Meet Ashu Parwal, the founder of Tiny Roots. An alumnus of IIT Bombay, he took up farming as therapy when he couldn’t clear the UPSC Interview for the lack of just five marks. The innate zeal of doing something for his country, however, could not be hampered and it eventually turned him into an entrepreneur who encourages and promotes gourmet food products manufactured from across the country and brings them to the Pink City for the discerning gourmands.
“Ever since I was a child,I have been passionate about food and I loved visiting departmental stores. I noticed that most of the gourmet food products were imported from outside India. The acceptance of homegrown brands was low primarily for two reasons – they did not market their products well and they didn’t produce the volumes that the international brands did. I wanted to break this status quo and bring Indian food brands making good-quality, preservative-free products to the limelight. This thought paved the way for the birth of Tiny Roots”, says Ashu, while sharing the story of his one-of-its-kind venture, Tiny Roots.
The culinary industry saw a spurt in the use of microgreens in the past decade. Packed with nutrition, rich in flavour and adding a splash of colour to a host of sweet and savoury dishes, they are being used by hotels, restaurants and home chefs in Jaipur as well now. However, not until very recently these were being imported in Jaipur from cities like Delhi. By growing edible flowers and microgreens on his farm in Mansarovar, Ashu filled the void that existed in Rajasthan for these products.
“As soon as I started providing microgreens and edible flowers, there was a huge demand from hotels across the state. Initially, the work started as a B2B model. It was only in the lockdown that the demand from hotels shrunk and I eventually had to pivot to selling to household consumers directly”, tells Ashu. With people staying indoors due to the pandemic, there was a huge increase in culinary experiments at home leading to a great demand for exotic food products.
What makes Tiny Roots stand out from the other grocery or departmental stores is the handpicked selection and careful curation of products. For each category of product, there is only one option available. For instance, if one is looking for a bar of dark chocolate there will only be one brand of chocolate available instead of the usual 15 or 20.
Sharing more on this concept, Ashu says: “The idea behind doing this is to give my collaborators’ exclusivity. The products are chosen after extensive research, feedback from customers as well as after talking to the employees of the company to understand the ethos of their work.”
One can get here a wide variety of over 1000 packaged and fresh gourmet products that are being made in different parts of the country. Some of the bestselling products include a range of mushrooms, Edamame, artisanal breads and tea cakes from Gurgaon, coolers and jams from Himachal Pradesh, fresh berries, asparagus, live microgreen pots, vegan cheese and ice-creams, no sugar ice creams, cheese, vegan milk, kombucha, flavoured tonic water and what have you!
To educate people about the intricacies of farming, Ashu also organizes walks at his farm in Mansarovar. People pluck their own veggies from the farm and take them home. A cooking demo is also organized wherein the produce available at the farm is used and the visitors are made to try it. “It is a great way to spend weekends, especially for children. They learn to appreciate nature and it also encourages imbibing qualities like patience. I also plan to partner with schools to teach children how to grow their own microgreens at home “, elaborates Ashu.
Currently, Tiny Roots operates through tools like Instagram and Whatsapp which does not always offer a seamless experience for both the consumer and the brand. However, to ease out the process of ordering for customers, Ashu plans to shift to a website and mobile app soon. Post-covid, a walk-in store in C-Scheme is also on the cards.
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