Reishunger

"We want to make the world a bit more colourful."

Interview with Sohrab Mohammad — co-founder of Reishunger.

Reishunger

Sohrab Mohammad says: “No one ever said to themselves, 'Wouldn’t the world be a better place if I could only order my rice online?” It isn’t an actual problem’. Yet, the German market is becoming hooked on his rice. In 2011, he founded Reishunger along with Torben Buttjer. Since then, the company has continually grown and is today home to 100 employees. They are supplying Europe’s kitchens with the world’s finest rice. What’s their secret?

“We’ve succeeded in bringing a new emotional impact to an everyday food like rice.”

Sohrab Mohammad co-founder of Reishunger

Not all rice is created equal

Rice comes in every imaginable shape, colour and flavour. There’s black rice, red rice, jasmine rice, rice pudding and risotto rice, just to name a few. For many people, preparing each type of rice properly can be quite a chore. And often, it’s hard to know which type of rice is best for which dish. Because of questions like these, rice has still not been fully embraced by Northern European culture.

Reishunger rice package on a kitchen counter

“As a product, rice is kind of mysterious for a lot of people.”

Sohrab Mohammad co-founder of Reishunger

Sohrab recognised this as a business opportunity. As a child, he was used to enjoying high-quality rice prepared by his Iranian parents. He knows many recipes in which rice is not the side dish, but the star. “Reishunger is not just a brand that sells rice, we are also a platform for answering any questions people have about rice.” At the heart of this platform is a recipe database containing over 2,000 recipes. It stirs up people’s appetite for rice and attracts plenty of visitors to the site.

Reishunger’s recipe for success

“What makes us special is that we cover nearly the entire supply chain. If we would plant our own rice up on the roof, then we would literally cover every step”, says Sohrab. However, Reishunger prefers to leave its rice-farming in the hands of expert growers in Thailand, India, Pakistan and Italy. The rice bypasses the usual intermediate trade channels and ships directly from the growers to Bremen, Germany, packed in big bags. After passing quality control, it is packaged using a fully automated process.

Reishunger owes part of its success to its own fulfilment centre, which enables it to “deliver lots of packages very quickly.” Sohrab says he still has moments where he will be walking down the long aisles of his company’s warehouse and suddenly think to himself, “Oh my god, how did this all happen? We’ve grown non-stop without a single investor on board”, he says.

 The two founders of Reishunger are in the warehouse.

“We invest very heavily in our brand.”

Sohrab Mohammad co-founder of Reishunger

Sohrab strongly believes that this continuity has had a positive effect on his company’s culture. What kind of people work at Reishunger? “We are a casual mix of case workers, specialists and managers. The diversity makes it exciting”, says Sohrab. Each day, the team cooks together. It goes without saying that rice is always high on the menu. Except on Fridays, which are pasta days. “But even then, we prefer cooking with our rice pasta”, says Sohrab with a laugh.

Three different types of rice from Reishunger

Reishunger teams up with Mollie

Next year, Reishunger will celebrate its ten-year anniversary. It has grown from a Bremen-based start-up to a flourishing company. And now, it’s set a course for further expansion. This is what brought Reishunger into contact with Mollie. Sohrab explains, “Mollie offers the right payment methods for many of our important markets across Europe. They also give us the advantage of keeping things simple, yet always up to date with the latest developments, not to mention keeping our costs under control.”

Reishunger uses its own shop system, developed in-house, which is connected with Mollie and ERP software from JTL. ‘Everything went really smoothly, because we only work through APIs’, explains Benjamin Uhlmann, Head of Marketing at Reishunger. He is currently working on activating new payment methods. They started out accepting credit cards and PayPal and have recently expanded to include the ‘Pay later’ feature from Klarna. “We immediately integrated the ‘Sofort’ instant bank transfer payment option from Klarna. Currently, there are five “pay later” orders for every one instant bank transfer order”, says Sohrab.

“We work with Mollie because we want to use the latest payment technologies available.”

Sohrab Mohammad co-founder of Reishunger

What’s next?

When asked about what’s next for his company, Sohrab says, “We’ve got our sights set on international growth and creating innovative products.” There are plans to introduce convenience products and a rice cooker based on a fully original design. Now, we can all look forward to watching how Reishunger will continue to add excitement to a surprisingly versatile staple food.

Reishunger package on a kitchen counter

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"We doen veel dingen om de band met onze klanten te versterken."— Robin Holle, Dierapotheker