Green Saffron is a multi-award winning family business based in Cork. They produce spice blends, sauces and chutneys made from spices sourced by family members in Moradabad, India. Fresh spices make the trip from ‘source to sauce’ in just 8 weeks. Arun Kapil is an Anglo-Indian food entrepreneur, spice expert, and founder of Green Saffron – multi-award-winning purveyors of the finest spices, rice, sauces and spice blends you’ll ever experience. In addition to running his own food company, this charismatic character is a chef, author, vocal advocate and staunch supporter of his fellow small businesses. Arun regularly appears on Ireland’s TV3, where he has a cookery segment on ‘Late Lunch Live’, and has both demonstrated and orated at large-scale food events like the annual Abergavenny Food Festival. His skills with spice are in hot demand with top chefs the world over – this man roves the globe to share his knowledge and help develop dishes that completely redefine diners’ ideas about spice.
- Can you tell us a bit about your product?
We’re spice specialists. We focus on offering wonderful tasting, healthy seasonings and sauces. We make spice blends, sauces and Christmas bits and pieces. At the core of each product is fresh spice. I’m determined that everyone should be able to experience delicious, fresh tasting spice without all the fuss and bother so often associated. We source all our spices from family farms back in India. The sachets are mixes of vibrant spice and a little salt, they’re a fully seasoned, authentic meal solution – rip open the sachet, follow the recipe, set the table and prepare yourself for the best of Indian food! Our sauces carry the moniker, ‘source to sauce in 10 weeks’. The spices are so fresh. We make them in West Cork, Ireland and I think they’re simply the best on the market! We add no water, no chemicals of any sort, colours or preservatives, preferring instead to rely on tried and trusted tradition. We think it tastes better that way. Everything we make is certified Coeliac friendly, Vegan and Halal.
- What inspired you to create your product?
I was working in a commercial Irish kitchen and became increasingly aware how dull and lifeless the spices were. I began to miss food from home and from my youth. When asked if I’d like to have a stall at the then new Mahon Point Farmers Market, though a little reluctant at first, I soon realised it could be a bit of fun and a great opportunity to give people the chance to taste something different. So, I called my Dad, he put me in touch with family in India, I bought a coffee grinder and set about my task!
- How has your product evolved since it has launched?
We’ve expanded the product family. We’ve introduced my family’s mango chutney, added a vintage AAA basmati rice and I’m currently working on Naan breads and lots of other surprises for the future. Most recently we launched our ‘Curry Sauce’ range. Priced a little more keenly than our core Indian range, I made these Mild, Medium and Hot sauces and sachets with the aim of them being used in all types of food and meals from pasta to marinades, BBQ’s and grills. They’re all about adding natural flavour to everything you cook.
- Who is your customer?
We’ve got a great mix of excellent people from our Farmer’s Market stall customers, to shops and supermarket goers throughout Ireland, the UK and now France. I want my brand to appeal to everyone, for anyone that wants to try something a little different from an everyday meal to an ‘every so often’ treat. I’m thrilled when we get comments at our market stall or email messages from parents delighted that their children are loving our spices where they wouldn’t have done before. I think that’s down to the natural nature of our products.
- What tips would you give to someone who is starting out and wants to launch a food-related product/business?
Whatever about business, before you consider anything, make sure you have an excellent product. Play to your strengths, know your product inside out, make it the best it can possibly be and never compromise on quality. Once you have your product sorted, as Thomas Jackson our first Tesco buyer often said to me, get the basics right and keep getting them right. Then work hard, never give up and work hard some more. I’ve also found having an understanding wife to be pretty important too!
- Where can you buy this product and how much will it cost?
You can get our range of products throughout Ireland from supermarkets, shops and a couple of Farmers Markets. We’re available in about 55% of all recognised stores in Ireland at the moment and hope to continue expanding. We’re a premium priced product, but I’m determined that as we grow and increase our volumes we’ll continue to make our prices more competitive. I’d prefer to work harder at growing sales – ‘drop your margins, work harder’ – do as much promotional activity as we can than to take short cuts and compromise on our quality in any way. It’s a longer road, but one that I’m happier travelling down.
- What does the future hold for your business?
I have a global vision for this feisty little Irish company. I started with nothing but buckets of enthusiasm and energy working from a Farmers Market stall and I’m genuinely thrilled at the wonderful reception our products receive. I would love to see the brand available throughout Ireland, the UK and Europe by 2016 / 17, then think of the US and India. We also intend on occupying different spaces within the food industry; be great to see our fresh spice in all manner of food solutions from meats to cakes and back again. You never know, watch this space…..!
Green Saffron is one of the nearly 70 Irish food and drink producers that have participated in the Tesco Taste Bud programme in partnership with Bord Bia. To date, Taste Bud producers have recorded over €30 million worth of sales in Tesco stores, with nearly a quarter of this revenue generated in the UK, highlighting the export opportunities realised through the programme.
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