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24 Mantra organic products making inroads in USA

January 27
22:54 2015

CHICAGO: With two distribution centers and retail presence in 43 states, registering a nearly three times growth in sales in the past two years in 24 Mantra organic products, Fyve Elements LLC is now set for further huge expansion of its sales and presence in this country.

24-MantraUnnikrishnan Nambiar, CEO of Fyve Elements LLC said that close on the heels of the full-fledged Chicago distribution centre last year, the 24 Mantra management plans opening up a similar facility in San Francisco this year. It already has a well represented presence through wholesalers in five big areas – Massachusetts, New Jersey, Georgia, Florida and Texas.

With this and a higher choice in the product mix, the sales are expected to jump again three fold this year and may be five fold by 2016, observed Unnikrishnan.

24 Mantra is the premier most organic food producing company in India with a vast acreage of 120,000 acres brought under cultivation inducing over 20,000 farmers working on 30 plus projects.
Unnikrishnan said that bringing more and more farm under organic food cultivation is a really challenging task and “we have to work from scratch to assure the farmers that they would be better off in the long run by switching from conventional to organic.” They need to be assured that there is abundant market for their products and would definitely get higher return for their labor.
“We are highly encouraged by the stupendous response that we are getting here and we have to assure our consumers that they would all the time get quality organic products without supply interruptions,” he told this paper.

The big evidence in the increasing acceptance of 24 Mantra organic products here is that the company had increased the product range from 20 to 100 items during the past three years and plans to keep up the trend by introducing new products every year. The 24 Mantra products include cereals, flours, dals ( all type), spices, spice powders, masala mix, rice, culinary pastes, edible oils, health and breakfast food, snacks, ancient grains and juices ( recent introduction).

The Indian market has much bigger list but in the US the management has to wade cautiously in the light of food and health regulations. “The management is highly encouraged by excellent response all around and sooner than later it would tap into the main stream market which is way ahead in its awareness of organic products,” Unnikrishnan said.

Unnikrishnan like the founder of the 24 Mantra, Rajashekhar Reddy Seelam, was introduced to Organic food by the bout of cancer he suffered six years ago. In the case of Rajashekhar Seelam, his father was a cancer patient. Both Unnikrishnan and Raj realized and felt convinced that the chemical ridden fertilizers used in inorganic food and farming could potentially trigger growth of cancerous cells in human bodies and it is important “to go back to nature” to nip the problem in bud.

A common vision, life changing events and a passion for organic foods brought these two professionals together leading to the launch of Fyve Elements LLC to take care of the import and distribution of 24 Mantra organic products in the US.

Unnikrishnan set up the first distribution center in Jessup, MD which has been the headquarters for the US operations since Jan 2013. The company grew rapidly and the second location was set up in Chicago in Jan 2014.

He conceded that organic food products would be more expensive than conventional products. However one has to pay the price for good health and the health conscious public here and back home are slowing veering around this view to lead a healthier life, it is important to go organic. “We will try not to get heavily out priced but a blanket comparison of prices without the accruing benefits would be odious,” he said.
Amerender Reddy, close associate of Unnikrishnan, a no-nonsense chemist turned businessman from Dublin OH, who was on a short visit to Hyderabad just a few years ago also was instrumental in getting 24 Mantra come to this country. He had intuitively felt that the 24 Mantra products could decidedly have better markets in developed countries like US. This is primarily because the concept of organic food thru organic farming is getting ingrained with the health conscious mainstream society.

Amerendra Reddy, who acts more as a consultant to the company, said that tapping the mainstream American market is a sin qua non for increasing sales here. “With high quality products and competitive prices, there should be no problem in making successful inroads in mainstream markets,” he observed
24 Mantra is managed by people with extensive experience in agriculture, food processing, QA, sales, marketing and international trade. Sresta doesn’t use preservatives even to store produce. It uses a technique where oxygen levels are kept low in the storage units, according to Rajashekhar Reddy.

24 Mantra farming projects are spread across Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Northeast. The plans are for at least a 20 per cent growth every year, if not more, said Rajashekar Reddy.

Ramesh Sopararawla
India Post News Service

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