When someone says Maharashtrian cuisine, the first image that pops to mind might be of Puran Poli or Thalipeeth. But they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to food. Incorporating a number of ingredients that range from millets like jowar and bajri to a medley of special spices, the cuisine offers a complex journey of flavours. Most importantly, it focuses on highlighting vegetables and nutrition and is a more economical affair rather than being a particularly bougie cuisine.
When a based out of Mumbai came across a collection of women-led self-help groups that were making Maharashtrian cuisine, they were blown away by the quality of each product. Using authentic techniques and the best ingredients, the food they were making was nothing short of exceptional. The women of this self-help group were those who’d turn to the business to deal with adversities and challenges that they’ve faced in their personal lives and wanted a reliable source of income. But for all the work that they put into these products, the returns were much lower.
This is how Aazol as a brand began. Apurva and Siddharth Purohit wanted to do their part in helping these self-help groups to create a and supply chain that could help their handmade, small-batch products to reach a wider audience. As an established businesswoman with veritable experience in the corporate world, Apurva brought her wealth of experience in setting up and scaling ventures to the table when it came to Aazol. Proudly claiming that he takes after his mother, Siddharth was once a management consultant with a global organisation. But today, he brings his management acumen to the Aazol brand by heading up its sales, marketing and digital operations.
Owing to their singular focus on Maharashtrian cuisine, Aazol is also an attempt to contemporise and popularise its flavours and techniques to a wider customer base. From Soft Coconut Chikki which they call India’s original energy bar, to Malvani Chicken Masala which is made and sourced from the Konkan region of Maharashtra — the variety of products available under the Aazol label is wide-ranging. In addition to pre-made products, they also sell a myriad of ingredients such as Unpolished Indrayani Rice which is sourced from a collective of natural farmers in the tribal belt of Kasare in the Dhule district of Maharashtra.
Working with women-led self-help groups to farming and small business collectives that range across the state, Aazol is part of a necessary movement in highlighting and preserving traditional culinary knowledge. Currently, Aazol works with 17 self groups and each of them employs between 2-200 women. These rural collectives can assist by financially supporting families and creating more employment opportunities in their he organisation works by sourcing authentic products from multiple self-help groups across the state at fair prices; curating them, checking them for quality and then packaging and marketing them using their established national and international reach.
The brand is dedicated to being an organisation that is compliant with universal environmental, social, and governance standards and ensures that the products are wholesome, sourced from those who make or farm the products sustainably and are a healthy choice for their customers. What truly sets Aazol apart is its dedication to and giving credit where it is due. For each product that they curate and sell under the Aazol label, the story of its provenance and that of the people that make it are included.
If you’d like to learn more about Aazol, stay tuned to their Instagram .
You can explore Aazol’s range of products via their website .
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