Kochi, June 17: Amid a plethora of bottled water in the market, products of a Kerala-based startup stand out for not just their variety flavours but medicinal plants that energise the body beyond quenching thirst. The company from upstate Malappuram district is attracting delegates at the ongoing Vyapar 2022 in this city with what the entrepreneurs claim is the first ‘herbal water’ manufactured in Kerala.

Infused with therapeutic ingredients from flora, the herbal water infuses the aromatic krishna tulsi (holy basil) and black cumin (karinjeerakam or kala jeera), according to volunteers of the Manjeri-based Aparma Beverages attending the June 16-18 business-to-business meet being organized chiefly by the Kerala Department of Industries and Commerce.

Developed by the 2019-founded firm’s professional R&D team, the IS0-certified product comes out of the factory after nine stages of international-level quality check. The product also undergoes a string of tests on pH level which measures the acidity of water, points out Ahammed Shabeerali, owner and Managing Director of the company. Aparma’s bottles, which are available in sizes of 400, 750 and 1,000 litres, bear flavours of orange, strawberry and blueberry depending on the fruit that goes into the product.

The company also manufactures ‘nutrient water’ with calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc besides amla (gooseberry) extract. A third variety is ‘flavoured water’ which has categories in orange, peach, cucumber, blueberry, lemon, mint, strawberry and watermelon. There is also ‘sports water’, infused with electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride. Besides, the company brings out ‘alkaline water’ that has pH level higher than that of plain water.

 The Vyapar expo has 300 stalls showcasing Kerala’s MSME products. The event, open to the public from 11 a.m. till 8 p.m., aims to boost the MSMEs, kindle investor interest and highlight the role of micro, small and medium enterprises in the economic growth.

When a 2015 study found that half of the country’s jackfruits goes waste, a team of prospective entrepreneurs in Kerala chose to come together. In Kerala, as one-third of the tropical fruit went unused, the government declared jackfruit the state’s official fruit in March 2018.

Against this backdrop was formed a WhatsApp group named Chakkakkoottam. Its members began initiative ways to make better use of the fibre-rich fruit, proven to have medicinal effect on diabetics. In September 2021, they floated company by the same name: Chakkakkoottam International Private Limited.The enterprise, based in an eastern belt of Ernakulam district, manufactures six varieties of jackfruit products: the raw fruit fried, ripe fruit fried, dried jackfruit, powder jam and halwa.

The fried products are air-fried, thus avoiding oil and ensuring better health, informs Ashok Ramanchirangara, Managing Director of Chakkakkoottam at Pattimattom, 25 km northeast of Kochi. “The past five years have been good time for jackfruit, which is available all months of year except November and December,” he says. “Jackfruits in Kerala mature first in Thiruvananthapuram, heralding the season. The last bunches ripen in the hills of Idukki, making the fruit available for sale even up till October.”Jackfruit products are finding increasing market both across the country and abroad, according to Chakkakkoottam.

Even as Kerala remains the lead grower of rubber milk in the country, the southern state has of late been finding sluggish growth in the manufacture of products related to elastic substance. Against this backdrop comes the gym mat, lending fresh hope to the industry.Varied kinds of rubber mats keep hitting the market, but the health-related among them are gaining attraction. The yoga-gym mat is the chief item among them, available for domestic as well as commercial use.

When the variety product is available at costly rates, Conso in Kottayam district sells gym mates at affordable prices. The three-decade-old company at Chingavanam brings out the mat in four squares of one metre and half-a-metre. The pieces can be interlocked and have an anti-slip finish. Also producing rolling mats, the products have fluorescent paints that earn it light at night. The products are available at widths of 6, 8 and 10 mm.

“We get a lot of online enquiries; our products are in demand across the country and abroad,” says its owner Thobias. “We also produce the necessary rubber threads. ”Conso, which is run by the third generation of family-owned business, comes out with ten-odd products, the major among them being stable mats, cow mats and rubber-paving tiles. “We rely on diversification for growth,” adds Thobias. “Daily-use products merit international standards. We must not forget that domestic market is as important as international.”

Yoga mats made of Ayurvedic herbs are a big hit ahead of the International Day of Yoga, which falls on June 21, at Vyapar 2022, owing to its therapeutic effect of reducing skin diseases and rashes.The exhibition stall of handwoven yoga and meditation mats, which are made after dyeing threads in a concoction of seven herbs, drew the attention of the delegates at the three-day B2B event that opened today at Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium Ground in the city. Organised by the Department of Industries and Commerce, the B2B meet is a targeted drive to tap the national market for a wide range of products from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

At the meet, many buyers from across the country evinced keen interest in creating a tie-up and know more about the endeavour of Ayurvastra Textiles Private Limited, which is based at Balaramapuram in Thiruvananthapuram. “There has been a demand for bedsheets and other products, but in recent times there are inquiries for Ayurvedic yoga mats from abroad,” said Adarsh M P, General Manager of the firm. “Considering their medicinal benefits, various handloom-made Ayurvedic fabrics, including baby wears, bedsheets, pillow covers and towels are popular in European countries. We are exporting yoga mats and also dress materials dyed in Ayurvedic herbal mixture to countries like Austria, Denmark, US, Holland and Brazil,” he added.

According to him, the fabrics dipped in Ayurvedic herbal concoction are getting numerous enquiries as they can reduce skin diseases and rashes. The company purchases herbs from Kottur in Thiruvananthapuram. Shri Adarsh informed that three types of turmeric are used for creating yellow colour, besides tulsi, gall nut and leaves of mango tree for getting certain other colours for fabrics, including khadi, linen and handlooms.