It’s everyone’s favourite accompaniment to go with whatever’s on the plate.
Be it the humble Khichdi or curd rice, dosa, or roti, everyone needs achaar. An Indian meal is incomplete without having pickle on the side. Pickles always remind us of those summer mornings when our grandmothers used to make fresh khatta-meetha achaar and store it in those huge glass jars, to last us for the whole season.
A good dollop is what we all need – and D2C brands are finally here to let us indulge our pickle needs.
Over the last couple of years, many startups have come up providing consumers the same old Dadi-Nani style achaar at our doorsteps. It’s a cut-throat market out there – according to latest available estimates, the organised pickle market is valued at around INR 250 crore, growing at 8 per cent a year.
Founded in March 2021 by the sister-in-law duo, Kalpana and Uma, JhaJi is a women-led D2C startup. The JhaJi brand uses natural ingredients like Amla, Tamarind, Garlic, Onions, Cauliflower, Carrots, Red Chilli, Lemon, and more to blend perfectly into a pickle.
Each brand has a unique taste twist with its spices. Which pickle brand to try? Here are a few that are on the elusive quest to become that pan-Indian pickle brand that everyone, including our hard-to-please grandmothers, swears by.
JhaJi Store Pickles
According to the founders, the recipes have been refined over decades of expertise and passed down through generations. Even better, all the ingredients are bought from the local farmers and traders from the storied region of Mithila in Bihar. Priced at an affordable range of INR 249 – Rs 399, give the achaars of JhaJi a try – and prepare to make every meal an interesting one.
Ardent food lovers Siddharth and Rajesh teamed up with sisters Padmaja and Padma Latha to set up Bloom Foods. The Bloom Foods are famous for their non–vegetarian Andhra pickles. They offer four types of pickles: Chicken, Mutton, Fish, and Keema, all priced between INR 150 to Rs 850.
Based out of Hyderabad but loved across the country, Jandhayala Foods’s secret to pickle success has been due to their constant customer interaction and iteration. Born from their desire to bring South Indian-style pickles to the masses, the brand’s workforce has more women than men. For that classic Mango pickle taste, go for Avakaya or if your taste buds are craving that tangy tomato flavour, their Tomato Pachchadi is what you need. All their pickles are priced between INR 175 to Rs 900.
Founded by a young Mumbai-based couple, Ishita Shah and her husband Pinank, Goosebumps is their shot at letting the world know of their mother’s traditionally cooked authentic pickles. The brand has come up with the innovative idea of blending nature’s exotic fruits with spices, making it more enjoyable for the everyday consumer. Pineapple Pepper, Guava Chili, Orange Fennel, Cranberry Kalonji, Grapes Ginger are the popular choices among fruit pickles. For packaging, the Goosebumps brand uses a 5-layer leak-proof mechanism like food-grade polythene bags, unbreakable pet bottles, sealed, shockproof bubble wrap, and corrugated boxes.
Goosebumps pickles are available online for anywhere between INR 150-210 for a 250 gm jar.
Mumbai-based start-up Spice Story makes ethnic Indian chutneys in sauce form and packs them in easy-to-use recyclable bottles.
Launched in 2019 by founders Soumyadeep Mukherjee and Gayatri Gogate, Spice Story has already tasted success – pun intended – and that has made it enhance its bouquet of offerings in a short time.
The venture started with only three products but now has on offer nearly 15 varieties with catchy names like Dilliwali Spicy Mint Chutney, Kolkata Mango Mustard Adventure, Mumbai Schezwan Mayhem, Agra ki Saunth, Indori Lemon Chutney, and The Original Kolhapuri Jhatka.
The products are priced between INR 149 and Rs 400 and sell through online marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart, and quick commerce platforms including Swiggy, Instamart, and Zepto.