55 per cent in Rajasthan. Besides, there is growing demand for Balaji products in as many as 40 countries, but they cannot cope with it for now, though plans are afoot in this direction. They have 2000 workers and 500 dealers. Balaji wafers are sold in about 7 lakh retail outlets. Though a number of competitors have entered this segment of namkeen and wafer their presence has not impacted Balaji in the least. On the contrary, Balaji has grown and expanded further. There are about 20 brands in the market, which is estimated to be worth 2000 crores. Even international brand like Lays failed to take on Balaji. The Balaji clusters are sensitive to the demands of their consumers especially to what new generation wants. And now Balaji too is being looked after by members of new generation. The brothers' sons have joined the company and they are bringing in new technology. Besides wafer having six flavours, every year new variants of their products are introduced in the market. They are also set to make foray in noodles market as well. Balaji Group has 90 per cent share of wafers market and 70 per cent shares of namkeen market in Gujarat. They are inviting all to travel the past, present and the future of Balaji Group. Its present turnover has moved to a crore. Detailed exclusive interview of Managing Director of Balaji Group,ChanduBhai Virani inside……..

call or email Tel:+91-22-28555069 9322894786 iice@advanceinfomedia.com


Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012

Editorial

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A journey to wisdom…….Mumbai to Valsad My tale of a journey that took me to meet humanity, charity, money and affluence

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consider myself very lucky. God has a funny way of bringing some things around and knocking you in the head with the ultimate destination. Something I should have achieved quite easily took me a long time to get around to. It came in His time, not mine. What I mean is, deep down in my mind I always had this desire to visit and see the New Unit of Balaji Wafers situated at Valsad. My very good friend Mr. Venkatesh Parthasarthy (Venkat) of Heat & Control India had spoken about the high technology revolution at the Balaji's Valsad and Rajkot unit. Naturally my journalistic curiosity was tickled but unfortunately even after being invited by Venkat to visit the units along with him, our plans did not unfold. Mr Chandulal Virani (Chandubhai), Managing Director of Balaji Wafers scheduled invitation to visit their Valsad unit

coincidentally came at the right time – that is what I had said at

the beginning! The stuff I should have done way ahead was knocked down on me suddenly. Anyway I grabbed the golden opportunity at first hand. One would not believe that an eminent entrepreneur like Chandubhai personally came from Rajkot, where he resides, to meet and

Firoz H Naqvi show me how one of the biggest snack food factory of the country

looked like. Valsad my key destination is around 175 Km from Mumbai enroots Ahmedabad. My mode of travel was the busy Western Railway. My train, the Intercity was scheduled in the morning from Mumbai. Being a perfect host Chandubhai had sent Manager Manu Bhai to receive me. This very gesture of his articulated his great personality which I was looking forward to encounter. On the way to the main Balaji wafer factory situated at National Highway 8, Manu Bhai gave me brief insight about the technologies being used for the processing and packaging at this unit. The 25 minutes journey to the plant amiably presented me that Manu Bhai was as hospitable as the chief. Oh! What a gorgeous construction stood in front of me – mesmerizing! As I took in the first view of Balaji Wafers Valsad Unit, suddenly my attention was caught by a big black sleek Mercedes parked on the main entrance. Of course who else would it belong to then the ever prompt Chandubhai, already there like a perfect host waiting for his journalist visitor? As I made my way I saw that the reception was exclusively elegant dominated with colossal logo of Balaji Wafers. Entering the substantial chamber of the managing director, I was pleasantly met by the ever smiling face of Chandubhai. What a humble gentleman –definitely only a person like Chandubhai can achieve everything by being “simple and humble.” After a small chat and a satisfying round of hot tea with scrumptious snacks, we started our planned tour of the factory. Chandubhai immediately put on his company cap transforming into an entrepreneur who meant business. He briefed me about the technologies being used by the company, giving an impeccable tour of his factory. What an impressive unit and how exquisitely this factory was made. Balaji Wafers issued best of all, the best machines for cutting, dicing, peeling, frying, conveying and packaging. There was no compromise with quality.

I am among those individuals who do not get impressed easily but honestly for the first time in life I saw such an organized, systematic and clean snack food factory. Also I could see the logos big companies like - Heat & Control and Ishida all over the factory machines. Chandubhai took personal interest and pride to show me around his factory. In fact at the packaging deck I encountered a group of women touring, whom at first I took to be the packaging unit workers but somehow they were not suitably dressed as unit worker. It was Chandubhai who clarified my confusion, by saying “Arey these are group of ladies from Surat belonging to a Sanstha who wanted to see our plant”. Immediately knowing that it was Chandubhai Virani these ladies respectfully came over to him and I could feel how involved Chandubhai with his factory and work. He updated them about Balaji's efforts and products and directed his supervisor to take them round the unit. “My motto has always been to satisfy our costumer, thus allowing groups callers and santhas to visit our plant” said Mr. Virani as his joined me back, “in fact at our Rajkot factory we have a expedient presentation on our company which we show with a projector to those who visit us there”, he proudly informed. I furthermore got the chance to interact with the factory workers at a personal level and saw there were cluster of young villagers hailing from neighboring rural community working for Chandubhai with dedication. A young girl informed me that she earned Rs 6000+ monthly while another young boy who supervises the peeling section earned Rs 10,000. I could see Chandubhai vision enfolding here, this unit did not only make the best and cheapest snacks but also hired hundreds of youngsters from nearby places, helping them to earn locally. Undoubtedly this step of Balaji needs a big applause on its futuristic vision to stop migrations and provide the fresh locals an assured future. The foundation of every country is the youth, and food processing companies of such scale have really changed the demography of rural India; they have not only procured the raw materials for processing locally but also provided employment to the young and less education Indians on a large scale. I believe many sectors need to learn from this shining example of success, humility and generosity. After looking cleaning of Vanmark peelers, frying of Heat & Control fryers, speed of Ishida packaging machines and other important parts of the snack food factory, warehouse, godowns, cold-storage, etc. I ended my trip at the Chana Dal processing Unit.

