Have you ever had Bhut Jolokia sauce, or at least wanted to try it? Well, East by Northeast (ENE) is making it possible to try food products that are native to that part of the country. Founder, Manjusha Barua wondered why there is no nationally popular food brand from the Northeast, despite the region having an abundance of fruits and vegetables and set out to change that.
After partnering up with Rinka Banerjee, who left her job of 16 years at Unilever, they have pinpointed the mission of ENE which is to promote cuisine of the Northeast by sourcing local and organic ingredients from partners and supporting communities, as well as use their expertise and knowledge of the region to create products with the unique raw materials.
Originally Sourced Bhut Jolokia
ENE gets fresh Bhut Jolokia puree from Assam and Nagaland. Its representatives meet farmers there, who have been trained on making the puree. The puree is then transported to a partner factory in Uttarakhand, where the final production and packaging is done. ENE plans to build a manufacturing unit in Assam in the near future.
Since the launch in 2016, ENE products are available across 250 outlets in Indian cities as well as on their website and e-commerce websites. The sauces are priced in the range Rs 195 – Rs 200 for a 200 gm bottle. At the moment they also plan to expand to pickles, marinades and dressings. Hopefully, four new products will be launched soon and ENE aims to spread to 25 cities in India.
The dominance of MNC’s in the FMCG market has made it difficult for startups to make a dent in the indigenous food market, but, hey, wouldn’t you want the real thing?