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Sanket (inset) and Nutri Fresh

Farm to Fork - An Agripreneur’s Success Story

Exclusive Interview with Sanket Mehta of Nutri Fresh

The unique hydroponic farm Nutri Fresh looks to expand after its Pune-Mumbai success.

Nutri Fresh, a brand that symbolizes hydroponically grown fresh, clean, green residue-free & chemical-free produce has adopted & patronized a unique women centric mothers community called Tigressmoms to ensure delivery of their fresh vegetables to over 5000 homes in last one year in Mumbai and Pune even during the pandemic. Nutrifresh encourages women entrepreneurship advocating a healthy lifestyle for moms of today, enabled availability of fresh, rich in nutrients produce of vegetables through 10 + mothers as homemakers through Tigressmoms thus encouraging women entrepreneurship.

Nutrifresh makes use of nutrient rich water which is RO purified to help plants grow enabling entire produce to be freshly harvested and delivered at households within 24 hours of its harvest. The entire produce is harvested, sorted and packed at a world class facility at India’s state of the art and biggest hydroponic project and shipped to Mumbai and Pune. Further, at Nutrifresh, there is minimum or no hand touching of the vegetables and once packed at the farm, these veggies are opened at consumer’s place only. And that is how Nutrifresh offers pesticide free, chemical free veggies delivered at homes.

In this exclusive interview, Sanket Mehta, describes the journey along with his Ganesh Nikam. What has helped Nutrifresh gain momentum during the pandemic, is its women centric approach towards production and distribution, Sanket says. Excerpts of the virtual interview:

ALSO CHECK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyVDDNGHdQQ

Whose idea was it to start the venture?

Me and Ganesh Nikam with banking background and then ventured in Agriculture in 2015 and it was a team decision to venture into more advance and more meaningful technology for having an upper edge. Therefore, we ventured into Hydroponic. 

How did it all began?

Reply: It all began with slow and small steps in agriculture. We realized that, the world is going gaga over organic but then we thought whether what are we consuming is truly organic! Then after tremendous study and consultations, it was evident that there are various layers to organic and determining organic vegetables is very perspective and challenging. Therefore, the new age technology wherein plants are provided with adequate salts via RO water felt convincing and fascinating. We started studying about Hydroponic and its benefits, procedure, players in market etc. We travelled World to understand the technology and realized that we require Indian type Hydroponic to best suit our needs and hence developed 42+ SKUs to satisfy needs of various Consumers. This is how we started our Journey.

What was the initial investment?

Initial investment including land, polyhouses, irrigation, pumps, ro system and civil construction was Rs. 30 crores for 10 acres.

It is said RO water take away minerals. Is it ok for plants?

When we say that water is RO purified, we take out all the Salts available in varied proportion in the water. After the water is neutral in nature, we add salts as per our requirements. It is easier to make the water neutral in nature and then add salts rather than identifying natural salts and removing or adding balance Salts. Therefore, RO purified water is best suited for plants.

Where do they grow the vegetables? How big is the field? 

The site is at Purandhar, Pune, opposite the Pratit Baalaji Temple. The Project is spread across 10 Acres.

Is everything grown in one farm or in different places?

Everything is grown in one Place.

How do the rate compare visa-vis the market rates?

Our Hydroponic Veggies are priced just 1.25x the normal veggies available in the market, however, the usage is 50% more than the normal veggies. For example, normal market coriander is priced at Rs. 20/100 Grams and after cleaning, grading and sorting only 40 grams is useful. Effectively, a Customer is buying at Rs. 50/100 Grams. Our hydroponic coriander is available at Rs. 60/100 Grams, that too home delivered.

Which are the vegetables grown and supplied through Nutrifresh?

At Nutrifresh, we supply 42+ SKUs starting from fruity vegetables - bell peppers, seedless cucumbers, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, exotic - snacky peppers, orange & purple bell peppers, yellow cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, orange cherry tomatoes romanesque broccoli etc. For leafy vegetables, we have 6 varieties of lettuces, kale, pokchoi, swiss chard, arugula etc. herbs like oregano, thyme, basil, sage, rosemary, parsley, celery, etc. indian greens like spianch (palak), baby spinach, coriander, fenugreek (methi), mint (pudhina) and mustard (sarso) etc are grown in the farm. Besides, we also grow seedless and yellow flesh watermelon near our farm. 

How do the logistics work? Is it outsourced?

Nutrifresh owns 2 Tempos and transportation within Mumbai and Pune is done via these vehicles. B2C Home delivery is done via these tempos and outsourced partner is female entrepreneur incubator.

How many people are totally employed?

Including the farms, DCs and transport, Nutrifresh employs 90+ employees where 72 are women

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