Mapro: The People
Mapro is a short form of Mahabaleshwar Products. Kishor Vora founded the company in the year 1959. The business was further grown by Mayur Vora and Rajvi Vora. Currently, it is managed by the successors of Mayur Vora i.e. Nikunj Vora and Radhika Vora. Mapro is one of the most popular tourist spot situated between Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani. Once you step into the facility, you will understand why this place is so very popular. A few days back we got a chance to know the people behind this amazing place a bit closer.
Mahabaleshwar grows about 80% of the total strawberries in the country. Kishore Vora, a pharmacist, started Mapro with the intention to help the local farmers. The local strawberry farmers would make distress sales of their strawberries. The life of strawberry is not even three days. If they don’t sell, the produce will go waste.
The ideology still reflects in their third generation. We heard Nikunj talking about committing less and delivering more. He also expressed his belief in giving a little extra to the customers. This is what it takes for a company to grow from Rs. 800/- to 200 Crores and a company of two to 1000+ employees company.
Wai center has its Fruit Jams, Squashes, Crushes, and Chocolates manufacturing unit. They have recently added a Khakra research manufacturing unit too. You will also find a small yet fantastic food counter and can enjoy fresh sandwiches and pizzas. You can buy Mapro products from the sales counter. Before you buy, you can taste Mapro products with no restrictions on how many times you taste them.
Mapro offers the tasting of their products before you buy them. This makes Mapro a unique FnB company altogether. According to Nikunj, they consume around 200 liters of milk every day in the tasting process.
This facility is 35 acres holds 5 acres of built-up space for the manufacturing unit. There are more than 400 skilled and unskilled employees in the manufacturing unit. Most of them are locals. Tapan Jaiswal, Quality Manager, gave us a complete tour of the manufacturing unit.
Mapro manufacturing Unit
We started our tour from the sugar syrup section. We looked at the complete process of making the sugar syrup. Sugar is a key ingredient for almost all the Mapro products. From the sugar syrup section, we went to the Pulp plant. The pulping process starts with the washing of the fruits. A disinfectant is mixed in the water during the washing process. After the fruit is washed, it goes into the pulp extraction process.
The pulp is further pasteurized and then preserved under -18 Degrees Celsius. We went into the freezing unit and could not stand for more than 2-3 minutes. The cold storage that has a capacity of 2000 metric tons, is used to preserve the pulp and the fruits.
Jam, Ketchup and Beverage Unit
From the Pulp plant, we headed towards production plant. The Jam and Liquid beverages production process are almost the same. The only difference is the heating process in the Jam production. The jams are made thick by adding Pectin. Pectin is basically a biopolymer of D-galacturonic acid. It is extracted from apple or from citrus fruits.
Ketchup is also made in the same production unit.
Every product is sent to the laboratory for testing purposes before packaging the product. After packaging, labeling is done through an online printing machine.
Chocolate Production Plant
The Chocolate production unit produces chocolate coated dry fruit and enrobed chocolates. The making of chocolate almond date was amazing. The seed of date is replaced with fried almond. The almond date is further coated with dark chocolate.
This is the most selling product of Mapro. We could not visit the manufacturing unit of Falero. Pulpy Falero chews, made from real fruit juices, are available in 9 different flavors.
Mapro took complete care of the hygiene parameters. The floor had an epoxy coating that makes cleaning the floor easy. The staff members and workers were using gloves and head caps while working in the unit. I felt completely satisfied with consuming Mapro products after the tour.
We now headed towards the Mapro Garden which is on the Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar road.
This was the first setup that Mapro did in their initial days. Mayur Vora and Rajvi Vora had a unique concept in their mind. They wanted to sell their ice-creams, jams, and jellies under a tree, which still exists. The idea further transpired into Mapro’s logo.
Gaurinanda Sawant gave us the complete tour of 2 acres of Mapro Garden. She was kind in explaining the processes, ideology, and uniqueness of Mapro Garden.
