11 Sep 2018





Gokul Foods, based in the heart of Leicester, is a fast-growing, family-owned food business specialising in Nylon Patta Gathiya and thought to be the only company in the UK to provide this authentic and original taste of a Gujarati breakfast known as farsan*. The business has taken advantage of advice and support through the Collaborate for Growth project.

Gokul Foods specialise in pure vegetarian catering for a range of events from small family parties to elaborate weddings. The business had a modest beginning, established in 2005 by Bhavna Rajpra and her husband Jayendra Rajpra in the kitchen of their rented home. It was Bhavna’s passion and intuition for creating delicious food, together with the support of her husband and their three children, which has led to a business that now runs from a fully-functioning factory employing from four to 30 people over the busy wedding season, 12 years later.

They have also introduced a more sustainable and competitive frozen food and packaged farsan range to their portfolio of products.

From small beginnings to an established UK brand their reputation is built on their commitment to consistently delivering quality food and service.

Business Manager and daughter, Rajal said: “Once we had established strong roots and customers it was important for us that we expanded and that we did this with sustainability. The challenge was that we needed to be more versatile and to access the right opportunities, it was important to have recognised food standard agency procedures. This would make us more attractive as a supplier and enable us to approach other established food businesses. We were a small fish in a big pond and needed guidance.”

The Collaborate business support project was recommended to Rajal by their Environmental Health Officer. With support from Collaborate partner, the Food and Drink Forum, they achieved their HACCP system. HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) is a system that helps food business operators look at how they handle food and introduces procedures to make sure the food produced is safe to eat.

They now have an everyday process that is not only a legal document but also makes it easy to explain their processes to potential clients.

Rajal continued: “With this support, we have had quick results and having the required processes in place we were able to expand further and introduce our frozen food range. This would not have been possible without Collaborate.”

She added: “As a small business it’s very difficult to have the resources and opportunities for growth readily available. Expert advice and knowledge is paramount in the success of a business. It creates a domino effect in the long term with sustainable growth which financially allows job creation and expansion opportunities to then put back into the community.

“Collaborate is a great way of allowing small businesses to thrive and be supported that would otherwise probably just struggle along and miss opportunities. We had such positive results I have already recommended the support available to other businesses who can also benefit and grow.”

Gokul Foods is going from strength-to-strength and will be looking to create three new jobs as well as working with larger production organisations. The goal is to grow further and to provide vegetarian frozen food nationally as well as to build Gokul Foods as a brand.

Joanne Sharman, Collaborate Business Coordinator at the Food and Drink Forum said: “Our technical team have a wealth of knowledge and experience and can provide a range of free support for food and drink manufacturers including labelling, nutritional analysis, shelf life issues as well as HACCP implementation. The team are really pleased Gokul Foods are doing so well and the support we provided has enabled the business to continue to grow.”

Collaborate for Growth is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and partners Leicester City Council (lead partner), Leicestershire County Council, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) and the Food and Drink Forum.

* Crispy snacks, often deep-fried, originally made by people in India’s most western state of Gujarat

Register here to find out if you are eligible for free support from Collaborate.

Read the story on the Leicester Mercury website here.

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