Our R&D head is our customer. A new age product development story (Part 1)!

Zeugar Foods started its operations in a small cloud Kitchen in Kochi, on August 15, 2020. We chose the Independence Day for our launch, as our stated objective was to give everyone the freedom to eat whatever sweets they want, without the fear of weight gain and diabetes. When we started off, we had a small assortment of products – A few Jar cakes, a couple of Indian sweets (Lado & jalebi), a couple of varieties of cookies and some milk shakes. Over the last few months, our Menu has expanded from 22 products at launch to 50+. And most of these Menu increases have some interesting stories behind them. Here are a few snippets.

“Son, its so long since I have had a Payasam for Onam. Can you help?”

Our very first menu addition happened in a few weeks from our launch, and this product was not even in our distant plans of product development. It was the initial days of our launch and we were monitoring every customer orders personally. 3 weeks after we started operations, it was Onam, the biggest festival in Kerala. Onam is celebrated across religions and classes and there are a few customary celebrations, everyone part takes in. One of them is to have delicious Payasams, a sweet Porridge dish often made from Rice, Vermicelli or Dals

About 2 weeks after launch, we got a call from a customer. She was 82 years old, living alone with a home nurse and she had seen our ad and tries our Laddoos and loved it. But now, she had a new demand “Payasams were part of my Onam celebrations, but I have not had them for 30 years now. Its one of my wishes to have a nice cup of Payasams. Can you make them in Sugar Free? My nurse will not let me touch anything with Sugar. I have crossed 80, I don’t know how much time I have for my wishes”. We just could not say “No”

Even though our chefs at that time had not even tried to make a Payasams in Sugar Free (and we were clear we had to make it without any after taste), they took it as a challenge. After 6 days and twenty odd trials, we had a couple of flavors of delicious Payasams ready.

The happiness on our caller’s face was to be seen to be believed. She asked us for the bill, but we refused. We knew that the product development idea was worth a lot more the cost of the Payasams! This dish has been a staple in our Menu ever since and is still one of our best selling products. We also ended up developing 2 more new flavors of Payasams, including a brand new recipe that has not been tried anywhere else, even with Sugar. This version made with dried rice and dry fruits was one of the best sellers for us in the recent festive season

On Onam day this year (2021), we ended up serving Payasams to 1500+ customers! And we could have done even more, we ran out of stock quickly. We are always grateful for that one thought from our esteemed customer and her guts to give us a call and request for the same. She is truly a rockstar for us!

Fahim Umar

Fahim Umar