Uttar Pradesh trader’s tobacco-free organic beedi in great demand overseas
An Uttar Pradesh entrepreneur is manufacturing and marketing tobacco-free organic bidi, which is now in high demand overseas, taking his family’s decades-old bidi business upmarket.
With no advertisements and solely banking on trust built over years and bonding of his foreign customers, Adil Masood, a middle-aged entrepreneur, decided to exclusively market this unique organic bidi with the brand name ‘Favourite Leaf’ almost two years ago.
The idea was liked by the foreign smokers and within a short span of two years, his organic bidi export to the USA and European countries, including Poland and Switzerland, started fetching a revenue of over Rs 1.5 crore annually.
The product, claims Adil, received an overwhelming response from foreign customers. “Now we are planning to extend its export to the entire Europe and a few other countries,” he said.
These organic bidis, says Adil, are free of tobacco and nicotine with no additives and are sometimes stuffed with an Ayurvedic mixture which is also 100 per cent tobacco-free, with some medicinal values to clear the throat and relieve cough symptoms.
Adill’s family has been in the trade of manufacturing bidi for over five decades. His father late Masood Ali and uncle Islam Ahmad started it and ran it as a traditional trade. Adil took over the business almost six years ago after the death of his uncle. “I didn’t dare to bring changes in the traditional trading of my uncle and father. But after their death I made up my mind to try something new and innovative to give the trade a new dimension and the idea of organic bidi came up. I launched it in the overseas markets after carrying out research on its demand and requirement for over three years,” he said.
Traditionally in India, says Adil, tendu leaves were used to roll bidis but he searched for a leaf with a more cosmetic look, greenish, thin and durable, to replace the rough and rustic look of the tendu leaf. After a hunt of over two years, he finally found the leaf he was looking for and started using it. “For these leaves, we cultivate the plants in Tamil Nadu and other southern states. Bidis rolled out with these leaves attract overseas smokers because of their slick looks,” he said.
His research team also decided to replace synthetic filters with organic ones made of leaves of a plant found in abundance in northern states (he requested to not disclose the names of the plants). A thin thread is used for fixing filters instead of using gum.
“All these initiatives were taken to make the product more authentic,” he said.
Some brands of organic bidi are also being sold in India by online shopping companies, but Adil claims all these brands came after the launch of his brand overseas two years ago.
Because of duplicacy issues he had avoided launching his brand in the domestic market yet, he added.
Those who were in the bidi trade or smoked bidi, he continued, could easily differentiate between his product and copied brands.
“They are still using traditional tendu leaves, which we replaced with new and more authentic leaves. So the difference between the finishing of our original product and its copy is easily discernible.
“Our research team is still working to bring more changes in the product as per the requirement of the customers and our efforts to give them the best would continue,” he said.