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M E Meeran: India's curry powder king ( Eastern Group)
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M E Meeran, Chairman of the Rs 500 crore Eastern Group, the largest manufacturer of blended spices in the world, passed away at a private hospital on sept 8, 2011  following a brief illness.


He was 71 and survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.Meeran, whose Eastern Group has been India's largest exporter of spice blends for the past 12 years, was suffering from heart ailment and was admitted to the hospital last week, a company statement said.
Meeran took his first steps as an entrepreneur by setting up a stationery business and went on to start the Eastern group. He launched Eastern Coffee in 1983, but did not do as well as expected because international coffee prices went up.

He went on to launch Eastern Curry Powder, considered a bold step as 99 per cent of the curry powder market was unorganised and was being sold as loose powder, the statement said.

Eastern now commands 70 per cent of the market. Meeran's initiatives helped in increasing the total branded market share to 60 percent against one per cent when he first entered the market in 1983, the statement said.

Meeran ventured out of Kerala in 1995 for the first time by introducing the Eastern brand in Bangalore and Chennai. Now, the Eastern products are available across India and exported to the Middle East, Singapore, USA, UK, Canada and Australia.

Meeran also set up a matress business, branded Sunidra Mattress, a Tyre Tread Company, Eastern Treads Ltd, a clothing company branded as King Richard and a Mineral Water division.

Meeran had been honoured with many awards including the 'Businessman of Kerala' award by Business Deepika and M G University's 'Eminent Entrepreneur' award.

( Courtesy: )

M E Meeran: India's curry powder king

By Sreekumar Raghavan/Commodity Online : Not many people know that infotech major Wipro's chairman and CEO Azim Premji was once a vegetable oil products trader until the media came up with his personal details. Dhirubhai Ambani's meteoric rise from being a small textiles merchant to a business tycoon is also a legend in the Indian corporate history.

If you want to hear another rags to riches story, come to the hilly Adimaly village in Idukki -- known as the spices district of Kerala -- and meet M E Meeran, chairman of Eastern Group of Companies. He is India's curry powder king. He passed away

Meeran, a former wholesale dealer in provisions, is conquering the world with his Eastern brand of spices and curry powders.

Consistently winning export awards in the last decade and breaking production barriers, so much so that an American company is reportedly eyeing the group now.

In an interview with Commodity Online at his Adimaly office, Meeran, the sixty-five-year-old, soft-spoken businessman revealed the secret to his success this way: "To succeed in the market, give quality products at appropriate price."

Meeran belongs to a conservative Muslim family from Kothamangalam, an hour's drive from his home at Adimaly. His family was engaged in trading of provisions. Naturally, the question arises as to how he began to 'think big' -- to go for branding and set his sights on the Gulf, European and American markets.

Here's what he had to say: "I entered the provisions business in 1970 in a small way. In 1975, I started marketing and distribution of several major consumer products including, bulb, soaps, batteries and biscuits. That was the turning point for me. The products, business, and management training that I got from major companies such as Britannia, Mysore Lamps and Kerala Soaps aroused my interest in building up a brand myself."

He discontinued marketing of consumer products and took up manufacturing of curry powders in 1984. And the curry powder business took a serious turn in 1991, coinciding with the economic reforms ushered in by the then finance minister and current prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.

"We started exporting from 1995 onwards and from then on our growth has been consistent," Meeran said.

Few years back, Eastern was in the news following a Rs 45-crore (Rs 450 million) venture capital infusion by Mauritius-based New Vernon Bharat Ltd for a 15 per cent stake in the company.

Read the full article from Rediff

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