After savoring a few packets of chana dal my hunger pangs for food intensed. Chandubhai invited us for lunch at the factory itself. The valsad unit has a centralized Kitchen where food is made for all at the rate of Rs 10 per thali. The dining area was already full as we reached it, but after few minutes wait we managed to get a table. The food we were served was a simple thali served with 2 types of vegetables, beans, a dal, Curd, butter milk, Chapati, Rice and lots of fresh onion, cucumber and Jaggery, but it was one of the most satisfying meal I had outside in a long time – tasty and fulfilling. Along with this the added value was to see an industrialist worth 3000 crore eating in same dining room as his worker who earns merely Rs. 6000 a month. Eating food of same quality and quantity as his employee in the type of environment. Truly, Mr Virani is one the greatest man I have had the pleasure to meet. After an interesting incident at the lunch, we went back to Chandubhai's chamber where I had the pleasure to meet Mr Keyur Virani, Nephew of Chandubhai and R and D Director of the company. He further curbed my curiosity by outlining about how they chose their machines and technologies and how and why they were among the top grosser of wafers and snacks. When I asked Chandubhai about his philosophy of life he very modestly said in Hindi “Hamey Bhagwaan ney insaan banaya hai khush rehney key liye, agar wo dukhi rakhna chahta to wo humey jaanwar banata, aur kushi kisi paise sey naheen aatee jab merey paas paisa naheen tha may tab bhi khush tha aur aaj merey paas paisa hai may ab bhi khush hun”. (God has made us humans to see us happy, if he wanted us to be unhappy he would have made us animals. But the true thing is when I didn't have money I was happy and now that I have money I am equivalently happy). As Oscar Wilde says, “Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.” This quote fits best on the Virani family and their attitude to life. What people and what exuberant thoughts. Though a delayed visit but an experience I would never ever forget. After an fascinating interview and photo session, I left the Valsad office of Balaji Wafers at around 3:30 pm, taking along with me great memories to be cherished and a aptitude to see life in a simple and humble way………………thank you Chandubhai for setting a perfect example of being a great human with lots of affluence.


Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012

Balaji Wafers A company with a great Commitment

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his is the story of an incredible struggle. This is the story of a robust business sense ultimately winning its way. This is the sage of Virani brothers and their Balaji brand. In this success story, the ladder started with rungs of failure that gradually gave way to subsequent success. Thoroughly down-to-earth, Chandu Bhai today runs a business empire of 3000 crores with his brothers, son and nephews. Their pragmatic and unassuming approach is also one of the reasons for their success. Chandulal Virani and his brothers came to town two decades ago to run a canteen in a cinema hall on contract, saw the immense potential for the wafers they introduced and went on to conquer the wafers market in the state. This is the summary of the success story of Mr. Chandulal Virani and his brothers Meghjibhai, Bhikhabhai, and Kanubhai, who's Balaji Wafers has a 90 per cent of the market share in the Gujarat State. In a candid conversation with our Editor Mr. Firoz Haider Naqvi, the Managing Director of Balaji Wafers Chandulal Virani remembers those days when family sold roasted groundnuts, sandwiches and potato wafers to the cine-goers. Right from those days, they believed in reasonable pricing and good quality. This earned them a good turnover, though the profits were little lower. They

“Balaji wafers command 70 per cent market share in Gujarat, 50 per cent in Maharashtra and 55 per cent in Rajasthan� received feed backs from their customers about the quality of the stuff and stuck to the highest standards of quality. As the demand increased, they stopped buying wafers from outside and started making it. They sold the wafers around the Astron Theatre also. This was the first step in setting up the business. Chandu bhai opened an independent retail outlet in 1983-84 to sell wafers and sandwich which are known as Balaji Sandwich, with one of the best quality. They installed a semi-automatic plant in 1993-94. The plant had a capacity to produce 180kg of wafers a day. Without machines they were able to produce about 60 kg of wafers a day. At that time the production division was under the supervision of Chandulal Virani, while Bhikha bhai and Kanu bhai looked after sales and marketing. After conducting the research to find out how companies abroad stored the wafers fresh, they installed a modern automatic plant in year 2000. The new unit had a higher capacity for production with the same quality level. Balaji Wafers Private Limited manufactures and

