A new food revolution - Healthy, tasty, home-made meals tossed up in a minute
Y-Cook! is an innovative food technology startup based out of Bangalore and have developed and mastered the art of extending the shelf life of food without any additives or preservatives. We have just launched a full range of minimally processed foods like lentils, fruits and vegetables. i.e., a range of packaged food that is just boiled naturally without any additives or preservatives and can be stored in normal room temperature without refrigeration for up to one year. No more planning, washing, soaking or boiling, now you can just open a packet of boiled Kabuli Chana anytime you wish and toss out a dish. In today’s fast paced world having the choice of healthy and tasty home-made food that can be tossed up in minutes offers the ultimate kitchen convenience.
You may wonder “How is it possible to get the shelf life of cooked products to one year in normal room temperature without any additives or preservatives?” The answer is very simple - There are three things for food to get spoilt, first is microbes, second is air which provides a favorable medium for microbes to grow and third is the temperature. Unlike frozen food where the temperature is the variable controlled, we have worked on controlling the other two components. When we boil the food, microbes get killed and we create a vacuum in the pack and remove all the air, so if there are no microbes and no air food will not get spoilt. But once you open the pack, it is as good as cooked food at home, you have to refrigerate and consume within 24 hours. To enable this we have extensively worked on two parameters, i) the food processing technology – how to minimally process the food using natural cooking methods so their nutritional quality is enhanced and ii) Packaging technology - technology behind packing the food such that it can retain its goodness. This is indeed a revolution in the food space especially given that in country like India, the food that is produced never reaches the consumers. World Economic Forum report states that 40% of India’s food produce goes waste. Such wastage not only leads to increased food prices but also affects the entire food ecosystem. If we were to scale this technology and even reduce the wastage by a couple of percentages, it would immensely benefit our country. This technology would also be a boon for relief measures in calamity struck areas as the products can be stored in ambient temperature for one year.
YCook range of products under the brand name Ta-daa! are - Boiled sweet corn cobs, Boiled Kabuli Chana, Boiled Rajma, Boiled Tuvar Dal, Boiled Baby Potatoes, Boiled Sweet Potatoes, Boiled Tapioca and Boiled Baby Corn. All these would be available in most of the modern retail chains across India shortly. With an entire range of boiled food, this would be a new category in the food space, the space of minimally processed foods.
As we take our products to the consumers, our promise to them is twofold.
i) The first one is to take away the tedium from the kitchen as much as possible without taking away the women’s magic in cooking, so we created the most versatile and customizable packaged food ever. We just give you boiled ingredients, say boiled Tuvar Dal, it’s the women’s magic and love that she can transforms it into a sambar, dal tadka or soup. The women know the taste of the family the best, so we left the last mile in the food to her magic.
ii) The second is to create healthy and natural food so that the women can feed the family with contentment
At YCook, quality is not a choice but the way of working and quality can only be ensured if we start where it all begins - the seed and soil. Hence apart from mastering the food technology, YCook! has worked towards building a full-fledged and effective backward integration with farmers, specifically small farmers with landholdings of less than three acres. Our short term goal is that a farmer with one acre of land should get atleast one lakh rupees a year. The backbone of the company is the farmers and we realize this and have made a good strong foundation in backend integration with farmers. The company invests in soil testing for every farmer who would like to partner with YCook. An in-house team of agriculture experts then assess the aptness of the soil for the different crops and also counsel the farmer on the soil nutrient requirement and hence the fertilizer requirement. The seeds are procured by the company and the company has centralized nurseries in different locations from where the saplings are given to the farmer free of cost. This ensures that only the best variety of crop is sown and also favourable for the farmer as we absorb the seed/sapling cost. The farmers are trained on Global GAP requirements and a spray calendar charted. The fields are monitored and support given to farmers periodically to ensure quality of produce. The outcome of this effort is high quality produce with zero pesticide residue in every produce and thereby meeting the International quality standards. There are also set standards of operations for harvesting and transporting of produce. The fresh produce from the farms are processed within 20 hours of harvest so that it can retain its peak harvest freshness, texture, taste, colour and nutrition. Working closely with the farmers not only ensures quality in the produce but also allows us to help farmers become more conversant in scientific farming methods and thereby creating a sustainable farming environment for generations to come. We are committed to securing our land resources for our future generations in our little locus of operation. We currently work with about 1000 farmers across 4 states and 90% of their farmers are working with them on a continuous basis.
YCook is also a complete cycle company, that is to say from soil to soil everything is managed at YCook. Post harvesting the crop left overs are converted into fodder and supplied to dairy farms and the cow dung from the farms used to create vermi-compost which is supplied back to the farmer. Ensuring that we create this complete cycle company is in line with the company vision of a sustainable crop environment. Our vision is to create technologies to make natural healthy and nutritious food affordable to all and work towards a sustainable food ecosystem for generations to come.