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The year was 1935. In a sleepy little countryside on the southwest coast of India – a visionary was planning to change the food habits of the world. His astute mind saw that, though the western palates traditionally favoured bland food, they would welcome a little extra piquancy and flavour, if only someone was there to show them how.

That pioneering spirit belonged to Mr. Vallabhdas Vasanji Mariwala. Quick on the uptake, he installed a spice processing factory on the banks of Alleppey’s palm-fringed backwaters, and became India’s first exporters of black pepper.

Mr. Vallabhdas was every inch a man of spices – right down to his last name. [In Gujarati, ‘Mariwala’ literally means ‘Pepper-man’]. He helped in the formation of the Pepper Exchange at Mattancherry, Cochin. He also introduced the convention of naming spices after the port towns where they originated – such as Cochin, Alleppey, Malabar and Tellichery.

The first seeds of enterprise planted by Mr. Vallabhdas Vasanji Mariwala have today grown a technology-based, quality driven multinational known worldwide as Vallabhdas Kanji Limited (VKL).

He remains an inspiration to all the generations that follow after him.