How a Village Coolie's Son Built a ₹3,000 Crore Empire: The Story of iD fresh food founder PC Musthafa

In the competitive world of startups, a man named  PC Musthafa stands as a shining example of hard work, hope, and dedication. While every brand is serving packed preservative food, iD Fresh Food is serving fresh and simple food batter. Founder  PC Musthafa's journey from humble beginnings in a village to building a leading brand in fresh batters is a powerful story of his unwavering passion and resilience in the face of countless challenges.

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Early Days and Struggles

Musthafa was born into a humble family in the village Chennalode in Wayanad. His father was a coolie. His mother and sister used to collect woods in the forest to sell them in the village for earning.

Musthafa's early life was marked by hardship and a daily struggle for survival. His father was also a daily wage labourer on a ginger farm, and earned a meagre ₹50 per day, barely enough to sustain the family. They had no fixed source of income. His father was the only breadwinner for his family and siblings as his grandfather was not well enough to earn due to his health conditions.

In the young days, Musthafa and his siblings had to contribute by doing odd jobs, like selling firewood, just to make ends meet.  Musthafa also used to help him for a wage of only  ₹10. They didn’t even have money to eat 3 time meals properly.  They had a tin roof that used to leak on rainy days. 

Despite these challenges, Musthafa's spirit was unbroken. In his early days, he saved money to buy a goat, which was the first asset his family ever owned. Later, traded the goat for a cow. Musthafa had an early knack for business and a relentless drive to improve his family's circumstances. 

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Education and Career

Musthafa completed his schooling at the age of 17 and then pursued engineering at the National Institute of Technology (NIT). After securing an IT job, he experienced the corporate world.  He worked for Motorola for around one and a half years, then went to Saudi and worked there for Citibank. 

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He was earning 3 lakhs per month at that time. Yet, despite his professional success and financial stability, something was missing. The missing part was The dream of helping his own people and place.

After around six years Musthafa in 2003, decided to come back to India for three reasons. The reasons were, he wanted to spend more time with his parents, for further Higher studies and the third reason was to do something for his village.

Foundation iD Fresh Foods

Musthafa came back to India, he enrolled and completed his MBA from IIM Bangalore. There he identified a glaring gap in the market: the absence of hygienic and convenient South Indian breakfast options. This realisation led to a transformative idea. In 2005, along with his four cousins, he started ID Fresh Foods with just ₹50,000.

The first operating outlet was a tiny 50 sq ft in Bangalore, Musthafa set an ambitious target of selling 100 packets of batter daily. However, the reality was harsh, and it took nine months to reach this goal. He insisted on a lot of investors but they found him and his business boring. Nobody invested in his business. 

Undeterred, Musthafa sold his land in Kerala to fund the expansion of the business, moving operations to a 550 sq ft facility. The breakthrough came when the idli batter started selling 2000 kg daily across 300 stores. It turned ID Fresh Foods into a household name. 

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Musthafa's personal touch was evident in every aspect of the business. From maintaining quality and texture to introducing innovative products like the patented "squeeze-your-own-vada," he ensured that ID Fresh Foods stood out in the crowded market. The company's commitment to using no chemicals resonated deeply with health-conscious consumers, leading to widespread acceptance.

They even started with the famous Malabar paranthas and Rotis. During similar times, Musthafa expanded the business to 10 new cities in near Hyderabad and Mumbai. 

By 2014, ID Fresh Foods had expanded to Dubai, and the investment from Helion Ventures soon followed, propelling the company to a revenue of ₹100 crore by 2015. It sold over 50,000 kg of batter, 40,000 chapatis and 200,000 paranthas daily. 

The popularity of their products attracted high-profile investors, including Azim Premji, whose investment of ₹170 crore in 2017 further solidified the company's position.

Under Musthafa's visionary leadership, ID Fresh Foods diversified into superfoods. It launched products like ragi batter, curd, and paneer. An 80,000 sq ft factory was established by them in Anekal, Bangalore that boosted production capabilities significantly.

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By 2023, ID Fresh Foods had achieved a turnover of ₹500 crore, processing 250,000 kilos of batter and 52,000 paranthas daily across six mega factories. The company has provided employment to over 800 villagers in Bangalore, Chennai, and Kerala, giving back to the communities that had once nurtured Musthafa's dreams.

PC Musthafa's story is one of extraordinary resilience and vision. From carrying the weight of family expectations to becoming the "Batter King of India," his journey is an inspiring saga of how determination, innovation, and a deep-rooted desire to uplift one's family can lead to monumental success. 

His life and achievements remind us that no dream is too big and no obstacle too insurmountable for those who dare to believe and persevere. He is a simple man with a good heart. Musthafa does not take credit, he often says he did not make it successful; it was his team and cousins.

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Written By Manvi