Fair Food Fund Announces New Loan to DAHlicious
With a 4,000 year history and the nickname “Food of the Gods,” lassi comes well recommended. Though popular across India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, the world’s first yogurt-based smoothie is less known across the United States.
JD Sethi, founder of the lassi company DAHlicious, hopes to change that.
DAHlicious started back in 2007 when, against the advice of friends and family, Sethi made a batch of lassi using his family recipe, shopped it around to Boston area retailers, and in one day, secured $1,000 in orders.
The company has grown rapidly since its 2007 launch with its products now sold through more than 1,500 retailers and health food stores nationwide. Now, growth financing from the Fair Food Fund, coupled with an equipment loan from MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, is helping DAHlicious to keep up with the growing demand for its lassi.
“DAHlicious has a great product, but their growth potential was stalled without access to additional financing,” said Alex Linkow, program director at the Fair Food Fund, which provides financing and business assistance to good food entrepreneurs that connect family farms with consumers hungry for local, sustainably grown food. “We are excited to help fill that gap alongside MassDevelopment.”
“With the growth of the local food movement in Massachusetts, consumers can also take pride in buying healthy products from a local company like DAHlicious,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We’re pleased to support a food manufacturer in one of Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities, and it’s great news that Fair Food Fund has participated in this financing as well.”
Part of what makes DAHlicious so delicious (that link is intentional) is its attention to detail. DAHlicious lassi has five bacteria cultures that are cultivated for 12-14 hours, much longer than other yogurts which typically only incubate for four to six hours. The longer cultivation time creates a higher probiotic count, which translates into a lighter, less acidic and sour taste that also requires less sugar. Plus, DAHlicious uses whole fruit rather than concentrated fruit juice to flavor the product.
Then there’s the milk.
Sethi is committed to supporting dairy producers in the Northeast. He prefers to have a direct connection with milk suppliers, so he can get to know their farming practices and develop close working relationships.
In 2013, DAHlicious purchased approximately 1,000 gallons of grass fed and organic milk per week from suppliers in Vermont. When the company reached production capacity at the Vermont facility, DAHlicious set in motion a plan to relocate operations to Leominster, Massachusetts, where they are currently opening a new state of-the-art processing facility.
The move is made possible through a $500,000 equipment loan from MassDevelopment coupled with up to $250,000 in royalty financing from the Fair Food Fund.
“Financing from Fair Food Fund will support DAHlicious’ sales, marketing, and working capital needs so we can expand production in our new facility,” said Sethi. “We are excited to continue growing the business and sourcing more milk from New England grass-based dairy farms that adhere to the highest standards of quality and sustainability.”
“The Fair Food Fund is committed to investing in companies that support the long term viability of small and mid-size farms across the Northeast,” said Linkow. “DAHlicious’s commitment to growing market opportunities for local, sustainable dairies is at the heart of our work.”
Learn more about the Fair Food Fund’s financing and business assistance programs here, and keep your eyes out for DAHlicious lassi at markets near you!