Kochi: The moment one walks into Anne Sajeev’s office, a feeling may emerge that she’s just another entrepreneur very proud of the money she’s making. But, the perception changes the moment she speaks. Anne is all passionate, sentimental and motherly about Aroma Fresh, the corporate social responsibility initiative of Aroma Group of Companies. She has invested her heart and soul in Aroma Fresh chain of supermarkets which sells safe-to-eat, organic products.
Anne Sajeev has invested her heart and soul in Aroma Fresh chain of supermarkets which sells safe-to-eat, organic products
A mother of two, Anne, whenever she refers to Aroma Fresh, stresses the need to educate mothers about the importance of providing safe food to children. Aroma Fresh was started four years ago after realising how lifestyle issues were affecting children. “Food we consume is impregnated with harmful chemicals like pesticides, fungicides and herbicides during cultivation. Another major threat is chemicals applied during storage and those used in food processing like preservatives and other additives,” says Anne.
Closely associated and involved with the paediatric division of Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Anne says it was very difficult to see the children suffer and it was then that they decided that rather than helping the patients they should try to help society become healthy. “Ailments we hear about in our daily life have a very strong correlation to the food we consume. Children are very sensitive to chemicals in food,” she says.
Efforts to address these issues led Anne to formulate a business model of providing a complete range of food products from the farm to the table without any chemicals. It is a unique project where Aroma Fresh maintains outlets, selling points and logistics department with a fleet of refrigerated vehicles and cold rooms.
“Pesticides and chemicals in food have become such a huge problem today that you cannot eat all that is available in the market,” says Anne. “Everything we sell is 100 per cent chemical and pesticide free. We are the reason for the revolution that is now happening in Kerala wherein people are talking about the increasing use of pesticides, adulteration in food and need for engaging in organic farming,” says Anne.
Aroma Fresh started growing fruits and vegetables initially at their 7,000-sq. mt. poly house in Kollam and at 100 acres of open precision farm at Gundulpet in Karnataka. “A paddy field near Kollam, which we took on lease, has been taking care of our organic rice requirements for the last three years. Besides, we have associated with farms and farmers’ groups in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu,” says Anne.
In addition to food products, Aroma makes soaps, dish washers, cleansers, natural cosmetics – all matching with the healthy concept the company propagates.