The State Plate – India’s Top Marketplace for Regional Food

The State Plate

Before Covid-19 struck, undergraduate classmates Raghav Jhawar and Muskaan Sancheti were ready to jump into the corporate world with their recently secured campus placements. But the pandemic played spoilsport and their hirings were put on hold. That period of lull turned into entrepreneurial inspiration when one day in May, Muskaan’s family ran out of traditional Rajasthani papad. “I’m a Marwari,” she says. “And if you’re one, then you know we’re talking about a major crisis here.” In the midst of the lockdown, her family tried procuring authentic papads. They got it but only after much hassle and overpaying for delivery. That sparked an idea for Muskaan who immediately called up Raghav. 

“Soon, we realised that we weren’t the only ones with this problem. Multiple people around us wanted to get their hands on authentic, local food products but didn’t know where to get it from. The market was simply too unorganised,” Muskaan said. The 21-year-old duo got together to start The State Plate, an online delivery service that procures authentic regional delicacies from various parts of the country that usually won’t be available in supermarkets and mainstay e-commerce websites 

The State Plate aims to bring a little bit of home back to people through their indigenous food, and at the same, create awareness and celebrate the country’s amazing food diversity. 

It’s a simple design. The startup finds vendors for regional food items, tests out their product and then gets them on board. When an order is placed on the website, it facilitates the delivery and charges the vendor a fixed percentage on the sales. 

And whether it is Induben’s Khakhras from Gujarat, Subbama’s Nippattu from Bengaluru or Rajgira Laddoos from Maharashtra, the duo tries them all out before selecting the vendors. 

“For homemade products, we sample each of the products before listing them on the website to ensure quality and taste. We also set packaging guidelines to ensure that the packets are sealed and moisture-proof,” Raghav said. 

The State Plate also sells packaged products of iconic local brands like the Parsumal Bhujia from Rajasthan, Mukhorochak from West Bengal or the famous Karachi Bakery biscuits from Hyderabad 

The startup has its own network of delivery people in Bengaluru, where it’s headquartered, while it has tied up with Delhivery for pan-India deliveries. 

The duo started the pilot for The State Plate with just Rs 5,000 and built the website on their own. After that, they were funded by family members and were able to invest more for inventory, web development and marketing. “While we’re open to seeking funding for the business, we feel like this isn’t the right stage in our business to do so,” Muskaan said. 

The bootstrapped startup has a total of 10 personnel working on the venture currently. 

Muskaan said that their startup is also a good way to enable home cooks, particularly women, to sell their delicacies and boost their incomes. “It’s wonderful how food is such a powerful way for women to empower themselves.” 

The startup will now look to expand its product portfolio to include more regional food items and reduce delivery costs. They’re also mulling more long-term goals of expanding to international markets and starting a private label for authentic snacks.

“We still want to complete our masters and get a feel of how the corporate world runs,” Muskaan said.

“As of now, The State Plate is our baby, and we do not plan on giving it up any time soon.”

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