By Brady Hicks Whether you’re biking, hiking or camping, JYOTI Natural Foods has the answer for your own unique, onthe-go lifestyle. JYOTI is a leading provider of all-natural, ready-to-eat, pre-packaged, healthy cuisine that requires no refrigeration. “We’re talking about convenient, yet delicious, nutritious food,” said cofounder and chief executive, Dr. Vijai Gupta, Ph.D. “My wife [Jyoti] is a registered dietician with a master’s degree in nutrition. It’s her responsibility – and she sees to it – that there’s nothing in our food that is not good for people.” JYOTI and its “Your” and “Jyoti” brands of vegan and vegetarian items can be eaten directly from their flexible packaging and have a shelf life of two years. The key is that there are no preservatives, whatsoever. With items such as rice, beans, vegetables and quinoa, JYOTI’s menu emphasizes the best in nutritious, delicious, portable and fresh. But how difficult is it to balance such quality with convenience? With good technology, Gupta claims, those aspects can go hand in hand. “We only use the freshest ingredients. Onion, garlic, pepper, eggplant and other vegetables are always diced and packaged when they are fresh,” continued Gupta. “The food is cooked in the package at a high temperature – much higher than home cooking – so it is fully sterilized with no bacterial growth or spoilage possible.” The journey to this point, however, has been a long haul. Gupta and his wife were living in Houston, Texas, with their young children when they decided to pursue a business in canning Indian food for mail order. This decision was based in part on the former’s abilities to support canning as a chemical engineer, as well as his wife’s nutritional expertise. In 1980, Whole Foods – then a single store in Austin – started selling JYOTI’s line. This paved the way for its roster of foods to be introduced in stores nationwide in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via the internet on, and Back then, co-packers were canning JYOTI products. As the Guptas’ business grew following their relocation to Philadelphia, Pa., however, the couple faced problems with debris discovered in their chickpea products. The cause, sadly, was co-packers’ use of bean de-stoning machines that did not completely remove debris. As a result, Gupta created and patented his own unique bean-cleaning system. At its factory outside of Philadelphia, JYOTI employs this invention for cleaning beans before packaging and processing the food. This bean technology is also licensed to other food processors, including Hormel Foods. “I couldn’t believe, myself, how I could remove anything: stones, glass, metal, leaves, stems, sticks … everything,” Gupta noted. “I told my wife that I would build her a factory so she won’t have to depend on co-packers.” That invention is now at the heart of the company, Gupta continued, “and it’s licensed worldwide. Without it, we wouldn’t be in business.” Despite origins in Indian food, that segment is now just a small part of JYOTI’s operations. The company also produces global cuisines such as hummus, cowboy rice, Cuban black beans, refried beans and other products each day. “We can be a real asset to the outdoor enthusiast – the backpacker, the bicycle rider or the camper,” concluded Gupta. And, given demand, JYOTI believes it is more than poised to keep stride in a sector so uniquely known for its metaphorical – and literal – fast pace. m For more information on JYOTI, its brands of all-natural, healthy foods and how it can enhance your outdoor experience, visit www. Dr. Vinja & Jyoti Gupta of JYOTI Natural Foods 28 Brand Watch JYOTI Foods Fulfills The Need for On-the-Go Nutrition InsideOutdoor | SPRING 2022