Spicy Success!

Nikhil Ballal

Every Indian woman knows the value of spice in the kitchen. The masalas in the kitchen play a quintessential role in the Indian cuisine, be it Punjabi, South Indian, Gujarati or Maharashtrian. While there are an array of brands available in the market, very few know the pulse of the exact needs of the customers and fewer make an attempt to connect with them. Ram Bandhu is one such name that not only stands out because of the pains that they have taken to reach in the selected eight states of the country, but also for the out of the box efforts to reach out to their target audiences.

The favourite brand

Ram Bandhu has been very popular amongst its customers since a long time. The company that started as a small shop in Nashik, has today spread to more than eight states in India. In 1994, Hemant and Umesh, Rathi brothers converted the company into public limited company called Empire Spices and Foods Limited. What is most unique about Ram Bandhu is that they have different products for different states, based on the tastes and preferences. For them two pillars of success have always been quality and innovation.

Great pains have gone in the market the product. Yet, one never sees the aggressive advertising of any product of Ram Bandhu. Hemant Rathi, the chairman of Ram Bandhu said, “More than advertising, we believe in reaching out to the masses face to face. That’s why we have conducted many events, either on our own or in collaboration with some media partners where our products were used. This makes the participants get first-hand experience of our products. As a result, not only are our products became popular, but also have a loyal market.”

Ram Bandhu has had organised an array of competition like competition papads making (for women), papad eating competition (for men) in various states. Before launching any product, an extensive research is conducted in order to understand the consumer demands. Then, the product is launched with a competition or an event.

While talking about these competitions, Rathi shared, “We were going to launch the baati masala in Rajasthan. When we asked the shopkeepers to keep our product, they were reluctant. We promised them that if the product doesn’t do well for a month, we’ll take back all the stock. That is when the shopkeepers agreed. In the meanwhile, we announced a city-level competition of making baatis using our masala. The competition was organised at the state level. The format was such that the city winners would make it to the regional round and winners of regional round would qualify for the final state level competition. Within a week, we started getting calls from the shopkeepers demanding more stock of the masala!” Needless to say, the competition and the product were a huge hit!

Ram Bandhu is one of the most trusted brands, even at the grass-root level. The quality, the pricing and the packaging has never failed in winning the hearts of the customers, but the trust that Ram Bandhu enjoys is sure enviable. “Our majority clientele are women. A woman trusts her brother the most in the world. Our name has Bandhu. That, along with our quality, ensures we enjoy their trust,” explained Rathi.

The expansion

The Empire Spices and Foods Limited has not limited itself to masalas only. Their pickles are equally famous. With a range of papad masalas and readymade papads, Ram Bandhu have captured the left side of a typical thali reserved for lip smacking pickles, chutneys, sauces etc. They have plans to venture in ready chivdas and breakfast menu too.

A few years ago, they have launched few more brands, each venturing in a new product category. Temptin’ is a brand that displays an array of delectable chutneys, sauces and pastes. It also includes ready to eat delicacies like Poha in easy to carry packs. RBM (that stands for Ram Bandhu Masale) is a brand dedicated for the price conscious clientele. It houses various masalas like chicken masala, meat masala, chilli and turmeric powders, etc. Spice One, another newly launched brand has one-time use packs under its name. These packs are of premium quality and facilitate cooking sans trouble of measuring the masalas. Their latest venture is Zaiqa, a gifting range that is an assortment of the above brands in an attractive gifting package.

Ram Bandhu and activities

Ram Bandhu has always been involved in organizing events. They are often seen partnering or sponsoring events on various platforms including television and radio. Recently they had also sponsored the event in Nagpur in which the celebrity chef Vishnu Manohar created a world record.

Ram Bandhu had been associated with Rajasthan Royals for the 5th IPL season. The idea was to reach out to the youth and the cricket lovers in the country. The Rathis are renowned for their social awareness and it is reflected in the social activities that are undertaken by Ram Bandhu as well. Ram Bandhu tied up with Rajasthan Royals team and Make a Wish Foundation and invited the players to spend some quality time with the terminally ill children. Similarly, Rambandhu always take many such initiatives for the well-being of the society.

Ram Bandhu has also sponsored many awards and events that recognise sheer talent in various fields.

These efforts has led Ram Bandhu to be one of the famous brands in the country that sit in the kitchen, enhancing the flavours of the Indian cuisine and enchanting the food connoisseurs with the perfect taste and aroma. The brainchild of Hemant Rathi and Umesh Rathi has been carried forward by the next generation, taking a company to next step. Promoters and company have received many recognition, few of the prominent have been Hemant Rathi being awarded for his achievements as ‘The Best Businessman of the Year 2001’ by Jaycees, Rotary Vyavsay Seva Puraskar – 2005-06 and SL Kirloskar Achievement Award in 2011 amongst others.

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