Mapro: King of the Strawberry County!

Mapro– short for “Mahabaleshwar Products”, had its humble beginnings in ‘Vora Jams’. Pharmacist Kishore Vora and wife Manjula Vora’s 800 sq. ft home saw the start of something unique. Now headed by Mayur Vora- CEO; Mapro Foods Pvt. Ltd., has become synonymous with the identity of the Strawberry County of India.

Mahabaleshwar had caught the fancy of the British who craved the cold of the Highlands. This began the strawberry-laden love affair of the English with this hilly town. But, this delicate, luscious, and vivacious ‘Queen of Berries’ could not seem to withstand the scorching heat blazing through the Sahaydris. Even after domestic consumption, heaps of farm produce went to waste, as the delicate fruit would squash and erode under the slightest pressure. This was the ‘Eureka!’ moment for Vora – Preserve the fruit!
Source: Mapro Story

He reached out to the farming community and collected their surplus production. The hassled farmer found solace and monetary value for his produce. Happily, they entrusted the fruits of their hard work into the able hands of the Voras.

After many a trial and error, they managed to hit the bullseye- Strawberry Jam! The success of this jam inspired the much-loved ‘Strawberry Crush” and other fruit preserves like the rose syrup and Falero-a fruit flavoured jelly sweet. This lip-smacking concoction promised 45% of natural fruit content, contrary to the then-market leaders who only offered 25%. The Voras’ had a clear goal: Benefit the farmer and delight the consumer!

From delivering his fruit preserves door-to-door on his Vespa scooter, to seeking FDA approval, and astonishingly de-throning Cola with his Strawberry crush milkshake to become the drink of choice in the country, Vora’s stellar vision manifested into the Mapro Foods we know and love today!

The first ever Mapro factory opened up at Panchgani which received an overwhelming response. This led to the Mapro Gardens where many a traveller eats, drinks and relishes the delectable ‘Strawberries & Cream’, fruit mocktails, and other savoury dishes, most notably- The Toast sandwich.

Mapro’s Strawberries and Cream, circa May 2022, family trip.

The strawberry ice cream that has people chorusing “yum” with delight, was in fact a product of Mrs Rajvi Vora’s dream to afford air tickets to America to visit her family. She, like a true entrepreneur, saw an opportunity even in the odds and created the relishable ice cream, we know today.

On my visit to Mahabaleshwar last month, I had the opportunity to visit and experience the Mapro Garden. Adorned with strawberry-themed design and decor, flowers scattered across the park, overseeing a vast expanse of the facility and plantations, Mapro garden was a treat to both; the eyes and the palate!

Entrance to the Mapro Garden, a strawberry-themed gate, circa May 2022, family trip.

Even though I was on a vacation the marketing student in me couldn’t resist noticing exquisitely branded Mapro gardens. The design of the property is eloquently laid out and every brick screams ‘Mapro’. The signature strawberry red brand colour, smartly dressed employees serving food and mopping up after customers almost like a chain reaction.

Mapro engraved on the brick flooring of the property, circa May 2022, family trip.
A candle shop towards the exit, circa May 2022, family trip.

As we walked through the retail outlet of the property, I was amazed to find a selection of sub-brands under the Mapro brand name. Apart from the regular syrups and crushes I was amazed to find roundabout 10+ sub-brands namely- Mazana Chocolates, Pra: Sherbet syrups, Mapro tomato ketchup, Frubbles soft-chews, Mapro Lounge fruit syrup, Jpop soft-chews, Falchoos, and the mixology kit with a shaker! They have even diversified into snacks such as the Gujarati-speciality -Khakra, which goes by the brand name- Whitty.

Mapro’s Khakra Brand- Whitty, circa May 2022, family trip.
Whitty Khakra making facility and shop, circa May 2022, family trip.

For me, Mapro is an experience. It pays the perfect homage to Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar, India’s strawberry county. It is a lesson in the great history of the indomitable Sahaydris, the British queen of berries that we have so made our own, the foresightedness of Kishore and Manjula Vora, their effort in uplifting not just the farmer, but also the economy, boosting employment, tourism and economy on the way!
It is a culmination of preserving not just fruits, but the fruits of history, hard work and the great Indian culture!

Author: Digital Onca

Digital Onca is a blog that documents the concepts of Digital Marketing and Public Relations. Digital Onca is the effort to stay with the times, understand more deeply, more closely the working of a digital space that is steadfastly emerging around us.

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