Asif Walli, a young entrepreneur with dynamic ideas, describes how he and his sister started their business of snacks and confectioneries, which are becoming household names in the UK. “Our products are NOT the usual ethnic snacks, sold in large quantities in the UK, but as the name implies, they are quintessentially British, made in Britain, recalling the impact of the British Raj on the sub-continent.”
Born in Britain, he is anything but a BBCD (British born confused Desi!)! That is clearly evident from his flourishing business with products that deliciously blend both cultures and tastes.
He continues, “Some 30 years ago, our parents took us to India. In the streets of Delhi, we were both running around looking for a Cornish pasty. That’s when we first saw and smelt Nankhatai, or semolina biscuits being baked on an open fire oven. My sister and I never forgot that moment in India. Years later, together with our grand-mother, we embarked on a journey that would see this humble biscuit take on exciting flavours. We revelled in trying different tastes and mixes….. and such was the beginning of the Duke of Delhi!”
Asif started by selling his products in his local community in Wallington, but soon went on to various venues in London. There he won a great taste award for a Chilli Chocolate and Nankhatai Biscuit!”
When asked why Duke of Delhi was launched in the UK market, already full of a vast variety of snacks and world-famous confectionery, such as Cadburys, Asif is quick to respond: “The UK has progressively become multi-cultural and is wide open to new ideas and products. We have exhibited in several fine food fairs and slowly but surely, our products have gained ground. You can call it bravado or an inner determination to trust your conviction and have faith in your brand.”
Apart from the recent BBC Good Food Show exposure, Duke of Delhi products are being approached by several stores. It is already one year since the famous fine food purveyors, Fortnum & Mason in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, accepted to sell them. Duke of Delhi has also received ‘The Great Taste’ award. Asif has exhibited at several select food shows in the UK and his unusual products have attracted many purveyors of exotic foods.
Asif has not stopped exploring new ideas and sales channels. When asked about which countries he would like to see his products reach, he responds unhesitatingly, “The Middle East’s Gulf countries. We have heard a lot about Dubai and recently Qatar. Dubai Duty Free has become a household name and I will in due course look at the duty and tax free channels.”
And the key question, “What about Pakistan? Would you consider launching LORD OF LAHORE?” Again, Asif is as keen as ever. “I would love to visit Pakistan and explore the market. You never know, Lord of Lahore may well be on the cards!
BBC Good Food Show London 2013
The ever popular BBC Good Food Show, London, closed on Sunday the 17th November’13. More than 26,000 visitors enjoyed over 70 demonstrations and talks from 25 chefs and experts across 3 separate stages! The show was packed full of entertainment including innovative sales ideas, and unusual products. Among the finest was a modest stand of the DUKEOFDELHI, which exhibited chocolate and snacks.
The Pop-up Restaurant & Street Food Experience, an innovative sales technique
This was the ultimate celebration of the capital’s food scene, as it brought together a selection of restaurants and street food vendors including Mr. Todiwala’s, The Blue Elephant, and the BBC Good Food Kitchen. All dishes were expertly paired and were enjoyed in the relaxing dining area against the backdrop of the Piano Bar. Many exhibitors sold out and the show rebooking was up by 10% – which is a testament to a great show.