A Jackfruit Initiative
There are a lot of Jackfruits in our fields but we are not aware of the potential for value-added products made from it. Jackfruit has also become a vegan alternative to meat. There’s the story of how a Jackfruit led to a startup. Sairaj Dhond from Goa was a big fan of chicken gravy made by his grandmother in his childhood. Sairaj, the child, enjoyed the gravy without realizing that it contained pieces of jackfruit. It has many health benefits such as potassium and fiber which help in reducing high blood pressure, antioxidant properties and the ability to absorb iron. Jackfruit is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. Realizing these benefits, Sairaj decided to launch Wakao Foods during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Jackfruit was stocked with the help of social media
Internet searches and YouTube videos came to the rescue for the storage and processing of jackfruits collected from farmers. Data was also collected from culinary experts and experts in jackfruit cultivation. Once the processing machine was ready, farmers from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra were selected for jackfruit procurement. Farming clusters of jackfruit growing at different times of the year were ensured. Got all FDA approval and license . Processing unit was established. Sairaj started the venture with three ready-to-cook and two ready-to-eat products. This is where the entrepreneurship of Sairaj, who is also a criminal lawyer, begins.
The products will last long
Introduced delicious mock meat products such as Teriyaki Jack, Butter Jack, BBQ Jack and Jack Burger Patty. Sairaj claims that all products are 100% natural without artificial coloring, chemicals or preservatives. Jack Burger Patty is a best selling product for kids and vegetarians alike. The biggest catch is that Goan startup Vegan Jackfruit Meat does not require refrigeration. Will last up to a year. Today, Wakao Foods is on the shelves of over 30 vegetarian stores in Goa.
Finding marketplace online and in person
With 27 offline stores and online sales across Goa, the venture produces 2-3 tonnes of jackfruit meat per month. High-end restaurants and hotel chains, including Hilton, Oberoi, Grand Hyatt and JW Marriot, are fans of Wakao Foods’ products. Sairaj plans to expand its offline sales to cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Delhi. The company aims to enter the US, Mexican and Canadian markets, as well as Dubai and Norway by the end of this financial year. In addition to its global expansion, it also plans to expand its brand range by launching ten new jackfruit based products.
Gone are the days of underestimating the price of jackfruit… Don’t forget it is the king of fruits … and now of the market.