‘Pure Kashmiri’ spice brands misleading, says entrepreneur

‘Pure Kashmiri’ spice brands misleading, says entrepreneur

SRINAGAR: Any spice brand claiming its products to be “pure Kashmiri” is a misnomer and misleading, because of too little local production, except for saffron, which is exclusively produced in Kashmir (in the subcontinent).
This was stated by Mohammad Fadeel, Director ‘Transitial Agro Commodities Private Limited’ at the Summer food festival ‘Eid Saal’ organised Tuesday by the Kashmir University in the lawns of Business and Management Studies.
The company’s own spice brand ‘Urban House’ was one of the many sponsors, including food outlets, which were part of the event.
“If any brand tells you that they have a pure Kashmiri chili powder, this is a lie, because Kashmir does produce, but the production is very less. The only spice that grows from Kashmir is saffron. Nothing else,” Fadeel told Kashmir Reader on the sidelines of the Food fest.
The adulteration in the so called desi spice brands inspired Fadeel and his associates to come up with the new spice brand ‘Urban House’ a few months ago.
“I came across a test demonstrating how to check the purity of chilli powder. It said that if the chilli powder releases colour on being sprinkled over water, it has colour added in it otherwise it is pure. When I tested my chilli powder at home, it failed the test even as I had taken the sample of the so called Kashmiri chilli powder,” he recalled.
“I told my friends later that the spices here were not good enough. So we started planning about it,” he added.
The nascent company has tied up with a Mumbai-based supplier, and Fadeel has a reason why they chose for an outside supplier.
“Why we tied up with them is because nobody in India has the kind of certification they have. They are a BRC (British Courier Certified) company. No company in the pan Indian market has this certification,” he said.
Besides having an FDA certificate, Fadeel said that Urban House is ‘Halal certified’.
Fadeel said that the brand had an added advantage “because our supplier is himself a member of Spice Board of India”.
“Our supplier packs the product only for international brands. It’s for the first time they are packing it for a domestic product”.
Besides natural aroma and colour, ‘Urban House’, he said, “is open to any lab tests and scrutiny for the pureness of our product”.
Hoping to give a tough competition to local spice brands on the back of a “low profit” mantra, Fadeel said that they were expanding the market across the globe.
“To start with we are doing exhibitions of our brand in Russia, and South Africa besides Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Chef Yaseen, a local renowned chef from the valley, who was invited to the event, asked the aspiring chefs not to “jump into the profession just for the sake of it”. He asked them to create a niche for themselves in the food market.
Registrar KU, Prof Nisar A Mir said on the occasion that the varsity would welcome such events in future also.