Mahbir Thukral receives his award at the Gulfood Innovation Awards

Coventry food entrepreneur scoops prestigious award after successful first year in business

A hugely successful first year for a Coventry food start-up specialising in saffron infused treats has been rounded-off with a prestigious international award win.

Mahbir Premium Indian Saffron, based in Leamington Road, Coventry, recently unveiled two new products using ‘the world’s most expensive spice’ and collected a much coveted prize at the Middle East’s biggest food and drink trade show, Gulfood, held in Dubai.

It comes just over one year since the business was launched with no existing network or customer base at the BBC Good Food Show.

Since launching, 31-year-old entrepreneur Mahbir Thukral has been given support from the Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT), based at the Coventry and Warwickshire’s Chamber of Commerce International Trade Hub, which has helped his business expand to the point where it is exporting to five European countries.

It is also selling into top London restaurants and also been personally endorsed by celebrity chef and restaurateur Tony Singh MBE.

Mahbir said: “Our success wouldn’t have been possible without the open-minded, kind-hearted chefs and retailers who believe in the importance of grassroots entrepreneurship and share our passion for introducing new flavours and inspiring user moments.

“But we’ve also been given very practical support by the DIT at the Chamber and that has helped to open up new markets for us. We will continue to look for new openings overseas in order to grow the business.”

Another unique aspect of Mahbir as a business is that it is the first fully traceable saffron on the market and works directly with farmers in Kashmir before sharing information on how it is sourced with customers.

As well as picking up the award at the Gulfood show, Mahbir launched the first ever dark chocolate product to be infused with Indian saffron.

Mr Thukral said: “We were competing against much larger, established brands so this nomination came as a complete shock.

“Just receiving this nomination was an achievement to how far we have come in a short space of time.”

Mahbir will now set up a stand at the Tavola exhibition in Belgium from March 11 to 13 after receiving Department for International Trade support.

Parminder Hayer, International Trade Adviser at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Mahbir Premium Indian Saffron is a unique business and a great example of how investing in high quality, reliable produce can do wonders for a food business.

“Mahbir saw the potential for export and has tapped into the support available here and it has resulted in sales across Europe.

“It is great to see a Coventry business getting recognition around the world and it is an incredible achievement for Mahbir to have had so much success so early into this venture.”

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