| Ramesh Kumar Agrawal with the sattu packets at his plant in Patna City on Sunday. Picture by Sachin |
Ramesh Kumar Agrawal alias Lalit Agrawal, a Patna-based entrepreneur, who made a fortune by selling branded “sattu” (roasted gram flour) to Biharis, is now all set to take his product to Sattu lovers in Bangalore and Surat.
Agrawal owns a firm, which produces the Swastik brand of sattu. The firm was launched 29 years ago and at present it has an annual turnover of Rs 12 crore. The product is available in markets of Bihar and Jharkhand only at present.
Agrawal’s foray into sattu production is a very interesting story. During a visit to Patna in 1982 he had a glass of sattu at a roadside stall and found it unpalatable. He then planned to produce quality sattu and set up his plant in 1985.
“Initially, I had to struggle hard to convince shopkeepers here in the state capital to buy my product but somehow I convinced some of them and since then there has been no looking back,” he said.
The entrepreneur has done his homework in advance for launching the product in Bangalore and Surat markets. “Some sample stocks had been sent to distributors at these two places and as people showed interest in purchasing the item we decided to launch the same in these two markets,” he said and reasoned: “Presence of large number of Biharis in Bangalore and Surat could be a possible reason for the demand of this product.”
Selling around 15 tonnes of sattu daily in the markets of Bihar and Jharkhand, the Patna entrepreneur has also done his homework regarding the nutritional value of the product.
“Sattu is rich in protein and acts as a natural colon cleanser. Its nutrient value is high it is rich in fibre,” pat came the reply from Agrawal when asked about benefits of having sattu.
The shelf life of sattu is more than products like bajra, jowar among others. Rich in fibre and having a low glycaemic index, it is good for diabetic people. “So far as quality of my company’s sattu is concerned, we buy high quality gram from Madhya Pradesh. From screening of roasted gram to separating roasted gram, which are identical, from washing roasted gram to packing them — everything is done automatically in machine,” he added.
Having set up his plant in Patna, Agrawal is not averse to the idea of setting up such plants in Surat and Bangalore. “It depends on demand. If it goes in the range of 5 to 6 tonnes daily, we can set up our plant there as well,” he said.