08 Jan 2021 16:04 IST

India Gate, steaming ahead with premium quality

Tracing its origins to 1889, the world's largest rice millers export to nearly 82 countries

India Gate is named after the famous architectural monument in New Delhi, featuring its photo prominently on the face of its pack. It is a basmati product and the flagship brand of KRBL Ltd. The company was founded by two brothers Khushi Ram and Behari Lal in 1889 at Lyallpur, Faisalabad, now in Pakistan. It was a flourishing enterprise that started out with wheat, cotton, and oil, as the main business.

The partition of 1947 saw the business shifted to Naya Bazar, Lahori Gate, New Delhi. The company’s focus changed to rice in the 1970s. Having consolidated its position, it started exporting to international markets in 1985. In 1992, a basmati processing plant — the largest in India — was set up in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, exclusively for exports.

How it began

The very next year, KRBL Ltd. was registered as a public listed company. Even as it received awards for its export performance, towards the end of the decade, it launched its brands ‘India Gate’ and ‘Doon’ in the domestic market. Innovations, acquisitions, and pioneering concepts like contract farming followed. In 2003, KRBL became the first company to receive FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in the Indian rice industry.

KRBL’s product range covers about 20 brands. Its power plants are located across seven states in India. Its R&D unit has rice professionals to focus on quality, developing new seed varieties and ageing processes, technology for improving harvesting methods, and adapting advanced rice-making technologies from around the world to Indian conditions. It has associated with Pusa Institute for developing improved basmati strains (Pusa 1121), Buhler for process and machine improvement, and IARI for testing quality.

Delivering quality

Today, KRBL is a market leader, exporting its products to around 82 countries worldwide. The company takes its reputation for delivering immaculate quality consistently very seriously. It follows several steps to ensure this, such as seed development (preserving and enriching genetic integrity, researching and developing pedigree seeds); contract farming (seed distribution, sourcing advise, sowing and transplanting guidelines, seminars of pre- and post-harvesting management to farmers); procurement (selecting the best paddy each season, testing for moisture content, and head rice yield ); and ageing (from 1 to 2.5 years, with the two colour pyramid logo on the top left corner of the pack guaranteeing that at the time of purchase a consumer is buying minimum one year aged rice.)

It has a fully equipped warehousing capacity to store 6,00,000 metric tonnes of rice/paddy with full protection against moisture, humidity and any type of infestation. Milling, processing, packaging, branding and marketing are all handled with the same attention to detail. Its total revenue for the financial year 2019-20 was about ₹4,520 crore.

The company holds various certifications for quality, hygiene and safety, and management like the ISO 9001: 2000, SGS HACCP (Food safety management and product quality), SQF 2000 (Safe Quality Food), USFDA and BRC Food (for meeting global standards in food safety and quality). The company makes the proud claim that it is the world’s largest rice miller and basmati rice exporter on every pack.

Sensible advertising

The brand advertises on both online and offline platforms. Its advertisements focus on the quality of its product, especially its ‘ageing’ and its relevance and significance to practically everything, be it a family meal, a festival for gifting, or an occasion like Mother’s Day (#MomFirst). It even took on a tradition with the campaign urging people to donate rice customarily thrown as a blessing for the newly-weds at marriages. It pointed out that the simple gesture of packaging and donating the rice would benefit millions of poor Indians.

It recently released a TVC with the tagline ‘India ki puraani aadatein laut aayi hain’ where families celebrate togetherness, rounding off the nostalgic journey with its recognised ‘India ki puraani aadat’ baseline.






Giving back to society

KRBL is in close touch with farmers and their families, conducting monthly workshops that provide information on latest farming techniques, modern machinery and equipment, improved seeds and fertilisers, and advanced cultivation methods. This mutually beneficial interaction is the reason it has strong relations with more than 85,000 farmers, an association that extends across generations.


#UmeedHainHum initiative   -  indiagatefoods.com



During the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, India Gate has undertaken the massive task of providing nutritious food to orphanages, leprosy centres, old age homes, and needy families across 140 cities under its #UmeedHainHum initiative. It also conducted food distribution drives at Vrindavan for widows and in Mumbai for dabbawalas and TV staff.

KRBL has shown its commitment to the environment by generating and meeting all its own power requirements. Its 14 MW power plant uses rice husk to produce renewable, non-conventional power. The surplus power is supplied to the Punjab State Electricity board (PSEB). It reportedly earns almost ₹1 crore per year through carbon credits.

KRBL has won a slew of awards across packaging, exports, quality and consumer preference. It is one of the recipients of World’s Greatest Brands and Leaders 2015 (Asia & GCC Awards). It received the prestigious APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Foods Exports Development Authority) Award, instituted by Ministry of Commerce, for 13 consecutive years in a row. Consumer World Awards awarded it the title of ‘Mera brand’, India’s most preferred brand in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. It also holds the Guinness World Record for producing the world’s heaviest bag of rice of 550 kgs in 2016.