It is a story that has been told and retold many a time. It is a link to the past and a bridge to the future. Through its long journey, Kohinoor Foods Ltd. has gone past numerous milestones becoming a global food giant. And it looks forward with hope and glory to scale greater heights and continue touching the world with that special authentic taste of India.
It all started as a small rice trading business. Three Amritsar based brothers, Mr. Jugal Kishore Arora, Mr. Satnam Arora & Mr. Gurnam Arora joined hands to bring the best variety of rice, the Basmati Rice, to the people of India. And to differentiate their basmati rice from other variety of rice available in the market, they gave a name to it – Kohinoor, the name that meant the best, which depicted the best variety of rice available to people.
It was all outsourced until a point when they realized the importance of maintaining consistency in the high quality basmati rice they wanted to bring the people. This was the time when their small rice trading business took a big step and they set up their own rice plant in Amritsar, India. This big step gave them a strong foothold in the industry and gradually people among trade and also the ones who used to consume it, started forming high opinions about Kohinoor Basmati Rice. Gradually the brand started becoming a premium brand of basmati rice available to people in the market.
Around this time, with the wave of liberalisation, came opportunities of interaction with overseas clientele. As the business grew bigger this small rice trading business started becoming a part of the mainstream of Rice Exports from India.
By around this time, this small rice trading business grew even bigger and it was no more a small business. This was the time when this business got converted into a big enterprise. More people joined hands with the Arora brothers and around the same time this enterprise got its first name - “Satnam Overseas Limited” (As the company grew, this enterprise was later renamed as “Kohinoor Foods Limited”).
In the same year, the company established its second and India’s largest rice processing plant at Murthal, a place at the outskirts of Delhi, India. This gave the company and its product an even better foothold, not only in the Indian market, but also in international market.
As the company grew bigger, the disadvantages of operating in an unorganized industry started cropping up. To protect itself from such environments, the company started firming its back-end.
First among all was resetting the entire distribution network. For the first time in the history of rice industry, the company introduced a concept of “exclusive distribution”. Under this program, all the distributors committed their network solely to the company and promised not to sell any other products available in the market. This move strengthened the company’s distribution network and the company and its product ‘Kohinoor’ started standing even stronger in the market
Second was to import state of the art plant and machineries. Through revamping the machineries, the company started maintaining a bench mark of quality at the plant level and ultimately at the industry level as well.
The third drastic step the company took was in 1991 when for the first time it introduced Packaged Basmati Rice of 1kg & 5kg to make it possible for consumers to buy the Kohinoor products directly from shops. It happened for the first time in the history of a commodity product in India that a sealed and packaged pack of basmati rice was also available to consumers. Before this, rice was sold only loose in the market, by the kilo, in brown gunny or paper bags. This changed the way consumers used to buy rice in India.
Around the same time the company also started organizing “Awareness, Training & Development” programs for everybody who was associated with the company in a direct or an indirect way. This was another move that changed the way things used to happen in the industry at that time.
Around this time, the company took another drastic step. For the first time in the rice industry, a commodity was not just looked at as a ‘commodity’, but as a ‘brand’. This was the time when the company started advertising its product – Kohinoor. For the first time, a commodity product started communicating with its end consumers directly.
By around the mid of this period, the brand & the enterprise organized itself to a great extent – things were looking better and even though the company was operating in an unorganized industry, it was operating in a very professional way.
This was the time when the brand started looking beyond just one product in its portfolio. The brand realized that consumers had different taste and different likings of basmati rice. Depending on their lifestyle they lived and budget they had in hand, the brand came out with its first extension – Kohinoor’s Trophy Gold Basmati Rice. Post this extension, the brand was further extended itself into different kinds of Basmati Rice priced at different levels.
Until this point the company was managing its operation through its base in India, but soon it realized the importance of setting up its bases at different locations on the world map. Today the brand’s position is quite strong in the international markets – all because of its strategic bases at places like USA, UK & Dubai.
As the company grew, its brand ‘Kohinoor’ gained a strong position in the minds of its consumers. By around this time the brand had become a big & trusted household name, not only in India, but also in the International markets.
This was the time when Kohinoor diversified into branded packaged convenience foods and took authentic Indian flavour abroad with Ready-to–Eat Indian curries and authentic Indian Ready-Meal preparations. To achieve this height, the company also established a very modern and sophisticated food processing plant at Bahalgarh, in the outskirts of Delhi, India. Soon it started entering the International markets and renowned International retail chains with its thriving Packaged Convenience Indian Food portfolio.
Around the same period, Kohinoor set the first ever overseas basmati rice processing unit at Felixtowe, UK, which helped in strengthening Kohinoor’s stand in the UK market.
The company also got into Frozen Foods during the same period. It established a state-of-the-art frozen foods facility at Bahalgarh, in the outskirts of Delhi, India and started supplying a range of its Frozen products in the International market.
This year the brand created a Guinness Record by making “World’s Largest Biryani” in Delhi. It also launched its range of Spices in the Indian market.
Carrying forward the legacy of gratifying millions with scrumptious culinary delights, launched ‘Limited Edition’ of Kohinoor for the connoisseurs of basmati rice.
Created three new variants of Kohinoor- Platinum, Gold & Silver
To cater to the ever needing changes at the market place and to optimize the domestic business operations, Kohinoor Foods Limited entered into a Joint Venture agreement with M/s McCormick Ingredients Southeast Asia Pvt. Ltd, a leading name globally in Spices & Seasoning. The new company formed, “Kohinoor Speciality Foods India Pvt. Ltd” would oversee domestic (Indian) operations of both Food & Rice businesses that would bring global expertise of McCormick in ‘Distribution’ & ‘Product Innovation’ to the Indian Market. This joint venture being the first of its kind in the Rice Industry aims to take the brand in the Indian subcontinent on a higher platform that benefits the end consumer.
In our endeavor to bring authentic Indian taste to the global palates, Kohinoor in Food division launched Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) in “Fresh & Frozen” brand to a tumultuous response from the consumers in the select market of Middle East, Asia Pacific & the USA.
Moved to the sprawling New Corporate Office located at Suraj Kund (Delhi- NCR) that is Contemporary & Stylish in layout & surrounded by the serene Aravali hills.
Winning - Awards & Recognition
Achievements- Award & Recognition
Kohinoor Foods Ltd. is no stranger to awards and recognition. And with its huge list of accomplishments, it’s really no surprise. Incredible as it may sound - 868,500 finest basmati grains flow out every second from Kohinoor factories. If on one hand, Kohinoor Basmati Rice is the first branded food from India to be served on board Malaysian Airlines, than on the other hand, Kohinoor has an elite list of customers that includes the Royal Palaces of Brunei, Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman. That’s not all, Kohinoor Foods Ltd. can be credited with a lot of firsts in the category-
- First to introduce one & five kg packs in the rice category – changing the way India buys rice
- First to start building brand in a traditionally commoditized market
- First to advertise rice in the Indian market
- First to bring automated packaging machines and color Z series Sortex machines to the country
What’s more, the company has also received many prestigious and coveted awards like consumer validated Super Brand Award (thrice in series), Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brand award (4 times in a row), Power Brand, Guinness Book of World Record (for making world’s Largest Biryani), National Award for Export Excellence, the ‘Brand Equity’ Award and APEDA award (14 years) .
But the recognition that’s closest to the company is the one awarded by millions of satisfied customers across the globe who vouch for the authentic Indian taste it offers.