So I am back with my brand new blog, but this time, it is more about my experience than my interest towards marketing. I was invited by Amira Foods (NYSE:ANFL) to their production plant in Manesar (North India) and I jumped on the opportunity to witness the entire process of rice milling. Amira is a 100 year old provider of branded packaged Indian specialty rice which originated from India by Late Karam Chand Chanana in 1915. The family-owned business has seen seasons of growth and today, the company is listed on New York Stock Exchange with operations spanning to 60 countries throughout the world.
Something that fascinated me the most about this one-day long extravaganza at a rice plant spread across 19 acres of land was that a commodity as ignored as rice, which is a daily essential, has undergone so much modernization in its process to reach the end consumer that it’s unimaginable. At Amira, one thing that stunned me was that the skilled workforce undertook every activity, starting from procuring rice at the plant till stocking up the packaged product, untouched by hand, thanks to the technology that shines upon us with serene warmth.
So I step into the plant and the first thing I see is the Chairman’s message that stands tall at the reception. AMIRA- Ambition Meticulous Integrity Responsibility Accountability. This could be seen in almost every cabin, every staircase and every corridor of the plant. The best part is that people at the plant resonated with the values that are ingrained so beautifully in every person who I met during my visit. I met a very welcoming person who was there to receive me and he explained very briefly about the whole process. Till about this time, I was treating this visit as a very formal, to-the-point, business-like process. He further took me for a round to the plant.
As he showcased the different larger than life machines involved in ensuring the quality of the rice being offered to the consumers, I was a little surprised. Every machine was so closely monitored by human intelligence at every step of the process, starting from destoning, husking, separation of different rice varieties, to ensuring consistency in the length of the rice grains, color of the rice grains, quality control systems, packaging, waste management, etc that watching all of this in front of my eyes was an extraordinary experience in itself.
One of the persons who I met was the plant incharge who had immense knowledge of the different varieties of rice. After my round, I was made to meet him to understand the different varieties and how each variety tastes. At their lab, I saw almost more than 40 varieties of rice that Amira proudly sells across 60 countries. ‘Every palette likes different aroma, quality and color. And we forge ahead with great enthusiasm to deliver exactly the quality that the region demands.’ Said the plant incharge. What I learned from this conversant man was that every variety of rice has a name like Tibar, Dubar, Mongra, sella, 1059, 1121, traditional, pusa, sharbati, sona masoori and parmal. And all of these varieties have further variations depending on the region where the rice goes.
Another interesting experience, and my own favourite was the tasting session. There are different aromas of every basmati rice variety. One of the most interesting variety I experienced was smoked rice which had a peculiar aroma of smoke. These are primarily demanded from Middle-east and are used mostly for Biryani.
At the Amira lab, they explained me the tastes and why they are like that. Long grain rice is my favourite and that is one of their premium rice range in India and abroad. The subtle texture of the long grain rice was high in aroma and even higher in health quotient (HQ). Talking about the HQ, I also learnt that basmati rice is low in fat, gluten free and basmati has a low to medium glycaemic index, meaning that energy is released at a slower, steadier rate leading to a more balanced level of energy. Just like wine, basmati rice gets better with age and Amira rice is aged for 12 months to get the best taste out of every rice grain which is closely monitored and improved at the Amira Lab.
I was impressed by the detailed attention that the entire process receives from the experts at the organization and the amount of care every pack gets before it finally reaches the shelves at the market.
This visit has changed the way I look at a simple commodity of daily essential – rice. There is a lot of technology involved in rice milling and also, a lot of conviction to deliver quality basmati rice to the global consumers. Amira is truly the rice of India.
Like they say at Amira, why not make every day special with Amira Basmati rice.