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Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012 supplies potato chips plus a variety of mixed fried snacks called namkeens to the populace in Gujarat. The Balaji 35 grams bag of potato chips (salted or Masala) retails at mere 5 rupees. Its biggest bag is 200 grams package retailing for 20 rupees. However, it produces some 5 tons of this products per day (approximately 19,000tonnes per year), ranking in some US$ 15 million per year for this enterprise. No company can boast of the plants that these brothers possess. The Valsad plant is

fully automated. The total 6 plants have the capacity of making 5 lakh Kg wafers and 5 lakh Kg namkeens. New plants are also being planned in other states. Balaji wafers command 70 per cent market share in Gujarat, 50 per cent in Maharashtra and 55 per cent in Rajasthan. Besides, there is growing demand for Balaji products in as many as 40 countries, but they cannot cope with it for now, though plans are afoot in this direction. They have 2000 workers and 500 dealers. Balaji wafers are sold in

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about 7 lakh retail outlets. Though a number of competitors have entered this segment of namkeen and wafer their presence has not impacted Balaji in the least. On the contrary, Balaji has grown and expanded further. There are about 20 brands in the market, which is estimated to be worth 2000 crores. Even international brand like Lays failed to take on Balaji. So what clicks the Balaji Group -Chandu Bhai explicates that, “we know the whole process of wafer making. Since we made

wafer on our own, we know how much ingredients like spices, potatoes go into its making. Besides, Balaji has an indigenous taste about it and that is its specialty.” There is a fascinating anecdote about how the brand name Balaji came into being. During their cinema canteen days, they would keep an idol of Balaji and later made a small temple around it. This is how the God's name got associated with the product. Balaji has an equal contribution in the Namkeen field as well. Bhikha bhai says those days there was no special machinery for namkeen. In fact, they got it developed and they were the first to own such machinery in India. Now meticulous care is taken on quantity of oil used in the product and even on hygiene level, health conscious as the new consumers have become.

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Bhikha bhai son's Keyur bhai is an engineer and takes care of modernization in Rajkot and Valsad plants. He says that the Valsad plant has three time greater capacity than the Rajkot plant and with total automation there. And the new machinery is bought from Australia, Japan, Germany and America. Each member of the company is treated like a family member. 70 percent of workforce comprises women. They get full meal at a meagre Rs 10. Also, the company stands by them in times of their needs. This family- owned enterprise, now in its third decade of operation, has 19 products to offer the snackhungry population of cinema-goers in Gujarat: from potato chips to banana chips and even fried chickpeas with sautéed spices. The management of

Balaji Wafers, Rajkot, Gujarat was founded by Shri Chandu Bhai Virani. Initially they had to struggle a lot in the Plant when they graduated from hand made products to machine made. It was their sheer determination and honest business model which put them on the path of success and now they are one of the largest in this business in India. Their policy of offering VALUE FOR MONEY has given them continued customer patronage and a reputation of an honest company. It is our privilege and we feel proud of having them as one of our main customers. Shri Chandu Bhai is a very modest human being leading a simple life with great importance to values of life and humanity. I have the pleasure of interacting with him very closely on various occasions and it is always a learning experience of being with him.” I wish him a healthy and successful life. Sanjeev Gupta Director Kanchan Metals Pvt Ltd. They are also sensitive to what new generation wants. And now Balaji too is being looked after by members of new generation. The brothers' sons have joined the company and they are bringing in new technology. Besides wafer having six flavours, every year new variants of their products are introduced in the market. They are also set to make foray in noodles market as well.

the enterprise is done by family members' only. Chairman - Mr. Bhikha Bhai Virani, Managing Director Mr. Chandu Bhai Virani, Technical Director - Mr. Kanubhai Virani, R&D Director - Mr. Keyur Virani. Balaji Group has 90 per cent share of wafers market and 70 per cent shares of namkeen market in Gujarat. They are inviting all to travel the past, present and the future of Balaji Group.


Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012 EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW WITH

mission statement of Balaji's is “To Provide healthy and hygienic food to people at an

“Mr. Chandu Bhai is an astute businessman and has a sharp eye for growth opportunities. He has been instrumental in remarkable growth of the group in such a short period. He is always involved in the selection of equipment and always looking for the latest technology in the food processing equipment and hence it has been a pleasure to work with him over the years. We are quite proud to work with the group and play a small role in their success story.” Manoj Paul Country Manager - India & South Asia Heat and Control (South Asia) Pvt. Ltd CHANDULAL VIRANI; Chandu Bhai, today the snack market has attained a high stature in India, how do you assess this development of the snack market in regard with your company? No doubt that today the snack

economic price.” We at Balaji believe in caring for the people of the society for their health and economic conditions. How do you view your journey of

“Well we had plans to make a place in Pune instead of Valsad to ensemble the Maharashtra market. Unfortunately or rather fortunately there was a whole hierarchy of unions and their different stands and business. This made my elder brother sceptical and he very clearly outlined that “we are here to do business not to cater the union trade body” – which he viewed to be a great hurdle in the line of development” market is on its best time and definitely it is because of the hard work of the companies as well as the changing taste buds of the young and educated India. I personally believe that if we make good, tasty and high quality products we will definitely form a loyal clientele and customers. Today the snack companies in average are growing by 15-20 per cent and this only due the hard work and dedication. Balaji Group has worked upon maintaining best relation with the health of the people. The

