Kiru Maikkapillai built The Divine Foods, after quitting his job in the US. The startup sells value-added products made from turmeric and clocks a turnover of Rs. 1 crore.
Kiru Maikkapillai’s parents expected him to continue working in his area when he left a well-paying position in the United States to start a business in India.
However, to their amazement, he ended up launching a native food business centred in Tamil Nadu.
Their surprise could be attributed to Kiru’s boyhood aspiration of becoming an entrepreneur.
Kiru travelled to the United States in 2013 to study his MBA at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth after finishing engineering and worked for a software company for a few years.Later, he began working for an American bank. Kiru quit his work in 2018 and moved back to his hometown of Salem
He had been obsessed with the concept of founding a business centred on agricultural products since he first considered starting one.
Kiru says, “When I was in the US, I used to see a lot of ‘Made in India’ agriculture products with higher quality on the market.”
The 34-year-old says, “I saw a lot of potential for these products on the market, both in India and elsewhere. I decided to sell high-quality, value-added items made from turmeric after finding the potential of Salem turmeric, an agro product that has been grown in my hometown for centuries.”
Kiru says, “Salem turmeric has a curcumin concentration of about 2.5% to 3%. Curcumin is the bioactive component found in turmeric that holds all of its potential. The more content there is, the higher the quality.”
He claims, “Turmeric is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic qualities, among other things. They are also thought to have properties that could aid in the prevention of cancer.”
Kiru founded The Divine Foods in December 2019 and sells its products in India and numerous other countries. The Divine Foods has partnered with numerous local turmeric farmers in Salem.
Turmeric-based products were already on the market, according to Kiru. However, he believes that the commercialization of products such as turmeric powder has made it harder for customers to locate the best quality available on the market.
“These days, several brands sell contaminated turmeric powder in packages. As a result, I wanted to make a difference by investigating the potential of this beautiful spice and, as a result, finding a place in the market,” adds Kiru.
Kiru explains why he named his company The Divine Foods: “Aside from being a vital ingredient in every Indian meal, turmeric is a spice that also has a spiritual quality to it because it is used in temples.”
Furthermore, it possesses a number of medical properties, making it even more exquisite. Kiru’s enterprise assists farmers who are afflicted by market imbalances.
He says, “We collaborate closely with native organic farmers in Tamil Nadu to obtain high-quality turmeric by offering them a fair and fixed price. The price is determined by the quality and diversity of the produce.”
However, doing business with Kiru is even more advantageous because he collects it directly from us and gives us about twice the market price “Raj Kumar, a turmeric farmer near Salem, agrees.
Raj said he presently earns Rs 70 per kg from the market and Rs 120 per kg from The Divine Foods.
Kiru continues, “I’m delighted I was able to assist them [farmers] in finding a solid market. I now have about ten farmers from whom I buy turmeric on a regular basis. Initially, we simply purchased turmeric fingers from farmers and ground them afterwards. The remainder of the items are created with the assistance of third-party entities.”
The Divine Foods currently offers value-added items ranging from organic turmeric powder to turmeric-based rash balm, with prices ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 700.
Kiru states, “We don’t have a huge list of items, but we do have a few favourites, like organic turmeric powder, handcrafted curcumin soap, golden milk latte, and an all-purpose rash balm. The most popular are the golden latte, a ready-to-drink beverage, and the curcumin soap.”
Divine Foods products are accessible online through their website as well as Amazon not just in India but also in countries such as Canada, Australia, and Singapore.
Kiru Maikkapillai says, “We have not spent a single penny on marketing our products in the United States or the United Kingdom.Now we have an average turnover of Rs 1 crore every year.”
But the thing that makes him the happiest is that he is now receiving support from his parents.