During the British era, trains passing through Punjab made a stop at a processing unit where farmers sold freshly picked fruits. Locals called this spot Kissan and from there on it became a household name. The UB group, under the Late Vittal Mallya then, acquired Kissan from Mitchell Bros. in the year 1950. In 1993, Kissan was acquired by Brooke Bond India and is now an integral part of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL).
Kissan’s story of pioneering innovation began with the launch of new formats of food, such as canned fruits and vegetables, baked beans, and the like. From there onwards, the journey has been focusing primarily on enabling small farmers to produce quality sourced ingredients. At Kissan, we keep the farmer's interest in mind along every step of the way. In 2019, 76% of Tomatoes used in Kissan ketchup were from sustainable sources. The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project, which began in 2012 between HUL and Maharashtra Government for sustainable sourcing of Tomatoes, became self-sustaining in 2015.
HUL continued its practice of giving a buy-back guarantee of produce to farmers. HUL provides vital support by imparting farmers with knowledge and expertise in sustainable agriculture practices for Tomato cultivation. This includes the latest agricultural techniques, irrigation practices, and the recommendation of the right type of seeds. In one such practice, a new Tomato varietal developed was employed by farmers which takes lesser time (90 days) to harvest versus traditional varieties (150 to 180 days). These Tomatoes had a brighter red colour which would fetch farmers better prices and helps enhance their returns on yields. Around 8,000 farmers across the country cultivated Tomatoes for HUL in 2019.
Not just Ketchup & Sauces, all our products - Jam, Peanut Butter, Squash are made with ingredients sourced from farms across India. Oranges from Nagpur, Lemons from the Himalayan foothills, Pineapples from Kerala, Grapes from Karnataka and Peanuts from Gujarat. The brand Kissan is because of the dedicated Kisans of India. Our commitment is to stand by them.