Organic and online

Ahmed Shatil Alam reveals the objectives behind the popular Khaas Food venture

innov khas food august 25

 

The food adulteration crisis in Bangladesh has been a serious problem over the past decade. Almost all sorts of food items from raw to processed, like fish, meat, vegetables, milk, spices, sweets, honey etc, were found to be contaminated with all kinds of chemicals including carbide, formalin, textile colors, artificial sweeteners, DDT, urea etc., according to newspaper reports over the past few years.

Given the situation, the demand of safe, organic food items is on the rise. Still safe food products are comparatively expensive and hard to come across. To meet the demand of people looking for alternatives to the mainstream products, a Dhaka-based food company- founded by a group of creative entrepreneurs- has emerged in to the market with an aim to provide good food at comparatively affordable price while ensuring profit for farmers and producers while eliminating the middle men.

The company, popularly known as Khaas Food, has already gained a lot of popularity among Dhaka and Chittagong dwellers because of their quality foods. It was initiated in 2015 by four former Dhaka University students. ‘The name of the company has proven its name as the word Khaas means authentic,’ says Ishtiaque Hossain, a resident of Mohammadpur who used to buy food from them. To him, though the price of the food items by Khaas foods is a bit on the pricey side, ‘the quality is up to the mark’, he says.

Habibul Mustafa Arman, one of the co-founders of Khaas Foods, shared with New Age Xtra that the motto of the company is to provide authentic and organic food items to their consumers. ‘We established the company back in 2015 when all of us were students of Dhaka University. Our aim was to curb the helplessness of the general people facing the threat of adulterated food,’ he says.

The idea of establishing such venture- that currently serves two largest metropolitan cities like Dhaka and Chittagong, came to Arman and his friend M Tauhidul Islam, who is a co-founder of Khaas Food, during a discussion. ‘Around that time, the adulteration of food was a regular issue being covered by the mainstream and social media. People were scared and confused about buying any and all food,’ says Arman.

Khaas-Food

They were at the final stage of their studies and so, were planning to start a business that will involve information technology and engage in the process plenty of unemployed youth of the country. ‘Along with the last two founders Abu Shahed and Romana Islam, we thought of starting a food venture, that can deliver safe food to the doors of the consumers,’ says Arman.

Khaas Food was also an online venture as they did not have the capital to run a physical store or even deliver throughout the day and night. They initiated the business with an investment of two lakh takas. ‘We were young and did not have the amount of money required to run the business through some physical stores like other big players,’ says Arman adding that the customer care, however, keeps running for 24 hours everyday.

Currently the company consists of 18 employees and has around 70 items in their website with honey, liquid cow milk, mustard oil and eggs being their most popular items, excluding the perishable goods. But the founders are planning to incorporate all sorts of foods in near future.

While talking about the price and quality, Arman shares that all the products are first sought out by the research team. ‘Then they contact producers to collect samples. Lastly, there is a team of food specialists who check the food value and quality and they themselves also consume all the products before releasing the products for sale, if the quality check remains positive,’ says Tauhidul.

‘We, all, use the products that we sell…and we do not want to sell anything that is not consumed by us,’ he says. In the case of price, he says, the production cost of organic foods is expensive as the production cost is higher. Therefore they directly collect the products from the producers to eliminate the presence of middle men thus ensuring more earnings for producers. In fact, they are now planning to start contract farming which they hope can attract the farmers and producers to produce more foods organically.