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Be ‘Atmanirbhar’ and Start a Profitable Pickle Business

Under present scenario, when most of us would prefer restricting our personal or business-related investments, and aim for maximizing our returns on the limited investments done, stepping in for the pickle business should be a rational decision. Pickles form a traditional food item of our country which is quite popular. One can find them easily in every Indian home. Pickles are prepared by preserving different fruits and vegetables in vinegar or brine along with different spices and other ingredients.

Abhijeet Banerjee

Under present scenario, when most of us would prefer restricting our personal or business-related investments, and aim for maximizing our returns on the limited investments done, stepping in for the pickle business should be a rational decision. Pickles form a traditional food item of our country which is quite popular. One can find them easily in every Indian home. Pickles are prepared by preserving different fruits and vegetables in vinegar or brine along with different spices and other ingredients.

 The perfect taste of the pickle depends on the correct mixing of different ingredients at the best proportion and the perfect timing for the processing. A small amount of pickle can help people relishing an entire meal actually. A pickle business - be it domestic or export oriented, is easy to start and run because the pickle making procedure is simple, and the equipment and space required are minimal. There is nominal investment requirement as well.  

Apart from the country's markets, pickles are also in great demand abroad. At present India has a bog export market comprising nearly 54-55 countries and the country’s export market is worth 100-110 million US dollars approximately. Homemade pickles are in greater demand in countries of the Middle East, UAE and countries where Indian population is more in number. Pickle export from India is demanded all over the world and exports from India has shown significant growth in last 10 years. In the year 2009 the total value of Pickle export was 15.76 USD million whereas the data of 2019 reports the export value of 110.1 USD million, which shows a tremendous growth of 733% approximately. Globally, exports of pickles totaled US$544.3 million in 2019, and the dollar change reflects a 2.7% increase in value since 2015. 

The 2020-21 figures are not considerable due to the pandemic effect. But once the situation normalizes, exports business shall pick up. Why not be prepared beforehand. In terms of export business profit margins, the returns can be really quite higher when compared with the expenses incurred. Majority of the expenses for the business include purchasing of ingredients and marketing the business. The other expense includes acquiring the licenses and registrations necessary to run the business. It is possible to start this business from one’s home, that too with an investment of 20 to 25 thousand rupees only. 

Business in Domestic Markets: It is important to study the market, in context to how the other products are priced, their packaging, and the methods of approaching the customers or the market. The entrepreneurs can focus on the  quality and pricing aspects in order to stay ahead in the competition. One should ensure higher quality standards of the pickles always. Similarly the pricing of the pickles needs to be competitive. The packaging of the products is also important and can be done in attractive, sturdy containers or jars, keeping in mind there is no deterioration in the quality. One also needs to make sure that the ingredients and its health benefits can be shared with the transparency on the packaging. One can tie up with the nearby retail stores or shopping malls for final distribution of the product. Arrangements can be also made for selling the products through online apps or portals. 

The licences which are necessary for starting a pickle business include an FSSAI license, apart from ensuring quality and safety standards. This license helps attract a large number of customers by adding trust and confidence in consumers about food safety and hygiene. Next one is a shop act license, applicable for shop owners operating within the municipal limits. The Shop Act registration is designed to regulate payment of wages, hours of work, leave, holidays, terms of service and other work conditions of people employed in the pickle shop. The other licenses applicable to the business are GST registration, Udyog Aadhaar registration and business entity registration.  

Steps necessary to start pickle export business 

1. Company Registration: One needs to get his/her company registered first in the Indian official records (Ministry of Corporate Affairs). 

2. Obtaining Export License: Once Company registration is over then once should apply for the Export license to the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). However Not all items which are to be exported require an export license. The export license is only required for exporting goods that are mentioned in Schedule 2 of ITC (HS) Classifications of Export and Import Items. One should confirm whether the products he/she wants to exports, need an export license or not. 

3. Target market Selection: Next step is to look for the markets or destinations where the products can be exported. One can take the help of trusted B2B websites or companies for selecting the potential markets. There are quite many websites giving authentic information to know the names of major countries importing pickles from India. In case you have knowledge of successful exporters, contract them with priority. India’s leading consumers are USA United Kingdom Germany Canada and many more.

4. Looking for Genuine & Professional trade counterpart: Once the above mentioned steps are complete then look forward to find professional and genuine buyers with whom you can establish long term business association. Use various trade related portals to find out such buyers. .

5. Arranging & Executing Export Orders: After finding relevant buyers or importers, arranging export orders in organized manner becomes important. Now one has to fill the arranged order form, with proper details and begin exporting your products. Help can be taken from various companies that specialize in all processes, whether it is the packaging of the products or the shipping process, management, or making the formalities and getting the document work done. 

Relevant Documents Needed for Pickle Export Business 

  • For starting any business, one should have the correction documents with himself. These documents are: 

  • GST registration

  • PAN card

  • Forex enabled bank account

  • Central Food Licence or FSSAI registration 

Key facts to Remember 

  • If one wishes to start pickle export from India, it can be done after following the protocols set by the FSSAI and other regulatory bodies governing the same.

  • For starting pickle export business from India, one should have an FSSAI license. 

  • The five major markets for Indian pickles are Russia, the USA, Belgium, Netherlands, and France.

  •  If looking to export Pickle, it is essential to have information on latest export data of Pickle, worldwide pickle buyers/importers, procedures to export Pickle, the duties and taxes applicable on export of Pickle from India etc.   

All in all the opportunity is huge and feasible in exporting pickles from India, and in line with Mr. Narendra Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat i.e. building a Self-Reliant India in a post COVID-19 world. The stimulus package mentioned by our PM on the concept of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” aims to strengthen India’s cottage and home industries, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other industries. In a way doing own business (in our context, stepping in for the pickle business) is surely a welcome decision for Indians who want to be self-reliant or “Atmanirbhar”.  

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