20 years as a snack impresario and in what way do comprehend the future of the snack industry? The journey of Balaji Group started in year 1974 by the members of Virani family. Initial

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work started by supplying wafers and namkeens to local brands to the patrons of Astron Cinema, Rajkot. Due to the high supply and success of our wafers and Namkeen products, we then decided to make our own product line in year 1982. By the overwhelming retail success we the Balaji namkeens were inspired to set our first semi-automatic plant in 199293. Instead of preparing wafers by the traditional frying method this semi-automatic plant boosted the quality, taste and enhanced the sale of Balaji namkeens. And today with the blessing of God and our hard work we have fourteen different plants – all catering different products like potatoes, banana chips, bhujia, namkeens and many more. In the initial stage Balaji Group had set up their plant at Aji Vasahat (Industrial Zone, Rajkot) with our new concept of making the potato chips. The main benefit that we got over there was the readymade

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infrastructure availability due to which the cost reduced to larger extent. We operated over there around 20 to 22 years. Balaji Group also set up new fully automatic plant at Metoda G.I.D.C. which is in the area of the village named Vajdi (vad).

the whole Gujarat so that biggest automatic plant of Gujarat came in to the picture. Today, we have, besides in Rajkot, a plant in Valsad that have cauldrons capable of making 2200 kgs wafer. The Valsad plant is fully automated

We started from Rajkot and steadily the fame of taste reached to the whole Gujarat hence it was time to take over

with best of technologies. Quenching the demand of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Rajasthan region Balaji Group is


Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012 planning to march over India. As the demand energies we plan to make an impactful mark for the Indian snacks by going global. What is your total investment in both Rajkot and Valsad? Apart from that what type of production and output do you have in both the units? Our investment in the Valsad

investment in all. The existing plant of Balaji Wafers Private Limited is largest in capacity and with the state of art facility. In the year 2003 Balaji group took pride to introduce this biggest fully automated Potato processing machinery plant in India which can process 4500 kg of potatoes and make 1200kg of chips per hour. The namkeen and other product

“Balaji wafers always ensure that they provide quality product to the customers. We found Managing Director Mr. Chandubhai Virani not only a result oriented perfectionist but also a man with futuristic vision who has analyzed the changing trends of packaging which is innovative and environment friendly. Ishida has been involved with Balaji Wafers for past ten years by supplying weighing and packaging equipments to them. We cherish our relationship with this esteemed Organization and look forward to a bright future in our association.”

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“Being at the tip of Maharashtra, Valsad is appointed as the centre for us to cover both the Maharashtra and Goa market. Once we are satisfied with our impact in these zones, we will then move in the South Indian market” processing system. Chips and namkeens made in bacteria free

And as far as the production is concerned both units produce

and stringent hygienic standard environment. That is the big advantage of this big 'Balaji' plant.

the same products but at different capacities. Like if we are producing 2 lakh Kilogram of namkeens in Rajkot then the

Takayasu Yamada Managing Director Ishida India unit is 300 crores while in the Rajkot unit its 200 crores. So we currently have a 500 crores

lines have separate departments and it has been produced in the same quality conscious

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Valsad unit produces 3-4 lakh. Likewise if the Rajkot unit is producing 30,000/kg of chips in Rajkot comparatively the Valsad unit is producing 60,000 – 70,000kgs of chips. Consumption wise North and West India is seen as the hub of snacks food. The eastern and southern zones come after them. So are you using this very pattern to expand your business or you have some other arrays? There is no doubt that the Northern India loves to consume snacks, namkeens and wafers. But in South India if they are less into snack then there are lesser snack makers over there, therefore this makes them a very potential core of snack business. As far as Balaji Namkeens are concerned I know wherever we enter our namkeens are going to be market favourites. Today the living styles have changed the eating styles have changed and this is the reason the snacking style has gone way up marking a new era of total snack industry.


Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012 “Northern India loves to consume snacks, namkeens and wafers. But in South India if they are less into snack then there are lesser snack makers over there” If we see the consumption habit of North and West India, people over here are into more spicy and fiery food stuffs.

namkeens, like Ratlami Sev, what is the difference between the one sold in originally in Ratlam and the one produced

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It has always been a pleasure to interact with Mr Chandubhai Virani. His hunger for upgrading the plant operations and investing into technology has always amazed me. He has supported the new technologies and has worked with the OEMs to make it a success in India. Only a few other business men have such an approach towards supporting and handholding technology providers the way Mr Chandubhai does. Mr Chandubhai Virani has been a great well wisher and supporter of MTS and has always encouraged us to take up challenges. There is no doubt that Mr Chandubhai Virani has inspired many, like me, and I believe he will continue to move the world in many years to come. I would like to wish Chandubhai and Balaji wafers great success in the coming days.” K.K.Menon Managing Director Menon Technical Services Private Limited

Accordingly when you venture in South do you plan to use their local flavours and stuffs in your products for attracting native South consumers? We have more or less around 20 different types of flavours in our namkeens and chips cumulatively. Some flavours are the favourites in Maharashtra like the tomato based ones, certain spicy treats are favourites in Rajasthan, and some sweet and sour namkeen are Gujarat favourites. So you see when we produce snacks we

