At the age of 42, she decided that she had been on too long a break and it was time again to give wings to her dreams. Encouraged by her daughter—rather as she says pushed into doing something—Meeta Anand Madhok, an ex-advertising professional, entered the big bad world of start-ups.
This entrepreneur started from scratch and set up her own almond milk plant in Noida. Why almond milk suddenly, one would ask.
Says Meeta, “This idea came to me three years ago. I was in Los Angeles with my daughter for quite some time. She got me hooked on to a very healthy lifestyle that comprised gluten-free products and of course products like almond milk.”
When she was about to board the flight back home, her daughter goaded her to reclaim her life—to do something that would fuel her ambition. On getting back to Delhi, Meeta tried to stick to her old LA routine.She soon realised that the products she had taken for granted in the US were still not available in India. Or at least, not in that pure form. One of them being, almond milk.
This prompted her to start her own plant—Drupe Foods India Pvt Ltd—that exclusively caters to the lactose intolerant in our society.
“I set up the plant in November last year and we started production in June. From importing the custom-made sterilisation equipment for the bottles, to even getting the right kind of material for the bottle that would be able to bear the sterilisation process, it all required enormous effort.”
Meeta invested `8 crore in her passion—partly savings from her job, and a bank loan. But for her, the one uphill task was to explain to officials what exactly is almond milk and almond butter to issue the certificate for the plant and the product. She had to literally define the category.
The Nodia plant has a capacity of producing 6,000 litres of almond milk a day. Currently, it makes only about 400-500 litres a day. Meeta stresses that her product is for the niche category. But this hasn’t stopped Drupe from making its presence felt in Bengaluru and Chandigarh markets, besides of course, Delhi.
Drupe Foods markets its products with a three-month shelf-life and makes it a point to pick up unsold bottles back from the market when one month is still left. She then distributes these bottles—which still have a good one month shelf life on them, to NGOs and orphanages.
The Nodia plant has a capacity of producing 6,000 litres of almond milk a day. Currently, it makes only about 400-500 litres a day
How is Drupe different?
Even before she set up her plant,Meeta was sure of one thing—she will not resort to any additives. Staying
true to her word, her products are completely natural—in the true sense of the world. She adds date syrup for sweetness, and naturally sourced cinnamon, vanilla, and cocoa for flavouring.
Drupe offers almond milk in three flavours, besides almond butter and date syrup. The products are just good quality almonds with its skin on for added health benefits, pure date syrup with no added sugar or honey, vanilla used from blow-dried vanilla pods, naturally grown cinnamon, and of course, cocoa beans. So, Meeta says, it’s health to the maximum.