Thursday, January 15, 2009: 01:00:33 PM

TFPJ Personality of Fortnight

Tasting Success

Aslesha Madappa, President, ABC International

Regarded as one of the pioneers of the food processing sector, Aslesha Madappa began her journey as a merchant exporter, exporting food products from her home office. Today her company, ABC International is a renowned supplier of tamarind products and pickled gherkins.

Unintentional entrepreneur

Aslesha Madappa was a full-time housewife and mother. When her children grew up and were ready for a full-day school schedule, she decided to keep herself engaged and put her idle time to good use. Ms Madappa started a sourcing and marketing organisation, focussing on the food sector.

The path was not a smooth one, however, and she had to face a numerous hurdles. The biggest challenge that confronted her was the traditional one – that of balancing home and work. Then, there were other issues such as lack of formal training in the field, absence of a business background, no network to begin with and more.

Overcoming hurdles

A determined Madappa did not let the problems cloud her vision. She worked overtime to surmount all these difficulties and excelled in what she had undertaken. She attended training programmes, did a lot of research and reading, travelled to acquire every bit of knowledge she could gather for her company’s progress. Having armed herself with all she needed to build a successful organisation, she decided to develop a niche market for her company by transforming it into a product-specific firm. She personally ensured that her business concern was customer-oriented, prompt with responses, professional, proficient and fair. These values have helped her to uphold her business and propel it to newer heights.

Growing scope

According to Ms Madappa, “The market size of the overall food industry is growing very rapidly. Large corporate players are also entering and diversifying into this flourishing sector. This is sure to have a trickle-down effect on SMEs, which can take up the opportunity to grow as auxiliaries to the larger companies. If these SMEs can meet the global standards of products, processing and packaging, they can easily tap the huge unorganised food and beverage sector in India and expand.”

Ms Madappa asserts that the distinctive feature of her enterprise is that it provides food items of premier quality. She ensures that the raw materials are fresh and hand-picked from the forests or contract farmers after thorough manual assessment. Then, these are processed in their state-of-the-art processing unit with both indigenous and imported machineries and manufactured into a variety of delicacies.

The major products that Ms Madappa offers through ABC International include

  • Tamarind products, including tamarind concentrates, tamarind powder, tamarind seeds, tamarind husk and fresh tamarind
  • Pickled gherkins, including whole gherkins, gherkin plants, packed processed gherkins
  • Fruit and vegetable powders, including spray dried vegetable/fruit powder, apple, banana, grape, guava, mango, pineapple, papaya, orange, strawberry, carrot and tomato powder
  • Vegetable pickles, including jalapeno pickles, red chilli pickles and whole tomato pickles

Ms Madappa is also quick to keep her options open when it comes to the expansion of her organisation and its product range. She states, “As a policy, I wish to move with the industry and adapt to the requisite variations. As and when the prospects arise, I shall definitely assess options for joint ventures, strategic marketing, co-packing and co-marketing.”

A tangy touch
 
Ms Madappa has striven hard to develop specific variations of the product that are consistent with customer requirements. Furthermore, the applications of products have also been established by her personal visits abroad and exhaustive research on the product. She is constantly developing new recipes, and has introduced an assortment of pack sizes to suit definite customer needs and tastes.

Ms Madappa intends to make ABC International an absolute success, and has been working relentlessly to market her products in the right direction. She states, “The next 5-10 years will see India emerge as a major player and a huge market for our tamarind products. As far as gherkins are concerned, the Russian market is budding. The US has always been a huge market, and some European countries are large importers too. For tamarind products, the Middle and Far East are most lucrative.”

Sweet success

Ms Madappa loves her work and is very passionate about ABC International’s products. She exclaims, “I have deep respect for our customers within and outside India, and believe in building long-term business relationships irrespective of the volume of business I conduct with them. My company is ethical, transparent and professional.” All these combine to ensure that ABC International tastes success under the able leadership of Ms Aslesha Madappa.


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