In the Beginning

Gupta
Vijai and Jyoti Gupta on our plant lawn, 2010

JYOTI Natural Foods was founded in the USA in 1979 as a pioneering venture to produce, package and supply high quality, nutritious Indian Foods to all who were familiar with Indian Cuisine; and to introduce the wonderful tastes, aromas, and virtues of Indian home-style cooking to the unfamiliar. There were a handful of Indian Restaurants in the larger cities, but no prepared Indian foods or even ingredients were to be found in supermarkets. We chose ‘shelf stable foods in cans’ to present the exotic foods of India to the customers through specialty foods shops and supermarkets. Whole Foods Market started carrying JYOTI line in 1980 when they were a single store in Austin, TX.

Equipped with a graduate degree in Nutrition, Jyoti developed vegetarian recipes that used only fresh ingredients, reasonable fat and salt quantities, and involved no preservatives. A mini cannery was set up and our R&D was directed to achieve the desired authentic taste in the product coming out of the package, adjusting what went in. After a few product recipes were perfected, production was started using co-packers. An occasional complaint from the customers was that of finding ‘stones’ in the foods like ‘Dal Makhani’ and ‘Punjabi Chhole’. The Co-packer had a well-known state of the art ‘destoner’ for removing stones and cleaning the beans, but its performance was inadequate.

Out of necessity, Vijai invented a radically different but very simple technology for the cleaning of beans that are free from foreign debris like stones, metal, glass and sand and even twigs and stems. With that invention, we decided to build our own food processing plant, using our own technical and financial resources. Since then, we have never had a complaint related to debris in beans and we took full control of our product quality. Today, we make a large variety of Indian foods: shelf stable in cans and retort pouches (Chhole, Sambar, Karhi, Dal Makhani, Saag Paneer, Rogan Josh sauce etc.) and refrigerated and frozen foods (Airline meals for various Airlines, Gulab Jamun, Kheer etc. for Costco and Breads like Naan, Poori, Parantha) and single-serving condiments (Achar and various chutneys).

We make Japanese foods for Delta flights to Japan, and Mediterranean foods for some others. We opened our first restaurant in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia in January 2013 with much of the preparation work like peeling and dicing of vegetables, deboning of chicken etc. done at our plant so cooking on-site is easier.

"Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games." – Babe Ruth

 

Our Mission

  • Produce and package high-quality, nutritious foods for all to enjoy.
  • Make safe, healthy foods that offer pantry storage convenience without preservatives.
  • Increase the portion of vegetables and legumes in every diet with delicious dishes.
  • Introduce the wonderful flavors and virtues of Indian home cooking and spread the aroma of spices from India to every kitchen and every dinner plate.
  • Offer travelers (air, sea, ground) with food options that make them want to travel more!
"You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.”
- Chef Paul Prudhomme
Mrs Gupta
Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, 1990