Tuesday, January 06, 2009: 08:45:42 PM

TFPJ Personality of Fortnight

Destiny's child

Swatantra Chhabra Kalra - CEO, Truly Natural

Out Standing Out Standing Out Standing Out Standing Out Standing

Ms Swatantra Chhabra Kalra’s tryst with the food processing industry began during her college days. She was shifted from the Mechanical to the Food Engineering department at Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology just because she was a girl, and was ‘more suited’ to study food processing. That development was a stroke of luck in disguise, as she is presently the CEO of Truly Natural. Truly Natural supplies natural food ingredients to different companies in India.


Accidental advances


Having started her career at PepsiCo, Ms Kalra learnt a lot about the many dimensions of food products and the food industry as a whole. It was, however, another accident that she joined PepsiCo as the first woman in their factory. She had been called for an interview, the management having mistaken her for a male candidate on the basis of her name – Swatantra, which is a masculine name. She however insisted on going through the interview and convinced everyone that she was the ideal choice for the post being offered. After that, there was no looking back for her.


Earning through experience


Ms Kalra started her career in research and development, and spent 10 years in several prestigious firms including Nestle India Ltd, Pepsico’s Frito Lay division, Amway India Enterprises, Dumex India Pvt Ltd, and Kanegrade Flavours and Ingredients Pvt Ltd.


She has formulated diet snacks, dietary health supplements, protein supplements and infant foods during her career in R&D. Apart from R&D, Ms Kalra has first-hand experience in process scaling from lab to production scale, shelf-life evaluation of products, quality compliance, system synchronisation for seasoning manufacturing, vendor development and business development.


Novel ideas


According to Ms Kalra, “The food industry overall is growing at a very rapid rate, and there are constant challenges. In fact, it is a very vast and interesting field to work in, with new opportunities coming up everyday. I have incepted Truly Natural to cover a wide variety of applications, including food and pharmaceuticals, oral care, personal care and household needs.”


Ms Kalra claims that the most distinguishing factor of her endeavour is to provide a complete solution to the food industry. She offers product and application consultancy services, helps in raw material procurement and provides technical assistance for the best use of the material. She is also an expert in imparting food safety programmes as well as consultancy and testing for nutritional labelling as well.


The major products that Ms Kalra offers through Truly Natural include


  • Natural and nature identical flavours
  • Natural colours and extracts
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Spices and oleoresins
  • Natural ingredients
  • Natural and essential oil

A personal touch


The various products offered at Truly Natural carry a touch of Ms Kalra, as she oversees every stage of work personally. She manages everything right from R&D to production and then marketing and development. She has ensured that the products manufactured by her company are of excellent quality and meet the consumers’ needs.


Ms Kalra wants to make her fledgling enterprise a complete success, and is trying her best to deliver superior products at lesser costs, which reach the customer in time. Her products are totally natural and ensure that the customer also gets an advantage on the health front.


Truly amazing!


Ms Kalra believes that “a calm sea never makes a skilful sailor,” and claims to have travelled a difficult journey juggling home and work. However she was determined, and strived hard to balance both, at the same time looking out for new challenges and opportunities. 


Ms Kalra finds it very enriching to complete her duties and household chores and then run after her son, Siddharth. A true modern woman, multi-tasking comes naturally to her and she ensures that not one aspect of personal life or work gets ignored.

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