Food – nutrition veteran Ulhas Ben has spent over thirty five years in the FMCG industry. She completed her B. Sc. in Home Science (Specialisation in Food and Nutrition) from Mumbai, Maharashtra, and got married. Once settled in marital-life, she decided to commercialise her knowledge- she started her cooking classes in the year 1980. Ulhas Ben’s entrepreneurial-psyche scaled her passion for food to a food production and supply chain. She started off on a small scale- producing masalas, precisely the Indian favourite ‘Chai Masala’ -and, gradually she moved on to a large-scale production line of Indian Spices, Masalas, Pickles, Chips, Wafers and the kids most loved ‘Amla Candy’. Ulhas Ben proudly claims, “I am the first-one to prepare and introduce this ‘Amla Candy’ in Ahmedabad native-market,” -she considers Ahmedabad, India as her ‘Karma Bhoomi’. When asked: as a nutritionist why she introduced ‘Candy’ -she smiles and says, “Candy is just a formation, its ingredients are full of nutritional values.”
“Growing business and bringing up three kids was like walking a tightrope, but I and my husband made it, and in 1989, we launched our outlet by the brand name ‘GUJJU’,” she explains. Ulhas Ben really went all out in the initial years of her career where she participated in many exhibitions organised through The Gujarat Chamber of Commerce. The trust of her customers is paramount to Ulhas Ben. Hence she strictly follows the health and hygeine guidelines and is persistently quality conscious.
Today, Ulhas Ben exports her products to New Zealand, Australia, Canada, UK, USA, and across India as well -if any Gujarati wants to send Indian Masalas, Pickles, or any popular Gujarati-Snacks to his – her NRI relative abroad- the first name that comes up is: Ulhas Ben. Her very acute knowledge about different countries food laws and requisite standards are an astute initiative in building her brand even without using any marketing, or advertising tools.
Winner of Lifetime Achievement Award from a popular Media house, Ulhas Ben’s journey is also compiled into a chapter in the curriculum of the First Year Commerce stream in Jamnagar, Gujarat. She credits her mother and mother-in-law for having taught her more about food and gastronomy. She is always on the move – she loves to innovate and create new delectable recipes. Ulhas Ben has her complete family who supports her in running her business ‘GUJJU’, smoothly.
When asked, “Ulhas Ben, what do you want to say to today’s women? -the last question”. “There’s nothing like ‘last’, everything evolves around daily, a new day – new beginning,” she smiles and continues, “Today’s woman must finalise her goal and enjoy the work- but, do it cautiously – its your way and your act builds the result.”