Arriving: Food from mum’s kitchen

As good as home This Deepavali sit back and enjoy a meal by your mother

As good as home This Deepavali sit back and enjoy a meal by your mother  

This festive season, JustMyRoots helps bridge the gap by delivering home-cooked goodies by your mother to wherever you are, in 24 hours

Deepavali is around the corner and festive goodies are being whipped up at home. There are murukkus being piped, laddoos being moulded and chivda being fried and tossed. Elaborate menus featuring family favourites are also being planned for D-Day.

However, you are miles away working and missing out on all the treats that your mother has planned for the festive season. What if she could send you a box with all your favourite goodies — not just snacks but also the poori chole, biryani or favourite curry that she makes — to savour on the festival? A new food tech platform is helping families bridge those miles by shipping fresh, home-cooked meals across 16 Indian cities.

Launched in late 2017, JustMyRoots initially began by bringing on board restaurants and vendors from various cities, to ship their wares to people missing a taste of their home. This year, they have introduced their Direct from Home service, which lets families send their children some of their favourite home-cooked foods, no matter how far away from home they might be.

Says Promita Sengupta, co-founder, JustMyRoots, “Direct from Home happens to be our most popular service. Mothers in general are usually concerned about what their children eat when living away from home. This peaks around festivals and special occasions such as birthdays, when moms would make their children’s favourite foods. They love the idea of being able to send freshly-cooked food from their kitchens to their children. We have had clients who received the food and ate it with their mothers watching on Skype,” she says.

Around Dussehra this year, JustMyRoots saw a spike in the number of food parcels being sent via their platform and the same is likely to happen around Deepavali too. “We have invested in this special packaging from Israel that keeps food at a temperature of five to eight degrees Celsius; this helps the food stay fresh longer,” says Samiran Sengupta, CEO and founder of the company. “We make sure the food is delivered to the recipient within 24 hours.”

The inception

The idea for JustMyRoots came about when Promita, a former banker, set up an organisation Innovations Unlimited. “During the course of our work there, we happened to interact with several people who had moved countries and cities for their careers. The one common thread tying them all was the fact that they missed the flavours from their home towns or the cities they had lived in. For instance, we met a French national who had lived in Amritsar for a while. When he moved to another city, he really missed Amritsari food. That is how we came up with the idea of launching a food tech company that addressed the needs of the floating population, what they missed etc,” she says.

Arriving: Food from mum’s kitchen

While the company was formally set up in 2016, they went live for clients towards the end of 2017. “That is because we spent considerable time researching the market and figuring out how to take perishable products in fresh form to different cities,” says Samiran, adding, “We tried different forms of packaging as well, and looked into the kind of cold chain available in the country. However, there was nothing available at the cost we were looking at. We finally zeroed in on the Israeli packaging. Then there was the matter of testing it all out before we rolled out our services for clients.”

On the line

The company has on board various reputed vendors and restaurants such as Tunday Kababi from Lucknow and Arsalan from Kolkata. Convincing these players was another challenge they had to overcome. “They were understandably concerned about putting their reputation on the line by shipping inter-city. The risk of food going bad was too high for them,” says Samiran. “However, we asked them to try our service by first shipping their food to friends or relatives — people whose feedback they could trust.”

Arriving: Food from mum’s kitchen

Today, they have tied up with over 500 vendors and restaurants and have racked up over 10,000 customers. “When shipping food from restaurants or vendors, what we do is take the orders (there’s a cut-off day for these) and procure the products the following day. The food is then packaged by us and shipped the same day. In terms of the Direct from Home service, we ask the mothers to keep the cooked food ready, which is collected from them by our executives. It is then packed by us — there are no preservatives or additives involved — and shipped the same day to make sure the recipient receives the food within 24 hours,” explains Samiran.

Road ahead

With a presence in 16 Indian cities, plans are afoot to expand to at least 30 cities by March next year. The company is also working to expand to 10,000 vendors by 2021. “We also plan to significantly expand the Direct from Home service by making inroads in tier II cities; we currently have a presence mostly in metros. We get calls from cities such as Patna, Ranchi and Nasik; where children usually travel the farthest for their academics or jobs,” says Samiran.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 7:08:01 AM |

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