Darpan’s 10: Q&A WITH GURPREET ARNEJA & VINEET TANEJA OF NANAK FOODS
Was Nanak Foods a business that you started? How and when did you get involved with the company?
Vineet and I started Nanak Foods together in 1997. After doing research, we found that there was a void in the local market for Indian dairy products. We both took a trip to India to learn the process of making paneer and soon after opened a 2000 square foot facility. Paneer was our first product and today, we would like Nanak Foods to become the number one consumer’s brand of choice!
How does the word “Nanak” relate to your company’s vision?
Our company’s main goal or motive is to make the most authentic and pure product hence we couldn’t think of a better name that reflects purity than ‘Nanak’. The word ‘Nanak’ means ‘Pure’ and so our seal reads ‘Symbol of Purity’.
Is this the first business you’ve been involved with?
This is the first business Vineet and I have been involved in as partners. Vineet brings his experience from operation management and human resources. I’ve owned and operated my own businesses in the past, gaining experiences in marketing, technical support, diagnostics, and processing.
As Owner of the company, can you share some of the responsibilities you have?
To run this type of business, we have numerous responsibilities. We have to make sure product quality is maintained, and that the demand and supply chain is extremely efficient. Also, making sure our products are available everywhere is key. We keep consumers informed of Nanak products by advertising and participating in community events. Marketing our products around the world is an on-going process.
In the time you have been with Nanak Foods, how has the company grown?
We have a core team of individuals who have been crucial to our company’s growth. Their knowledge and experience in specific fields has enabled our company to become what it is today. Ongoing research and development has also played a key role in our success. We are using state-of-the-art production equipment and are continually improving our technology. Thanks to the consumer’s acceptance of our products, our company has grown exponentially.
Nanak Foods has been recognized and awarded for excellence in food production. Can you speak about some of the awards you’ve recently won?
In October 2011, Nanak’s Ras Malai won the “Top Innovative Product” at Anuga, the world’s largest food show in Germany. We have been recipients of the BC Exports Award in 2007 and 2009 for Agriculture and Primary Products. In 2003, Nanak Foods was awarded “Best Manufacturer” from the Ethno Business Council. We were also finalists for the Surrey Business Excellence awards, the Cultural Diversity Award in 2004, and the BC Exports Award in 2003.
What are some of your favourite and/or most innovative products?
Ras Malai is the favorite by far. Paneer and Alu Tikki also top our favorites list! Our main focus and clientele are people of South Asian origin. With Indian and vegetarian foods becoming more popular, people from the mainstream are picking up and enjoying our products.
What advice you can share with youth interested in pursuing a career in business?
“Success is a journey, not a destination.” Every goal we set, we have to use our vision and imagination to think of new ways to solve problems. We’re always thinking outside of the box. There are no shortcuts, and everyone knows hard work and persistence pays off. Running a business requires perseverance, commitment, and a lot of hard work.
How does your company give back to the community?
Nanak Foods has been a regular contributor to The BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Nanak Foods has also played a key role in the development of the first two batches of “CIBO”, food for malnourished children. Our team volunteered it’s time to make this product and it was sent to Haiti and North Korea. In addition, we are contributors to the Mamta Foundation, which supports the “Unique Home” orphanage for girls in India. Recently, we donated food to the World Food Day awareness campaign at Kwantlen College and are also involved with the South Asian Family Association
Who inspires you and why?
Both of us have similar inspiration from our fathers. Our fathers have extremely hard-working and disciplined natures, and we have learned everything from them.