When they began getting demands for keerai (spinach) from places as far as Mumbai, Coimbatore-based e-commerce startup keeraikadai.com was in a quandary. “How do we supply a perishable green within 24 hours? It is impossible,” says G Sriram Prasad, CEO and founder.
But then the answer struck them: they began production of greeny dip, a ready-to-drink soup made from traditional greens. Greeny dip is now available across India, and Sriram adds, “We have confirmed orders of 20,00 boxes from the UK. We are waiting for the COVID-19 situation to ease so as to send the consignment. We are also exporting to the US.”
Sriram and his team have revived over 100 varieties of native greens that would otherwise have died out unseen. “Food as medicine is our philosophy, and the moringa tree is nothing short of a miracle,” he declares.
For the moringa variant of the soup, he sources fresh moringa leaves from farms in Madurai, Theni and Virudhunagar and as well as his own farm in Coimbatore. “In Virudhunagar, we have five acres of moringa trees. We collect tender leaves and put them through a dehydration unit that removes moisture but keeps nutrients intact. The dried and powdered leaves are then blended with salt, pepper, turmeric and cumin powder and packed into sachets. You just dip the sachet in 100 ml water for two minutes to get soup.”
The product has a shelf life of 180 days. “Our filter bags are ecofriendly and decompose easily. We avoid staplers and have used knitted thread to seal the pouch. Some of our other greens products are the vallarai dip, (said to boost memory), thoothuvaalai, ashwagandha and mudakkathan.”
The innovation won them the first prize at the Tamil Nadu Innovation Grand Challenge, by Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation Institute this June. “From 400 entries, we won the first prize for promising innovation, especially during the COVID-19 crisis as soups are said to help build immunity,” says Sriram.