Sweet and sour pickles are a must-have with most meals in India. Many Indian communities are known to ingest pickles with all their meals. The demand for all types of pickles has always been a part of Indian cuisine. A pickle container accompanies all meals across Indian restaurants and hotels. It proves that pickles' demand will always persist because they tickle your tastebuds and make the food more relishing. The achar business is here to stay as pickles are a favourite across the various segments of Indian society. The demand for Indian pickles continues to grow worldwide among the diaspora of Indians, and many in the West enjoy the spicy and savoury taste it offers.
You can start a pickle business from home on a small scale or even set up a small manufacturing unit if your finances permit. Every commercial set-up, big or small, comes with its set of permissions and registrations, and the pickle making business is no exception. Indian pickles are not restricted to mangoes or limes. You can find onion, carrot, chilli, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, and even beetroot pickles, among many others. You can also find many homemade varieties of non-vegetarian pickles like mutton, shrimps, prawns, fish, and even chicken pickles. Globalisation has helped introduce olive pickles as well.
Did you know?
There are more than a thousand varieties of pickles in India, each with a unique flavour and taste.
Pickle Making Business in India
Many have always had doubts about the profit margins in this business. Infact, this is one of the most profitable businesses as it has always experienced a consistent demand on the domestic and global platforms.
Below are some of the preparatory steps to set up a pickle business in India. You can start a pickle business at home if you choose to and sell online, but every commercial venture requires the completion of some specific documentation.
Create a Viable Business Plan
If you know a specific fruit or vegetable, choose something unique that makes your product a class apart. If customers are met with quality deliverables, the initial curiosity will boost the demand. Before you know it, you will witness a growing increase in the unique variety of pickles you make. There aren’t many who make Gooseberry pickles or mushroom pickles. You will have to research before you decide on the type of pickle you wish to start manufacturing. You will also have to decide whether the taste is sweet or a spicy variety.
If you plan to set up a pickle business from home, you need to research the neighbourhood first to understand the demand. The retail outlets in the vicinity will also help you understand the people's varying tastes. If you have large premises, you can cultivate these in your backyard and start on a small scale. The research will help you understand where to source a large volume of, e.g. gooseberry or obtain quality mushrooms, the preservation methods, packaging, shelf life, and the initial quantities. Once you decide on the product, your next challenging task will be to create a good brand identity and acquire a patent so that no copyrights issue occur.
Authorisations and Registrations
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Registration monitors how the Food Business Operators conduct their business per the rules set by the FSSAI. Every business or individual trading in food has to procure a registration or a license from the FSSAI for the smooth functioning of their business. The FSSAI registration number always includes 14 digits. Once you procure this registration, any issues with the quality of the product will become your liability. It makes all Food Traders ensure that the quality requirements are always in sync with the standards laid down by FSSAI.
The benefit of an FSSAI registration is that it affirms that the government has approved your product. This type of registration is proof of the quality standards of the product, increases goodwill and boosts the business rapidly. For this registration, you will be required to produce various documents like:
- PAN card
- Business details - Proprietor or partnership. Detailed documents for each
- Business agreement
- Details of the pickles that your company will manufacture
- Duly filled Form IX. This form indicates the details of the individuals who the Organisation has nominated
- In case you do not register with the FSSAI and continue operating the business:
- You will have to pay a fine of ₹5 lakhs or may be put behind bars. Depending on the case, some have to bear the penalty and imprisonment.
- If you operate without the FSSAI certificate and the quality of your products is sub-standard, a fine of ₹5 lakhs will be imposed. The individuals helping you make the sale will also be penalised.
Area of Operations
Choose an area where the neighbourhood is crowded and competition is less. Avoid areas where there are many shops selling pickles. Whether the place is purchased or rented, ensure that it has ample space to store the pickles without any scope of breakages etc.
The Right Type of Equipment and Raw Materials
Whether you start a pickle business from home or set up a small unit, you will have to purchase the right cutting machines to cut the fruit and vegetables. In addition to this, you will require different-sized jars and bottles, containers, and raw materials like oils, preservatives, spices, and many others. The quantities will depend upon the scale of your business, but you should have all the infrastructure well in place before you start your operations.
Costing, Packing and Marketing
You may choose sustainable packaging practices or ceramic jars, which are reputed for preserving the quality of pickles for a long time. You will also have to keep the initial cost fairly reasonable. Once the demand grows, you can bring about a change in the costs. You can build your network in the vicinity by offering initial promotional offers on your website, accepting online orders, and establishing an alliance with retail outlets.
It is fairly simple to set up a pickle business from home or a small unit as long as you are familiar with the product properties and preservation techniques. You will require skilled and unskilled labour to assist you in the various activities of the business to ensure timely deliveries.