Full interview @ FoodtruckEmpire by Support Staff PC: Soulfull
Hello! Who are you and what food business did you start?
I am Prashant Parmeswaran, the CEO and MD of Soulfull. My partners and I founded Soulfull, a company that has been revolutionizing the ancient Indian grains, millets. Soulfull offers contemporary and convenient millet based food offerings relevant to the Indian consumer today.
What’s your ball-park revenue?
Soulfull clocked a net revenue of 22Cr + in FY 2018-19. This is the equivalent of over $3 million USD annually in total revenues.
How did you come up with the idea to build a business around traditional grains?
Soulfull was founded in 2011. I pursued my MBA from Babson College, Massachusetts and worked in the US for a while. It was my experience there that sparked the need to establish a state of the art company that would deliver innovative products using traditional grains like Millets.
And Soulfull was born out of my curiosity and intent to revolutionize the ancient Indian grains. During my stay in the United States, I witnessed the rising popularity of superfoods, such as quinoa. It is then that I realized the need to explore the power of Indian superfood such as millets. I truly believe that India is a very diverse country in every sense, including diversity in food and tastes.
Take us through the process of developing, testing, and producing your first millet-based product?
During the initial days millet institutes in India like IIMR, helped us understand the canvas of millet production in India. Scientists helped us develop the first round of machinery needed to process millets to packaged food.
With that learning I set up an RnD team and we started experimenting with our proprietary formulation. That led to the launch of our first product Ragi bites – a healthy snack option for kids. We then started expanding into other products like Muesli and Beverages, etc.
Soulfull sought the help of research institutions such as the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) to understand how they could add value to the grain and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad to gauge market opportunities. Agricultural experts and food technologists from the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysuru helped them engineer machines and put together processes for the final production.