“To date company get 20 per cent growth per year and marching towards new horizon of success” distribute it all over the country, but not confine it to a state, though undoubtedly some local flavours in certain zones do have advantages. But we do not go out of the way to cater one zone only. Our vision of production does not go zone wise, rather Balaji group has a clear cut vision of providing “At least one product for every occasion”. This vision meets the buying capacity of an average Indian and it also reflects the motto to provide best quality product line. At present company has a Lion's share in Gujarat and high volumes of sales in Maharashtra and Rajasthan region. To date company get 20 per cent growth per year and marching towards new horizon of success. Talking about the traditional

by Balaji Group? Do you know what Ratlami Sev is; it is a namkeen with lots of oil that is highly spiced – Whereas our Ratlami Sev has been made from health point of view. Considering the requirement of todays educated consumers we have vastly reduced the oil and spice content in it. I think we have satisfied our customers because as far as the trade figures are concerned the sale of Balaji's Ratlami Sev is quite more than the original one. Certain NGO's and consumer groups have blamed a lot of snacks and fast food industry to have products containing high range of trans fats that are bad

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for the health. Concerning this how much does Balaji group emphasis to make its products Trans fat free and healthy? We are very much concerned with the health aspect of our products as well as that of consumers. But the truth is that fats are present in nearly all the

“Sale of Balaji's Ratlami Sev is quite more than the original one” snack and is one of the main ingredients to provide the tastes of food. But our consumer needs to understand that, “It's not what you eat, but how you eat “that affects your health. Over eating of any food, even the healthiest food can cause problems. Consumption of any kind of food should be within limits; that is it must fulfil your daily nutrient requirement not over fill your stomach. We do not mislead our consumers; in fact


Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012

we give them the original composition tables. But whatever we produce, it contains the best ingredients, best production process and safety issue always kept on the priority basis. Roasted and baked snacks are perceived to be healthier and are the new trends in the food market, so are you going to venture in it too? At this moment we have no plans to enter the roasted and

baked snacks market, because

“If the demand for roasted snack does go up than we will definitely bring it in our premises of production” where we live, around 80 per

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cent of people do need oil in their food /snacks. We actually have hard working people as our consumer, like the rural India. Urban India does have requirement for oil less snacks but still in less fraction. Anyway we do not have any hard and fast rule, if the demand for roasted snack does go up than we will definitely bring it in our premises of production. In the last five years most companies are left wondering on the fact that how does Balaji sell its snack so economical, even though it is prodigious in quality and health? Our simple mantra is winning the heart by quality, health and taste. In fact our 'Value for Money' strategy enables even a

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“Vanmark Equipment LLC from Creston, Iowa in the USA is honored to be one of the equipment suppliers for Balaji Wafers in India. We have dealt with Mr. Chandubhai Virani and his team to organize and specify the peeling equipment used in many of their Potato Chip making operations. We were granted the opportunity to review their Indian plants and saw firsthand their attention to detail in the new operation as they add capacity to their processes. In a tour of the Rajkot plant hosted by Mr. Virani we not only saw the processing operations but also their attention to the environment including the personal care and attention given to local animals that are lucky enough to be a part of that large facility. Balaji Wafers has a good feel for technology available around the world and sometimes make difficult request from their suppliers but these are always driven by their desire to produce the best produce the best products more efficiently. We see Balaji Wafers as a good example of a business and a management team that is making a serious effort to improve on every time they add new equipment or change processes.” Tom Mathues General Manager VANMARK kid to buy fresh and healthy food in small prices. In a neck to neck competition era one must implement new ideas and Balaji Group has developed the “Think Tank” that continuously updates strategy in the right direction. Together with this is our experience of 30 years and a

Balaji Wafer's main strength is the best quality at the reasonable price which is affordable by the all the classes of a society. Everyone is capable of buying the best quality food at a reasonable price. We at Balaji are like a family, our employees, labours, worker and distributers all support us with dedication and we support them financially all the way round. Thus a good network, an everlasting relationship, dedication and devotion have been the key reason for our low cost and high quality production. Balaji Wafer's main strength is the best quality at the reasonable price which is affordable by the all the classes of a society.

“Balaji Wafer's main strength is the best quality at the reasonable price which is affordable by the all the classes of a society” good will in the industry.

How any employees do you have in all and how many families are sustained in today's time just because of BALAJI Group? Total including both the factories we have around 2000 employees with us. We have around 700 suppliers with us and we have around 10 major distributors and under them we have around 500 small time distributers. And these distributers supply our products to about 7 lakh shopkeepers and marketers, and of course crores of consumers…..so we have a whole chain of workers, suppliers and sellers. Thousands of livelihoods are connected with Balaji and we have done a noble work in this aspect.


Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012 “Thousands of livelihoods are connected with Balaji and we have done a noble work in this aspect”

How any employees do you have in all and how many families are sustained in today's time just because of BALAJI Group? Total including both the factories we have around 2000 employees with us. We have around 700 suppliers with us and we have around 10 major distributors and under them we have around 500 small time distributers. And these distributers supply our products to about 7 lakh shopkeepers and marketers, and of course crores of consumers…..so we have a whole chain of workers, suppliers and sellers. Thousands

C.E.I.A – (AR) Italy

How any employees do you have in all and how many families are sustained in today's time just because of BALAJI Group? Total including both the factories we have around 2000 employees with us. We have around 700 suppliers with us and we have around 10 major distributors and under them we have around 500 small time distributers. And these distributers supply our products to about 7 lakh shopkeepers and marketers, and of course crores of consumers…..so we have a whole chain of workers, suppliers and sellers. Thousands of livelihoods are connected with Balaji and we have done a noble work in this aspect. What is your philosophy

entered the food processing business we never knew our future but today our work and dedication has paid off. It's all due to the commitmen t of my employees, the support of my family and observance s of our loved ones.

“It's all due to the commitment of my employees, the support of my family and observances of our loved ones”

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“Shri Chandubhai Virani – fondly called upon by everybody as Chandubhai – is a “journey in progress”. It is more like a filmy story happening in real life which depicts a small town guy growing to this stature on his OWN WILL POWER and sheer DEDICATION. On the way up, till now, he has seen a lot of struggle and ups and downs but establishing the business right from a small time canteen in a cinema hall to an EMPIRE that can challenge the likes of global giants, needs FAITH IN ONE-SELF. Sheer dedication and wordto-mouth publicity can also make a product successful and without any sort of lavish / expensive advertisements and banners or any such resorts – is a success story in itself. It is one of the reason that the prices of their products are under check and reachable to anybody who wants to taste the REAL-TASTE of “BALAJI” products. Today they have a state-of-art manufacturing plant and QUALITY & TASTE come first for them even now. More important is that they haven't changed there “VALUES & ETHICS” and we still find them as humble and retrospective as before. Chandubhai believes in living in REAL and PRACTICLE world and has set himself to actually re-write all the Management Books all over again. I think every management student should study BALAJI Wafers as a best example on – HOW TO SURVIVE & SUCCEED IN THE COMPETITIVE / CORPORATE WORLD - ONLY ON BASIS OF ETHICS & VALUES”. I did get a chance to meet Chandubhai once – thanks to Shri. Sandip Shuklaji, it was a life-time opportunity for small business entrepreneurs like me and at that moment thought that all the Management books that I studied – gave me only a certificate in return. After all that long discussion Chandubhai muttered those important words for me – “call me directly anytime” – such a down-to-earth person he is and remains. I am personally proud to be associated with Shri. Chandubhai and, and I am confident that every other person who has met him will say the same .... there is so much to learn from him and his journey, that still continues ……”

toward life, achievement, happiness and fulfilments? Hard work and honesty is the answer for all. If you work hard you can achieve the unthinkable. We the Balaji Group started at a low level, we saw lots of ups Neel Desai and downs in our life, a lot of Director SNS Pro-Pack Equipments Pvt. Ltd. hurdles came around but we stuck through. We had a METAL DETECTION SYSTEMS from … strong believe in …applications in the Food / Pharmaceutical / Textile / Tyre / Mining etc… ourselves and our effort. Pipe-Line version for Conveyorized version Gravity feed version for When we for PACKED & LIQUID / VISCOUS / PASTE / POWDER & GRANULES UNPACKED products MEAT etc… etc…

“Thousands of livelihoods are connected with Balaji and we have done a noble work in this aspect” of livelihoods are connected with Balaji and we have done a noble work in this aspect.

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Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012

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“SHRI CHANDUBHAI VIRANI is Very Far Sighted, Dynamic, Multi-Tasking Personality. Started with Humble Business of trading and now reached a landmark of being the largest Manufacturer of Snack Foods in Asia. Chandubhai has a very Capable Team which consists of Family-Members and other Professionals, who have dedicated themselves to the enormous growth of Balaji Wafers. Balaji Wafers have State-of-Art & contemporary Machinery for production as well as Packaging of their products. They follow stringent processes in testing of all incoming Raw Materials as well as Outgoing Final Products. Shri Chandubhai and the entire Management of Balaji Wafers have incorporated total Business ethics in every member of their organization. The Ingredients & Raw Materials used by Balaji Wafers are of Top Most Quality as per International Grades, and the same is reflected in their end product. Shri Chandubhai Virani has made India proud as the group is fully owned & run by their Family without any financial support of any Multinational or Foreign Companies. Today, because of his efforts & hard work, Balaji Wafer is giving a very tough competition to Big Multinational Brands & hasn't let these Foreign Brands to settle in Gujarat, Maharashtra, & Rajasthan. All our best wishes are with Shri Chandubhai & his Entire Team of Balaji Wafers they have the entire Nation proud by touching landmark in the field of Snacks Foods.” Kunal M Kathrani Partner- Director Avon Flavoursr