The place witnesses a crowd of average 7000 per day. May and December are peak months where the facility host a crowd of around 20,000 per day on weekend. There is a staff of 100 people who make the experience worthwhile for visitors.
This is a place where you can come and chill with your family without getting harassed by hawkers. Good food and good views make this place a favorite spot for the visitors.
Mapro Strawberry Festival
For about 12 years Mapro has been hosting the Strawberry festival. The idea was to attract most people towards Strawberry produce and businesses. This is a 3-day celebration that happens during the Easter weekend. You get to see the best strawberries such as Winter Dawn, Cama Rosa, and Sweet Charlie. Visitors get to eat free strawberries.
Along with free strawberries, visitors also enjoy Lezim dance. Other activities include a live orchestra, watercolor tattoos, Mehandi stalls, strawberry palkhi, and martial arts performance. The entry is absolutely free. You only pay for the lips smacking food available at Mapro Food Counters.
The famous sandwiches and pizzas have a story behind. The team has worked hard in making all the ingredients in the house. This is to ensure the quality and consistency of the food.
The bread making is a completely automatic process.
The bread used for sandwiches is a 75% whole wheat bread. The bread is completely chemical and preservative free.
Mapro maintained the same standards of hygiene and cleanliness inside the bakery as well. The bakery section also bakes fresh brownies. The Pizza base is also 75% whole wheat flour base. Mapro uses the wood brick oven to bake the pizzas and it could be the secret behind those amazing pizzas.
The milk used for the fresh ice-cream first goes into the pasteurization process. Flavor, colors, cream and thickening agents are added to the pasteurized milk. The mixture then goes into the blast freezer that freezes the liquid in 2 minutes. They maintain consistency by using full cream milk and adding more fresh cream in the ice-cream.
The recipe of their ice-cream is a 35-year-old recipe and still the most famous between the people. Strawberry flavors ice-cream tops the chart followed by Mango and Chocolate flavor.
Gauri explained to us the testing process of the food items. Every morning, they take samples of each item and test the samples in the laboratory. The lab test the samples for taste, quality, and consistency.
If the samples are inappropriate, they discard the complete batch. The team does not compromise with the quality of food delivered to the customers. We had witnessed this live in their Wai branch. The food staff discarded a complete batch of brownie which did not come out as per their expectation.
Mapro Live Kitchen
Finally, we reached to the Mapro live kitchen. Every corner of the kitchen is visible to the customers and every inch of the Kitchen was clean. The team has built robust processes that ensure quick services to the customers. They wash kitchen thrice during the working hours to maintain the hygiene.
Team Mapro believes in giving the most value to their customers for the money they charge from them. Take the example of a cheese sandwich. A single sandwich is around 450gms that has a lot of cheese in it.
Nikunj Vora: The Young face of Mapro
I definitely wanted to meet the Nikunj, but I knew that he would be busy with his day to day activities. I never knew that he would surprise us with his presence. Nikunj is down to earth, humble and a pleasing personality with some amazing thoughts. We spent about 45 minutes with Nikunj and learned a lot about the people behind Mapro.
The Vora family does not believe in giving and take relationship with the employees. The Vora family treats their people as their extended family and have deeper relationships with them. This shows up on their employee’s faces. They all seemed happy and up to their job. We met many people who have been working with Mapro for more than 15 years.
The ideology of giving more to the customer for their money has kept customers happy. Nikunj said to believe in under committing and over delivering. Along with profitability, the family also believes in giving back to society. Mapro has established and continue to aid about 53 Primary schools around Mahabaleshwar and Wai. These schools are zero fee school for underprivileged children. Additional 170 teachers are trained and activities are conducted before school hours for children.
Mapro being a strawberry company promotes their strawberry items more than others. Mapro offers a base price for strawberries to the local farmers. This way farmer gets to sell their strawberries at a fixed price even if the prices drop in the market.
In Nikunj’s own words “I can’t seem to be growing alone when everybody around me doesn’t grow.”
Mapro lovers will be happy to find Mapro’s Outlet in Lonavala in the near future.