Kolkata-based JK Masale was founded by Late Dhannalal Jain in 1985. Jain earned a name and fame in Kolkata for manufacturing and supplying handpicked jeera (cumin) in packs. This led him to be known as the' Jeera King' or 'JK'. In 1985 he set up the first unit in Kolkata and built four more units in Kolkata, Rajasthan, and Unjha (Gujarat) in the subsequent years.
Over the years, there has been a drastic change in the market. Initially, everything was managed by the founder Jain himself, from setting the company to handling employees. Today, the third generation of the family is involved in the business and has acquired significant roles and responsibilities. From Dhannalal Jain's self-governing spirit, the business has shifted to being run through delegated roles.
Speaking of the company, Vijay Jain, chief marketing officer of JK Masale, explains, "We believe in authenticity and purity since our very inception. Our products are handpicked as we follow the ideology of 'Shudhata and Swasthata'. We believe that the important aspect of running a business is to grow with the times."
JK Masale has developed diversified categories of spices, including a wide range of whole, ground, blended, gourmet, and processed spices and herbs with quality, credibility, and consistency matching global standards. The company offers more than 65 products available across 155 SKUs. The spices are priced between Rs 5 sachet packets to Rs 2,000. According to Jain, the various spice mixes have been blended with customized combinations. The company also included other health food and wellness products such as Poha, Psyllium Husk, Soya Chunks, Tapioca Seeds, and CTC Assam Tea on the brand's portfolio to fulfill the market demand and customers' needs.
The company sells through 700 distributors pan India in more than 3 lakh outlets. JK Masale also has four standalone outlets – called JK Lifestore – in different corners of Kolkata. "We have grown from Kolkata and now export to more than nine countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, UK, Bhutan, Hong Kong, Canada, and others," Jain adds.
SORTEX machine for better quality products
According to Jain, JK Masale ensures quality and food safety at every step during processing and packaging. He adds, "By recognizing the evolved requirements of the current times, valuing which we are upholding outstanding standards of safety and hygiene across all our verticals. The mandatory use of sanitizers', masks, gloves, headcover, and shoe cover is ensured at all the company's offices, factories, and stores."
Speaking of the quality he mentions that the manufacturing process at JK Masale includes procuring raw material directly from farmers, hi-tech cleaning using SORTEX machines, product inspection before packaging, packing, and retailing. "The company imported super SORTEX machine in 2006 to refine the quality of products. We have also brought innovation in packaging by introducing spices in glass jars, plastic jars, and pouches."
Multichannel approach for marketing & sales
Jain states that there has been a remarkable change in the market due to customer desires and demands. Through thorough research, the company has concluded that the different customer wishes to use other channels to make a purchasing decision.
He explains, "Capturing our consumers in the way that works for them means being prepared across multiple channels or mediums. Thus, we practice the concept of omnichannel - a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience. Our offline store functions by the name JK Lifestore and our eCommerce portal by the name JK Cart. It provides the customers the flexibility to shop from their desired mode of the platform."
Launch of JK Cart amid pandemic
Post the first wave of Covid-19, JK Masale installed new automatic machines, which helped increase the production capacity to overcome the supply shortage of essential commodities. Jain explains, "March 2020 for us was indeed an extremely challenging time, but we attenuated the crisis by launching the brand online through its website and on other eCommerce platforms. Recently, since JK Cart has become functional, we can deliver our products right at the doorstep of our customers without any hassle."
Strengthening product portfolio & presence in the international market
Even with an unfavorable business environment due to the Covid-19 pandemic, JK Masale is expecting around 25 to 30% growth in turnover during the current fiscal with an expanding footprint and launch of new products. The company has registered 10 to 15% growth in turnover at around Rs 300 crore in FY-21.
Keeping the current crisis in mind, JK Masale is also planning to produce a line of products focusing on boosting immunity. "We launched almost 10 to 12 new products in the last fiscal and are planning to launch another 10 to 12 in the current financial year. JK Masale already has a strong foothold in India and now we are focusing on to strengthen our international market presence," Jain concluded.