-By Swaminathan Balasubramanian (firstname.lastname@example.org | 7718960636)
One would not believe the ‘Sapins’ branding across Kerala and in retail shops has recently ventured into the B2C segment. The decade-old dairy farming company, present mainly in the HoReCa segment has strengthened its end-consumer reach. Some of the flagship products include milk, curd, ghee, butter, khoa, and paneer. Present in Kizhakkambalam near Kochi, this farm company serves both Kerala and Middle East markets.
The name ‘Sapins’ was derived from the French word ‘Sapin’ which means ‘Fir tree, Evergreen, and Height’. Gigi Thomas, CMD of the company for whose ‘bread and butter is selling dairy products is also found as the ‘Milk Man of Kerala’. Speaking to ChefBharath.com, Gigi says that COVID had challenged his hard work for these years. “I always had a passion for this business. I do not know anything else. All I know is always to keep thinking and innovating ways to reach out to customers. Our 85% of businesses were dependent only on the institutional sale. However, one fine morning, we never anticipated it would fall to just 15%. Restaurants downed the shutter, payments got blocked, but at the same time, we are an essential commodity.”
Sapins is the most preferred product for various star hotels, value restaurants, flight kitchens, amusement parks, hospitals, and individual caterers. “I had always stood with this business. Come what may-flood, demonetization, GST, COVID, weekends, bandhs/hartals/lockdowns. I had always glued to my work and ensured our products reach our customers at the earliest”, says Gigi is a man who is committed to his work. Thus, we wanted to create awareness on the end consumer segment too. “Even though it was new to us, thanks to the goodwill we had created these days, we reached the right audience at the right time. Of course, the response from both the end consumers and distributors is supportive. ” Sapins brand can reach each and every household of Kerala through Jio mart.
Speaking on the merits and demerits for premium product manufacturers in the food sector, he said, “The biggest advantage in the HoReCa segment is we are well defined on the customer, their psychology, their market demands, and manage the supply chain. However, the demerits are the payments that extend more than 40 days, logistics and more.”, Gigi averred.
According to Gigi, the key unique aspect of the product is the quality which they would like to ensure forever. “We can bet on our flagship products like Paneer, milk. Paneer is something that has become a common eating aspect for every customer regardless of the South and Northern parts of India. We are extra cautious on our product procurement, mechanism, seamless supply chain, and more.”, Gigi says. Asked the reason for charging additional for the customer, he said, “Of course, we are a premium product with ISO certification for quality. However, we could say, we are the most affordable product in that category. Because we break multiple layers of supply chain and try to supply the products directly to the institutions or maximum through our distributors.”, says Gigi.
Suggestions for hoteliers and Chefs
Gigi also asks the decision-makers in the restaurants to decide on dairy products based on value and quality and not mere price. With respect to the HoReCa segment, Sapins is also ready to provide customised packs of even 1 KG or Paneer and even 40 litres of milk/curd cans and ensure the products are served at their destination whenever is needed. “It needs a particular quantity of milk to produce a Kilo of paneer. We strictly adhere to the production techniques and thus get the desired results. Any change in the permutation will end up with the paneer either getting broken easily or too hard to consume. Thus the kitchens should be smart enough to make wise decisions”, he said.
Gigi had always wondered about the wide range of products available in the Western world. “My dream is to make Indian Lacto products of Global quality. I also wish to bring products like cheese on par to the global standards which are manufactured in this country”, he says further added that his team would look at increasing the export avenues of their products. Since our products are of high quality, our products will have good acceptance across the globe.
Meron Group Wishes Mr Gigi and team Sapins for all their expansion plans and reach further heights.