Discover How a Health Crisis Started a Culinary Adventure with 'Just Half Spoon'

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Bengaluru (India), July 10 : One man's journey took an unexpected turn from the digital sphere to the aromatic world of Indian spices. This is the story of Raghunath, a former IT professional whose life experiences led him to create "Just Half Spoon," a brand that's redefining the art of spice blending in India.

For 16 years, Raghunath worked in the IT industry, savoring intellectual stimulation and professional success. "The industry offered a sense of stability and purpose," Raghunath reflects. His wife, Ramya, was a constant source of support, and together they navigated life's complexities with optimism. 

Challenges mounted in 2002 when Raghunath's mother was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. Witnessing their struggles, Raghunath began reevaluating his own health. 

Then, in 2006, their world saw a turn of events. It was discovered that Ramya had renal carcinoma. The news was life-altering, but Ramya handled it with courage. She underwent surgery and several grueling follow-up procedures over the next five years. Raghunath recounts, "Her courage throughout this period was truly inspiring." 

In 2013, Raghunath was struck by severe arthritis, a condition attributed to a combination of factors like dehydration and lack of sunlight. "The pain was excruciating," Raghunath remembers. Consultations were held, but the cause was still unknown. This, coupled with the limitations imposed by his condition, led him to make a difficult decision – leaving the familiar world of IT in 2014. 

The following years tested Raghunath's resolve. Recovering from the severe pain took time and dedication. He adopted healthier habits, including improved hydration and increased sun exposure. A turning point came from a 500 km cycling expedition and several hikes. "These adventures restored my confidence in my physical abilities," Raghunath shares. 

In 2016, driven by a desire to forge a new route, Raghunath launched an eatery named "South Ruchis Square" with a friend. This place was partly an organic eatery offering healthy and delectable fare. 

"We realized health depends on a holistic approach – good food, quality sleep, exercise, and mental well-being," Raghunath explains. They aimed to share this philosophy with their customers. 

In 2019, Raghu and Ramya started Satkriti Saatvik after exiting an earlier venture.

However, the pandemic threw a curveball. Keeping the restaurant afloat demanded innovation. One such solution was using a combi oven, streamlining operations with a reduced staff. During this period, there was another creative moment. They froze roasted spices to keep them from spoiling when they had a brief shortage of spices. The outcome? The crystallization of spice oils resulted in an improved flavor. Customers adored it! 

This accidental discovery became the seed for their next venture – NRV Foods, founded in 2021. The brand aimed to develop high-quality masala powders using a novel cold grinding process. 

"We opted for a custom-built solution to understand each stage and optimize the process," Raghunath explains. This ensured quality and kept costs in check, a benefit passed on to their customers.

Stringent hygiene protocols and packaging using food-grade aluminum foil ensured the freshness and quality of their products – "Just Half Spoon," a line of masala powders that married traditional recipes with modern technology. 

"From the highs of a successful IT career to the lows of personal challenges and entrepreneurial hurdles, I've learned that perseverance is key," Raghunath reflects.

Now, they are seeking investors who share their vision to transform Just Half Spoon into a global brand.

This article is part of a featured content programme.
Published 10 July 2024, 11:04 IST

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