Let's admit, as Pakistanis we love food.
And the moment the first spell of breezy winters hits Karachi's otherwise humid and hot shores, a good number of food festivals surface to line up some of the best items that win hearts all over.
This is the story of a man who had put up a stall in one of the city's biggest food festivals - Karachi Eat - in 2016, bringing to us fried wings and a secret sauce recipe.
A few successful runs after, the stall grew into becoming one of the country's biggest sauce brands that now competes with local and international names.
Fried wings. A secret sauce recipe. A great deal of potential. The right mindset. These are just few of the many traits we noticed are the reasons that led to the success this brand has seen.
In conversation with the flavour maestro who founded Dipitt, Mr Zeeshan Haider, we find out the many secrets behind pulling off such a feat and entering a market saturated with both local and imported options.
A business grad with an engineering background, Zeeshan began his career working several jobs with Siemens and Unilever while also completing his MBA at LUMS.
What made an engineer turned entrepreneur step into the world of sauces? Tell us how Dipitt happened.
Syed Zeeshan Haider: I had planned to step into the world of food with my skillset and so I decided to test the waters with a restaurant called Wingitt; where we used chicken wings with various sauces prepared by me and my wife.
As we became overwhelmed by the response Wingitt garnered at Karachi Eat 2016 and requests from restaurant chains began to pour in, Dipitt became all but inevitable and was finally officially launched in October 2018.
What made you feel safe enough about your sauce recipes to confidently broaden your scale and serve more and more people?
Syed Zeeshan Haider: Our primary target audience is definitely the youth. We cater to people who love food, fun, adventure, are bold, modern and innovative with food.
I would say I felt confident about our sauces when we made it for Wingitt, the enthusiasm shown to us by the restaurant scene of Karachi as well as the faith we had due to our own household being avid consumers; this is what catapulted us into launching Dipitt.
Despite food gurus being against it as imported cheaper alternatives were already present in the market, it was a leap of faith; the confidence to take that leap came simply from my gut.
What’s the one secret that makes your sauce different from the rest or sets you apart from competition?
Syed Zeeshan Haider: Our brand currently offers 47 distinct flavours. The secret is definitely the quality our products possess, the usage of real ingredients farm to fresh and staunch adherence to lack of compromise in our production.
All of that and a lot more involved, but we've kept our sauces accessible and affordable. This is what sets Dipitt apart.
Discuss 3 major insights that convinced you to think that sauce is integral part of Pakistani food and culture
Syed Zeeshan Haider: There has been a gradual shift in the food scene of Pakistan. Since childhood we have observed staple sauces like ketchup with fast food. Fast forward twenty years, as I entered the entrepreneurial world there was huge gap in the sauces and condiments market.
This gap had occurred primarily due to restaurants introducing all kinds of cuisines to the Pakistani consumers taste palate and creating a desire in people to recreate the food at home using the same sauces.
Social media has also played a huge role in making people aware about different cultures and their food. Hardcore foodies or not, people love making trendy food by themselves at home and brands that can make this task fast and easy are preferred.
The sauce category was able to see massive expansion in retail and HORECA as an outcome of these social changes.
What's Dipitt's proudest moment so far?
Syed Zeeshan Haider: The proudest moment was when we started to export to Japan and Saudi Arabia, specifically Japan as their quality standard is top of the line.
What's the size of your business currently? How big or small are you in the market and what makes you stand out from competition in a market as saturated as ours?
Syed Zeeshan Haider: I would say we are still a decent sized business with extreme growth. There is still a lot of opportunities for us to capture. We should be working a thousand times harder if we really want to make it big. There is no room for contentment, we still have a long way to go.
Adaptability and innovation are the two values that we followed to make a name for Dipitt in the market.
How do you cope with changing market trends?
Syed Zeeshan Haider: By adapting according to market. Adaptability is a mindset; you have to be ready for change. You have to shape yourself as per the market need and requirement. You can’t stand alone and head away from where the market is moving; you have to carve your place out in an ever-changing environment all the while ensuring the best international quality and standards.
What piece of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs who want to someday step into your shoes?
Syed Zeeshan Haider: Don’t listen to anyone, not even to your own mind. Listen to your heart but do the numbers.
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
Syed Zeeshan Haider: I think the most successful marketing strategy has been our efforts towards inducing product trials. My effort in generating trial for our offerings through restaurant chains and taste trial activities has proven to me that a good product in itself is all the advertisement you can need.
How is Dipitt dealing with the current economic situation?
Syed Zeeshan Haider: It is very tough, the core raw material prices have skyrocketed; tomato, sugar, oil and all major commodities have seen a spike in their cost. However, as the saying goes 'when the going gets tough, the tough get going', we are tackling this by strategising to be more efficient in our production and logistics and serving our customers with the same vigor we always have to ensure there is minimal impact on grocery prices and business at the same time.
And we've got to agree. At the core of all business goals and marketing plans is (and should be) the creation of products that simply outshine all others on the aisles. And Dipitt does that for us unfailingly.
Whether you like it mild or wild, these sauces will get you flying over countries and dipping under seas with an aim to curate delicious tastes using authentic ingredients; good quality at an affordable price that adheres to international standards. If you are someone who likes to experiment with flavours and enjoy exploring new tastes then we say Dipitt is where your quest ends.
Check out the brand's products here.
This content is produced in paid partnership with Dipitt Pakistan.