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Walking example of the PYRAMIND POWER TEHORY “When I first met, Shri Chandhu Bhai Ji Virani the CMD of Balaji Wafers Pvt Ltd., Rajkot, Gujarat, along with my colleagues, Mr. DimJan De Visser & Mr.Alberts Baldwin on behalf of our companies Tolsma Techniek Emmeloord b.v & Kiremko B.V., my first reaction was, he is the individual with whom you can sail along, and get motivated. Sheri Chandhu Bhai Ji uses his tools like, will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach full potential, for every person to reach his/her excellence. It took me quite few years to extra polish my thought process, that how he arrived at this stature as he is today. He is true modern GURU to the industry. He is a guardian hero to people like me who would like to look up for inspiration to go ahead and achieve the common goals. Yes, that is what the uniqueness of Shri Chandhu Bhai Ji Virani, the common goal for the betterment of the society. He is the personality of cognition group, where every member of the group concern is being taken. It will not be preposterous to say that Shri Chandhu Bhai Ji Virani is walking example of the PYRAMIND POWER TEHORY, which we were taught in our management classes. Sitting with him for an hour makes me realize that what I studied in management schools, he is the living example. I can proudly say that he is an evolutionary for the agro industry, stating from the village level to what Balaji Wafers Pvt Ltd., is today. He told me two mantras which he was/is following, that “quality is not an act, it is a habit” & “his creativeness is motivated by the desire to achieve the common goal, not by the desire to beat others,” for the success of his organization. I am trying to follow them. I humbly would like to suggest to the readers of this small write up, that try to meet him, talk to him and suggest/recommend others to meet him. I strongly believe & feel, he should be brought into national arena, where every member of the society starting from a school kid to industrious entrepreneurs should benefit with his thought process, experience.” Bhavana Vishwanath. Office Representative & Director, Tolsma Techniek Emmeloord b.v, Grisnich & Kiremko b.v

Balaji Wafers – An inspiring Journey

How any employees do you have in all and how many families are sustained in today's time just because of BALAJI Group?

Total including both the factories we have around 2000 employees with us. We have around 700 suppliers with us and we have around 10 major distributors and under them we have around 500 small time distributers. And these distributers supply our products to about 7 lakh shopkeepers and marketers, and of course crores of consumers…..so we have a whole chain of workers, suppliers and sellers. Thousands of livelihoods are connected with Balaji and we

have done a noble work in this aspect. How any employees do you have in all and how many families are sustained in today's time just because of BALAJI Group? Total including both the factories we have around 2000 employees with us. We have around 700 suppliers with us and we have around 10 major distributors and under them we have around 500 small time distributers. And these distributers supply

our products to about 7 lakh shopkeepers and marketers, and of course crores of consumers…..so we have a whole chain of workers, suppliers and sellers. Thousands of livelihoods are connected with Balaji and we have done a noble work in this aspect. What is your philosophy toward life, achievement, happiness and fulfilments? Hard work and honesty is the answer for all. If you work hard you can achieve the unthinkable. We the Balaji

Group started at a low level, we saw lots of ups and downs in our life, a lot of hurdles came around but we stuck through. We had a strong believe in ourselves and our effort. When we entered the food processing business we never knew our future but today our work and dedication has paid off. It's all due to the commitment of my employees, the support of my family and observances of our loved ones.


Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012 Chandubhai Virani is a well known business personality in the snackfood industry in India. His group has witnessed robust growth in the last one decade. The company is known for its unique knowledge about latest technologies. We seen Balaji wafers as role models for the Indian food processing industry. Snack food industry is passing through an exceptional phase where all the regional brands are giving tough challenges to the national brands or MNCs. Growth of Balaji Wafers is also considered the growth of hardworking small city entrepreneurs of the country. We hope they will expand their business in other parts of the country soon. Wishing all success to the Group and its Managing Director Pravin Parker Director Unique Equipments

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Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012

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His enthusiasm fired our own imagination

It was perhaps in the year 2003 that we met Mr. Chandu 'Bhai' Virani at his Rajkot unit. At that time V. S. International was already manufacturing packing machines with 'WEIGHING SCALES' for food product dosing. But the weighing scales were mechanical, Double Beam Weighers & Linear Weigher systems. However, our visit to Mr. Virani's plant was an eye-opener for us and in the long run proved very illuminating and fruitful. He was the first person who introduced us to Electronic Load-cell based Combination Weigher , by showing us the Japanese YAMATO 10 Head Multiweigher already installed in his plant. His enthusiasm fired our own imagination; then, there was no

looking back for V. S. International. We began our quest for a suitable Combination Weigher for the domestic customer, particularly in the middle and upper-middle segment, who were, until then, hesitant to invest in the Japanese Multihead Weighers from ISHIDA and YAMATO, as they were prohibitively expensive at that time. Our market search led us to China, where we chanced upon manufacturers of high quality Multihead Weighers. Their quick availability, compatible quality and very competitive prices convinced us that they were worthy alternative to weighers from Japan. It was as if the domestic customers were waiting, as within no time V. S. International firmly established

itself as a reputed, trustworthy and reliable manufacturer of packaging machines with Chinese Multihead Weighers. However, V. S. International did not overlook the contribution of Japanese ISHIDA & YAMATO weighers; to discerning customers it supplied those brands , to name a few: Yellow Diamond, Indore, Kishlay Foods, Gauhati, S. R. K. Foods, Hyderabad, Mahavir Namkeen, Surat, etc.

