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Sharon Lobo

IWB Blogger

Entrepreneur Chayaa Nanjappa On How Developing Good Business Ethics Attracts Growth

  • IWB Post
  •  November 28, 2018

Tucked neatly between Srirangapatna and Mysuru, right off the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway, Nectar Fresh is creating some serious ripples in the organic food and cosmetic industry.

The woman behind this success is Chayaa Nanjappa, an award-winning entrepreneur, and the Founder & Managing Partner of the Brand Nectar Fresh. A first-generation rural entrepreneur, she has expanded the venture from a small startup to a unit presently producing 400 tons of products every month. Her unit is a Khadi & Village Board backed rural enterprise that has been empowering the rural & tribal folk as well as the small farmers.

At present, the product portfolio of Nectar Fresh encompasses honey, jams, sauces, Chia Seeds, Natural Vinegar, Spice & Apple Cider, naturally roasted coffee beans and filter coffee powder. Being a coffee addict, there is nothing more than wanting to enjoy a good filter coffee currently. Excerpts from a chat:

Nectar Fresh products

How did idea of Nectar Fresh come about?

I was born into an agricultural family. That’s the reason I was always attracted towards the organic and sustainable business. Also I had always had the dream of doing something which gives me the sense of “giving back to the society”. The idea of Nectar Fresh was conceptualized during the lowest phases of my life, and starting this venture was the turning point for me. We started our business with just one product – honey. I come from Coorg, which was famous for the world-class honey.

Could you tell us about what different verticals of Nectar Fresh are you involved in?

So after honey, my passion took me to a whole lot of agri-produce. I started manufacturing jams with different flavors and colors. Then I got into coffee without chicory. Then I started producing local farmers groceries. Recently I started supporting a group of farmers in apple cider and mother vinegar. Next on my agenda is to start up a manufacturing unit for women in spices. This year onwards we are also going to venture into the retail space, so it is going to be an exciting year ahead!

The market is bombarded with a lot of ‘organic food.’ What do you have to say about this?

In India, there are a lot of chemical-free food products in the market as well. However, they do not really come under the umbrella of ‘organic.’ Education and awareness around this topic are therefore necessary, for both the consumers as well as the farmers. Because now the farmers know that they can have a better market for their produce if they venture into organic farming, but to expect that to happen overnight is foolish.

Chayaa Nanjappa

Being a first generation entrepreneur, with no background in business, what was your strategy to make Nectar Fresh into a raging success?

First and foremost comes our obsession with quality, and maintaining it consistently which is the core of our business ethics. I think developing good business ethics and following it religiously needs to be stressed upon for achieving success. Being passionate about the things you do, and not having an ‘I give up’ attitude also plays an important role. Another thing is consistency in quality, style of working, etc. should be maintained, and finally ensuring that all the stakeholders, in my case the farmers, are happy at all times.

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Talking more about the involvement of farmers, how do you ensure that they get their fair share, considering how often they are exploited by the middlemen?

The farmers are the backbone of the company, and there is no concept of middlemen involved – this was something that my husband and I were very clear about right from the start. So this ensures that there is no wastage and they are guaranteed the fair price as the product is directly supplied to us. Going forward with our principles, we are sure that in tandem with the corporates we cater to, we can start our CSR activities.

You’ve made your brand the most sought-after in the food industry. Now, what are your future plans?

I am requested by the South Asian Women Development Forum to help them market their produce. So my plan is to procure their organic produce from their markets, process it here and provide employment to my team and then package and sell it to my consumers. Another one of my plans is to have beautiful village themed outlets, to promote rural goods and well as food produces from all over India.

Chayaa Nanjappa

How do you think people should make a switch from junk food to organic food?

With all the education and exposure, people have realized that everything is worthless if a person is not healthy. But this awareness has come pretty late, but as they say better late than never. In fact, I am so happy that the culture of slowly moving on to a healthy life and food choices is becoming part of our society. And this shift is happening at a pace we didn’t expect – not too slow and not too aggressively.

This article was first published on April 9, 2018. 

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