Manchester startup Howdah, a gourmet Indian snack company and social enterprise, has secured a product listing with leading supermarket chain Morrisons.
The deal places their snack range – Onion Bhajis, Peanut Pakora, Bombay Puri and Bakarawdi Bites – on the shelves of 135 Morrisons stores across the country.
The company’s founder, Falu Shah, moved to the UK from India in 1988. She and her son Akash decided to set up Howdah in order to recreate the treasured and authentic Indian flavours found in their family home. The company’s range of products use original recipes, traditional spices and locally sourced Indian ingredients to bring flavours from Falu’s homeland to dinner tables across the UK.
Howdah’s commercial journey began at London luxury retailer Harrods. Falu provided the department store with samples, and they were impressed with Howdah’s combination of traditional Indian recipes and gourmet approach, leading to an offer to launch the products and for them to be stocked exclusively in Harrods for six months.
Howdah has since expanded into more than 150 fine food and farm shops across the country.
The Morrisons listing was achieved following support from the Business Growth Hub, part of Manchester Growth Company, which provided Falu with business guidance at several workshops, including the Recipe for Success programme.
Falu Shah said: “I am very proud to have achieved our first supermarket listing, which is a major milestone in the growth and development of Howdah as a global brand. Our great relationship with Morrisons’ buyer Noor Ali, and support from the Business Growth Hub, have been critical to our success.
“Given the rapid growth of the world food sector, Morrisons is the ideal platform for our snacks to reach British consumers. I feel that this is the launchpad for Howdah’s role as an ambassador of the exciting expansion of the world food market in Britain. “
Michael Hadfield, growth business advisor at Business Growth Hub, said: “Falu was looking to upskill to engage with larger buyers and create opportunities for her brand. At the same time, she was looking to identify barriers along the way and source information and services to overcome these barriers.
“She was able to learn from industry experts on how to engage with large multiple buyers and large food service companies, practice her pitching technique and network with other food businesses. In addition, she continues to receive one-to-one support and has received advice on vending contacts, links to universities and developing a commercial proposal for supermarkets – which we are delighted to see has come to fruition with this superb Morrisons listing.”
Noor Ali, senior buying manager, world foods, Morrisons, added: “We are always looking for innovative products and niche markets - this was definitely one of them. I was also impressed with Falu – she came across very well, knowledgeable and passionate about her range of snacks.”
A small company with big ideas, Howdah is partnered with Indian NGO Akshaya Patra. As part of the #Howdah1for1 campaign, each 100g bag sold gives away a free school meal to a child in India as a means of encouraging education. So far, the company has given away over 35,000 meals.