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Although, Mr. Chandu 'Bhai' Virani' spurred us on to adopt state-of-the-art technology in the manufacture of packing machines, we could never match our strides with his, as he kept pace with ever-expanding new technological advances. But his inspiration guided V. S. International to produce KOMET 81, a versatile bagger with multi-axis motion controller, start development on continuous motion machines

and constant technological improvements. We hope one day, Mr. Chandu 'Bhai' Virani will take cognisance of the strides made by V. S. International and would allow us to catch-up with him. Vikas Sharma Director V S Internationa


Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012

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Balaji Wafers Tremendously involved with the equipment selection

How old is your (Heat & Control-Ishida) relationship with Balaji Wafers and how has been your experience with this group in past couple of years? Heat and Control- Ishida have been supplying equipment's since 2003. The relationship started with supply of Ishida weighers, initially. In 2008 we supplied our first Namkeen line from the Heat and Control range and since then we haven't looked back and the relationship has been very strong. Balaji Wafers are a very progressive company always and always keeps their customer first. This has led them to be a phenomenal success. They are also very proud of their humble beginnings. It has been a real pleasure to work with them and we consider it an honor to be their supplier. During our recent visit we saw machines from Heat & Control and Ishida are dominating the entire premises for the processing and packaging of snacks at Valsad factory. Why this group has been preferring technologies by this duo mostly? Balaji Wafers are very deeply involved with the equipment selection and have also helped us develop our machines. They have aided and supported us during the machine selection, design, erection and commissioning phase like no other company and we always strive to give them the best possible deliverables. We have been working very closely with the management of Balaji wafers and providing top end technologies and excellent service and this could be the reason they prefer our technology. What are their selection criteria of technologies not only for your machines but also other integrated machines, you observed in these years?

Friendship isn't about whom you have known the longest... It's about who came, and never left your side”, Venkatesha ParthaSarathy, is one person whom I can relate this quote with. As a matter of fact, it was Venkat who instigated and encouraged me to do a feature story on Balaji Wafers and a special coverage on Chandubhai Virani. I very clearly remember that at previous one or two occasions Venkat had actually offered me to accompany him to the Balaji Plants and see the modern and technically one of the best developed factory plant in Asia; It was then that my journalistic curiosity was aroused, which lead to the origination of this very special edition of Beverages & Food Processing Times. I actually coaxed Venkat in giving me an interview and when I started out to write and edit my interesting discussion with Venkatesha Parthasarthy's , the most astonishing thing that caught my attention was his enduring name “ParthaSarathy”- another name for Lord Krishna meaning “The Charioteer (or Guide)”. He was my link to Chandu Bhai Virani and thus I would love to place him as the ‘Sarathy’ in my expedition of Balaji Wafers story. A fantastic person Venkatesha is a core itinerant and complete workaholic. With wonderful stats of the industry Venkat has an exceptional reputation with the snack food industry in India. This amicable persona was always there to curb all my queries and confusion during the entire process of this special issue. His interview to our newspaper though small is of imperative class, where he talks about the snack food technologies and his company's association with Balaji wafer.” The entire family works as a team and have very detailed and thorough discussions in all aspects of the machines. This leads to a high degree of involvement in the project by the supplier and since "goal posts" are clear, it is the duty of the supplier to deliver the best. Technology and post commissioni ng service are the key criterion for selection of equipment. How important is speed, accuracy and durability of machines in a snack food factory? This is a very important point. India is a mass market nation and hence margins are very important and due to this it is very important to have exacting control on operational costs and a high degree of operational efficiency and machine life.

Heat and Control and Ishida as supplier of equipment understand this due to years of being the market and make sure

we address these basic requirements. What will be your suggestions to a futuristic snack food

company looking for pan India marketing of their snacks, to have multiple factories in different locations or have a giant factory at one location to cater the entire country and why? If the snack food to be marketed is going to be a mass market product then we need to be price competitive and hence it is important to deliver product accordingly. If this path needs to be followed it makes more sense to have the factory near the market. Multiple factories in different locations would be the way forward. However if it is a niche product then we need to look at a different set of decision making attributes.


Beverages & Food Processing Times-Sep-II-2012

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EPILOGUE The size of the Indian Snack food market is currently estimated at approximately US$375 million. The total size of the Indian snack food market is at an estimated over 400,000 tons in volume terms and Rs100bn in value terms and is growing at over 10 per cent for the last three years. Unorganized small companies with a localized presence dominate the snack foods market in India but in recent years the organized branded products market size has grown significantly. Potato chips constitute the major segment among a wide range of local snacks available. According to industry sources, the market for branded chips has been growing rapidly at approximately 20 per cent annually. Many major companies have signed up exclusive sourcing agreements with local farmers for procurement of various raw materials. A wide well-established distribution network, attractive packaging, and promotions targeted at children to increase consumption have been some of the main factors for increasing market share of leading players. To increase consumption and encourage firsttime purchase, many players have started introducing their products in smaller pack sizes at lower unit price .Consumer preferences and tastes vary widely across the different regions of the country. Banana chips for instance, which are very popular in the southern part of India do not find many takers in other parts of the country. Penetration of snack foods is highest in North India as compared to other parts of the country. With Indian consumers constantly looking for variety, customers becoming increasingly healthconscious and with positive factors being attributed to packaged products, snack food companies are now increasingly emphasizing on newer snack food items and better quality packaging for their products.

Consulting Editor Basma Hussain

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Beverages & Food Processing Times Sept'12 (II)