With the market for organic products opening up, Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt Ltd, which runs Safal outlets across the capital, started selling organic products at 100 outlets on December 20 last year. Two weeks on, sale of the products is yet to pick up.
The new products, labelled ‘Safal Organic’, are packaged in khaki-coloured packets, making them easily noticeable. The packaging is “bio-degradable and recyclable”.
Fruits and vegetables — ranging from apple, pomegranate, mausambi, lemon, potato, tomato, onion, ginger, garlic — as well kitchen ingredients like pulses, rice, spices, millets, dry fruits,wheat flour, besan, sugar, salt and flattened rice flakes (poha), are available in organic form.
The company said the produce is being “sourced from farmers with certified organic farms across the states of Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand” and is “in line with all regulatory, industrial, quality and food-safety requirements”, including “stringent testing for 127 pesticidal residues by accredited labs”.
At Malviya Nagar, Basant, who runs the Safal booth, said customers still prefer to buy the regular variety of fruits and vegetables as these are less expensive.
“On an average, we get around 100-150 customers a day and not more than 10 buy organic produce. It’s because of the price — 270 gm of organic ginger costs Rs 60, while regular ginger is being sold at Rs 130 per kilo,” he said.
Neeraj Singh, who runs the Saket J block booth, also said sale was slow because of the prices as well as the novelty of the products. “There isn’t complete awareness among customers yet. But the difference in pricing is a factor,” he said.
Regular pomegranates, for example, are priced at Rs 120 per kg, but the organic variant costs more than double the price at Rs 249. Basic vegetables like potato, which costs Rs 14 per kilo, is priced at Rs 40 per kg for its organic variant.
Since the product is new, some customers remain sceptical. Daya Ram, a customer, said, “My reservation is I don’t really know if it’s organic.”
At Panchsheel Park, however, Vikrant Thakur, who runs the Safal store, said the sale of organic products was picking up.
“We have been advertising by putting leaflets between newspapers and offering the organic variant to people who walk in. The price has been a factor, but certain products, especially fruits, are selling. We sold all organic apples today, and we have been getting feedback that they’re of better quality than the regular fruits,” he said.
Announcing the launch, Saugata Mitra, Director of Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt Ltd, had said, “As India houses the most number of organic producers, it is our sincere effort to help them by way of giving an assured market, right remuneration for their produce and acknowledge their commitment towards the nature and the nation.”
The company plans to expand further by adding “seasonal fruits and vegetables along with honey, rock salt and more varieties of whole spices and pulses”.