Spicekada.in is a small family business assisted by a couple of employees. Having initially designed and sold spices gift packs and hot drinks gift packs to tourists visiting Kerala, we decided to explore the possibility of upgrading the business to having an online existence. The name of the online shop had to reflect its nature, and Spicekada came to us quite easily. The word kada means shop in Malayalam, and is normally used to describe a small, unassuming and unimposing shop selling simple items. The website was ready in March 2016.

The motivation, of course, is to be able to support the families that rely on the success of the business. But, in addition, due to our setup, location and local contacts, we are in a unique position: we can offer specialised products of the highest quality at the lowest prices.

We have a few principles that guide our business:

First, we sell only products that are grown or produced in the Cardamom Hills of Kerala. On the rare occassion that a product is not local, its origin will be clearly labelled on its product page.

Second, we strive to sell products that are of the highest quality. This is not difficult when it comes to, for instance, cardamom, pepper and vanilla, but when it comes to, for instance, coffee production, the Cardamom Hills is not the optimum location. To compensate for this, we put a lot of work into finding the best locally produced coffee, and we are associated with a coffee roaster who appreciates the quality of a good roast.

Third, we don’t use middlemen which means we can offer the products at a lower price than any other online shop. It is, of course, difficult to compare non-standardised products that are sold online. For instance, some online shops are selling Vietnamese pepper which is cheaper and of lower quality than our Kerala pepper. So, on the rare occasion where one of our products is more expensive than a competitor’s, this could be the explanation.

Fourth, we don’t pressurise our suppliers to deliver their products at a lower rate. We believe in everyone getting a fair deal.

Fifth, we would like to offer certified organic produce, but truly organically grown products are a rarity because the spice, tea and coffee producers in Kerala generally use various insecticides and weed killers. And when someone does attempt to grow organically, there is a high risk of contamination from neighbouring farms.