KOCHI: It was in 2003 that Philomina Thomas ventured into bringing harm-free food products to the commercial market. Encouraged by her family, she brought together a few women and started a small-scale unit wherein homemade food specialties were made retaining their authentic taste. With help from her group, Philomina began making curry powders, pickles, chutneys, and rice and wheat products which were then packed and sold locally.
With time, the group added items of brine and other snacks (banana and jackfruit chips, avalose undas, kuzhalappams, achappams) into their line of products. All these were made following the recipes and methods of preparation which Philomina had perfected over the years. Her aim was simple – creating local delicacies, homemade and free of synthetic additives. Sixteen years hence, though Philomina is no more, the unit in Muvattupuzha remains unchanged and Philomina's Food Products has much to take pride in.
Today, Pratheesh Thomas, her son, looks after the brand. Officially established in 2013, the brand has grown to manufacture an extensive array of products uncompromised in health and quality. These include tea and coffee powders, kondattams, wines, syrups and dried items like onakkakappa (dried tapioca) and idiyirachi (dried meat). Along with baby products like ragi tone and banana powder, spices and dried fruits are also packed for sale.
“The idea of bringing unadulterated food products to the masses in tandem with the expertise gifted to my mother – and thereafter passed on – was key for the success of this venture," says Pratheesh over the phone. Hustling voices clutter the line and one can imagine the unit in the backdrop, busying over the day's chores which includes the collection of materials, their preparation and packing into plastic pouches.
Multiple steps involved in furnishing a product are all housed within the unit and each passes through the hands of the twenty women who ensure quality. Pratheesh assures that all the raw materials used are natural and collected from reliable sources. Further, every item that comes out of the unit is completely free of preservatives, colours, acids, and essences.
After operating out of an exclusive outlet in Muvattupuzha for years, Philomina's Food Products has recently inaugurated an outlet in Kakkand. the brand further searching for spaces around the city to open a few more. Pratheesh points out that the shops in Bengaluru, Kolanchery, Palarivattom and a few other places are wholly operated by franchised dealers. When asked about the initiatives planned for the future, He talks about plans to introduce tamarind syrup and tulsi powder into their line up. Apart from their growing range of food products, nothing has changed over the years – the brand still avows to abide by a model of commitment and quality.