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About The founder

Godrej Pallonji Joshi was in his early twenties when he decided he didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps as an architect and builder in Bombay, India. He embarked on his journey of entrepreneurship by experimenting with soap making. After extensive studies on self-taught methods, particularly through the study of Gardner Dexter Hiscox’s Fortunes in Formulas for home, farm and workshop, he spent hours concocting home and bath products and developed a special expertise in perfumes. When a cousin of his visited India after a lavish vacation in Paris, she showed off an expensive bottle of perfume she had purchased during her travels. Godrej took a few sniffs of it and within a couple of hours had deftly emulated the French perfume in his kitchen, in a ketchup bottle no less, much to her disdain!

These early experiments prompted him to set up a small soap manufacturing facility in Colaba, Bombay. It was here that he started manufacturing sandalwood soap, under the brand “Godreji.” The soaps were sold locally, and were appreciated so much so that he received two national awards for exhibiting the soap in 1936. This initial recognition led to several established companies sending him job offers, but Godrej had a mind and a dream of his own.

The Early Years

It was before the Second World War, at the time the Third Reich had captured the Astro-Hungarian corridor, when Godrej began his travels to Germany and Switzerland to purchase machinery for a high end manufacturing plant. Being but a young man at the time, he was received with a mix of indifference and scepticism upon his arrival. He was ubiquitously asked, “where is your father?” since a man of his age traveling alone was perceived as one lacking any serious interest in business, and with no intent to purchase machinery. They couldn’t have been more mistaken. After researching and evaluating, our young entrepreneur decided to purchase all the equipment from BUSS Switzerland, knowing that if the war broke out, Germany would be unable to ship to India as it was a British colony at the time.

He bought a plot of land at Sion, Bombay, and with his new European machinery, he commissioned the vegetable oil plant in 1939, thus establishing the foundation of the Vegetable Vitamin Foods Company. The company manufactured vanaspati, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, which was a low-cost alternative to ghee in Indian households. Godrej noticed that most of the vanaspati was being imported to India from Europe, and he realized the tremendous growth potential for local manufacturers. With VVF being one of the earliest to enter the industry, orders started pouring in in no time at all. The company contract manufactured, and also marketed through VVF brands such as ‘Mango’ and ‘Vita-Ghee.’ Till date, we are known as the dalda company in and around Sion, Bombay, where our headquarters are now situated, as dalda is a generic word for vanaspati. As the business caught air, Godrej set his sights on further expansion.

In 1956, he set up India’s very first continuous solvent extraction plant and began manufacturing oil and de-oiled meal. By 1971, he bought our first fatty acid plant from Mazzoni in Italy. This plant manufactured fatty acids and glycerine, which are substances used in the making of a variety of personal care and hygiene products. As these markets grew larger, Godrej focused on Oleochemicals and the vegetable oil business ended. VVF went on to set up large Oleochemical facilities in Asia, branching out into scores of product categories. The company returned to soap making in the 1990s and launched the ‘Doy’ brand of bath products.

Today, VVF employs over 2500 employees globally, and is the world’s largest contract manufacturer of bar soaps. With state of the art manufacturing units spread across 3 continents and 16 operating centres, VVF is truly a multi-national organization.

As we celebrate our 75th year in business, we proudly reflect on the legacy that our visionary founder has left behind. VVF continues to grow and prosper on the foundation laid by this extraordinary man, and we move forward with an appreciation for our rich history and our roots as a family company.