Veg, vegan food auditing firm Sattvik Certifications set to expand its footprint abroad further

Sattvik Certifications, which endorses vegetarian and vegan foods, in India and abroad will soon begin its certification process in Australia, while it is in the process of expanding its operations in Thailand, Canada and the US, the company’s founder Abhishek Biswas has said.

“We have approached the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Thailand, Canada and the US. The process is already on,” said Biswas, who began his journey in the certification 15 years ago, in an online interaction with businessline.

Sattvik is already operating in Singapore, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates. It began functioning in India a year ago and has 150 customers, with almost all brands such as Taj, ITC and Hyatt. 

Abhishek Biswas, Founder, Sattvik Certifications

Certification for airlines

“We have already approached the Thai FDA. We are talking to them.  They are very particular, especially about the food products… I think that by March next we should be operating in Thailand,” he said. 

The company will also look at certifying vegan and vegetarian foods provided by airlines soon by launching talks in Singapore. 

The objective of launching Sattvik, which means balanced food, is for the 1.9 billion-odd vegans and vegetarians in the world to follow a specific logo that will help them understand the product.  “For vegans and vegetarians only green and red signs are indicators. And a lot of countries don’t even follow this. For a vegetarian who’s travelling in Europe, the biggest problem is food,” he said, adding that even vegan products don’t have a logo now. 

Industry-specific manuals

Vegans and vegetarians can look for the Sattvik logo and probably eat such products. “This was the entire intention for me to start up this certification. In 2014, I came back to India and started this  officially. Before that, it was all my research,” Biswas said. 

The company’s founder has done a lot of research years ahead of launching his certification. “We have actually developed seven manuals. While creating the first, I realised that the industry is big and it has to cater to specific manuals. All our manuals are industry-specific,” he said. 

Sattvik Certification has partners such as Bureau Veritas, a 200-year-old company, which sells its certificate. Other such partners include DNV and UL of Canada. It has been approved by the Bureau of India Standards. 

It has certified kitchens in ITC, Hyatt and Taj. “Almost 12,000 meals today are having my stickers of food safety certified from the base kitchen of Delhi, which is almost all the trains from North India. In Delhi, all Durantos, Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains carry my sticker because all the time the food is audited by one of my people there. It means that it’s 100 per cent vegetarian,” Biswas said, adding that North India’s biggest bottling plant of mineral water variety is one of his certified companies. 

Touch certification process

Having established itself, Sattvik Certification has Singapore as its headquarters for South-East Asia with its Indonesia operations being launched two months ago. “The Indonesian government has recognised us for the certification of vegan and vegetarian,” Biswas said.  

Getting the company’s certification is not easy. “It is hard and critical. It is at par with ISO 22000 certification when we certify a kitchen,” he said, adding that the process helps the kitchen to attain balance on how it makes its food. 

Sattvik management of food dates back 5,000 years ago from the Vedas. Stating that the certification has nothing to do with religion, he said it is all about a person finding the logo that indicates the food is safe to eat. 

Recently, Sattvik Certifications did a manual for Buddhism with the Dalai Lama blessing the founder for his efforts. “Basically, we are the first to do something like that,” he said, adding that the certification means no animal product or meat used in the products. 

2% food safety

The certification process involves an entire unit and not a single product. “India’s top three vegan companies, including Blue Tribe and Good dot, are certified by us. We certified by testing the entire facility where the product is made,” he said.

The company actually goes to the site to see how products are made, including what is being used. There are quite a few parameters, including the stipulation that there should not be any slaughterhouse or dirt canals near the unit, Biswas said. 

Bootstrapped till now, Sattvik Certifications may go in for funding next fiscal. “There are a lot of changes happening. So probably we will get funded by 2024, March, maybe. Our current valuation is almost 130 crore,” the company’s founder said.  

On certification’s importance, he said there was only 2 per cent food safety in the country. “So, there is a lot of gap and lag between the food safety issues in India,” he said. 

To popularise the concept of safe food, Biswas said his company has set up incubation centres and centres of excellence in three International Hotel Management Institutes. It is also present in Vishwakarma Skill University in Haryana’s Palwal, he said, adding that food safety analysts and food safety lead auditor programmes are being launched. 

Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.