Shimla, Oct 7 : Himachal Pradesh, also renowned as apple bowl of India, offers tremendous potential for fruit and vegetable based food industry.
State's youth are coming forward to set up new apple-based packaging and food processing units in HP. Engineering student, Mr Ashish Sithta of Kathaso village of Jubbal and Kotkhai area, known for high-quality apples, has become a role model for 11 lakh employed youths of this hill state.
Mr Sithta said during state-level apple festival held from September 27 to 29 at historic Gaiety Theatre that he was manufacturing three brand of apple chips under Drapplez trade mark in his one-year-old factory. Drapplez is becoming popular with youngsters and adults.
Mr Sitha said, "Recently passed out as engineering graduate, I set up a food processing unit in 2000 sq ft industrial plot at Shoghi outskirts of this capital town in year 2018 by taking credit of Rs 25 lakh." He said that M/sAce Health bites is Himachal Apple based industrial unit which manufactures original flavour (Sada Apple salts chips), Zesty (Flavour)Green Chilly-Pudina Apple) and Tangy Flavour (Kheta Lemon Apple).Apple used to manufacture the chips is of medium size as 500 apple boxes each having 25 kg weights are used as the raw material every year. Mr Sitha said that his unit offers employment opportunities to 25 people for six to eight months.'I am using 50 percent apples of my orchard which is located at Jubbal. However, rest 250 boxes are purchased from the open market,' he said.
The processing plant takes one hour to make the product which includes washing, slicing, drying, and packing.
He used e-commerce companies such as Amazon and Flipkart for marketing the product online. Retailers are getting order of 500 packets daily as about 70 per cent products are sold through online retailers and 39 pc through retailers, he added.
Three retailer outlets are also providing the apple chips in Shimla town including M/s Hemrajgandamall on Mall road and Himachal dry fruit at Lakkar Bazar. State sector Himachal Pradesh Processing and Marketing Corporation (HPPMC) is the first apple and fruit processing unit in the state which produces apple concentrate, jam, pickles and juice, besides a number of products. Apple is considered the backbone of the hill economy of the state.(UNI)