To please the taste buds in the easiest way possible, most people these days are highly inclined towards the idea of frozen foods. Despite the days once we ignored those dedicated aisles for frozen foods within the grocery, the urge to savor the frozen foods never actually ceased in us! And, due to the pandemic, the number of trips to restaurants and supermarkets has led us to explore the available frozen food resources. While the misunderstanding that frozen foods are unhealthy prevails, multiple nutritionists, researchers, and The Kitchen Connect foods have established the very fact that these foods have utmost goodness and nutrition. Sakshi Mithal, a business graduate with an inexorable passion for food and revolution started The Kitchen Connect in 2015 in Delhi. The brand was recently launched in Bengaluru and is being received really well by frozen food consumers. Their innovation is commendable.
I got to speak to Sakshi for a bit and below are the excerpts.
How did the idea come about? What were you doing prior to this?
I have been a part of the food business since 2015. My journey in the food business began as an intern chef with Dusit (now Roseatte, Delhi), followed by the launch of The Kitchen Connect in Shahpurjat. The Kitchen Connect has been recognized for curating trendy artisan quality bulk products along with a quaint café, limited seating catering, and corporate workshops.
Unlike The Kitchen Connect which was driven by sheer passion for food, patisserie, and a sort of desire to serve the top 5% in the pyramid, TKC foods has been backed by a lot of contemplation, research, experience, and need of the day. Having solid research experience of 7 years prior really helped me in narrowing down the products and identifying core customer demands. We were very clear that we wanted to substitute sugary proteins with the core center of plate meals. India is the world’s largest population of vegetarians or flexitarians and many people are searching for an option that allows them to eat in line with their values without sacrificing taste. We are a nutrient deficit country where we aren’t getting enough time to have nutrient-dense foods, clean meals let alone a clean environment, or clean meat to consume.
Being a vegetarian myself, I used to feel frustrated when I would see menus in the restaurant which lack enough options for vegetarians apart from potatoes, paneer, and soya. I think it’s time to look back and look at our rich local and indigenous history of millets, lentils, and fruits like Jackfruit.
What do you aim to achieve with The Kitchen Connect?
With TKC foods, we aim to curate “Ready to cook” frozen food that offers delicious, better for you, convenient, and affordable center of plate options for every household. Our mission is to provide indigenous ingredients that are usually not visible in menus, at an affordable price.
What challenges did you face and the research that went behind in the making of your health food brand?
The idea was born out of a Bootcamp who had chosen my startup pitch and given me space and environment to shape my venture back in Feb 2021. For the next couple of months, we tried to get insights from consumers, international food communities, vendors, and frozen food vendors about resources, limitations, and opportunities. It was enough to give us the conviction that we wanted to be a part of this growing market. With TKC Foods we aim to curate packaged frozen food that offers tasty, better for you, convenient and personalized ready to cook solution for chains, restaurants, cloud kitchens, and QSRs.
How did the pandemic treat you?
The pandemic was certainly a setback as we were about to launch to the HORECA industry. Of all industries, Horeca is yet far from recovery, and cafe’s and restaurant owners are looking inwards at cost cutting solutions. However, starting August 2021, we took our products right to the customer. We focused on delivering to large communities in Bangalore that are looking for safe, nutritious, and convenient food options for kids and adults alike. We got an amazing response from clients who would order every week and the word of mouth grew pretty past.
How’re you different from others in this space?
Our USP is definitely our taste per nutrition. We aim to replace sugary proteins with the center of plate meals which are fibrous, high in proteins as well as very affordable. We source directly from farmers the products that have been underrated in India like Jackfruit, Yam, and Colocasia.
What are some of your special offerings?
Jackfruit Curry for Biryani, Yam Galouti, Frozen cookie Doughs, Gourmet burger patties with 15 grams of proteins each, and pao bhaji slider kebabs with yam.
What is the future for The Kitchen Connect?
Indian Frozen Market space is currently valued at Rs 7400 cr and is poised to grow at about 17% CAGR till 2024. We see tremendous opportunity for a lot of collaboration within supply chains, farm to fork players as well as cold chain delivery start-ups who are strategically working on grabbing a share of this growing pie.
My verdict: I have never been a fan of frozen food unless it is French fries because I have given importance to fresh food only. The Kitchen Connect has made me think of the decision twice because their food is super fresh and tasty. I strongly recommend their pizza which is wheat base and filled with CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE.