From a market perspective, the segment has huge potential, however it has remained dormant due to the general public’s predilection for taste over healthiness. Healthy food is yet to become a fad in India and once it does it is more than a billion dollar opportunity. To displace the age-old notion that healthy food are boring and tasteless, entrepreneurs in this field need to come up with innovative campaigns to make consumers try them out. I believe once people try this out and see the benefits, it clearly would be winner in healthy ready-to-eat snacks.
“The idea arose from we, office-goers (read as, entrepreneurs and the other humankind), needing to maintain a balance between work and health. Having very less time to devote to work out, eating healthy was an easy way out. Having travelled extensively in Europe and US, I realized that the idea of going green and healthy is becoming a rage world over,” says Ashwani Jain, Founder, Healthy Belly.
In India, as the professional services sector grows, the population is bound to look at healthier lifestyle and food in particular. It is because of this that lot of people are looking for healthier alternatives in their diet to remain healthy. “After doing market research, we dived in this idea to create a health business. Instead of saying we are in food sector, I would say we are more in the wellness sector,” adds Ashwani.
Ashwani, an alumnus of IIT Roorkee & IIM Bangalore, has experience in private equity, consulting firms and silicon valley startups, and is assisted by Vikas from IIM Bangalore, with experience in operation and marketing, Ashish, XLRI alumus, with experience in operation and investment banking, Brinda, IIM Bangalore, with experience in offline marketing, and Upen, as the Technology supervisor.
Since Healthy Belly’s products go directly against the Indian taste buds for snacks, it was difficult for Ashwani to convince the conventional channels for getting shelf space. Secondly, food is something that has almost zero switching cost for the customer, hence, it is very hard to keep the customer attention glued unless you innovate continuously. Another challenge is that to create a mid-to-high quality brand in this space, the capital influx required is quite high. Since healthy food means more hygienic, better quality, organic and healthy ingredients, it is bound to be more expensive than existing snacks. Therefore, it will take some time before there is wide scale adoption of this idea.
Healthy Belly launched operations within 2 months of conceptualization, and has tied up with a national fitness chain to deliver Healthy Belly meal box to health conscious customers. the startup has been invited to cater for office meals and even parties. They finished user testing with about 500 customers in Bangalore in first month of operations.
“My motivation to become an entrepreneur was to create something of my own. I believe that’s the best test of ones abilities and education. I want to create something to my best abilities and put it out in the market to be evaluated objectively and without bias. That’s when you know you have succeeded or not. In the end, don’t all of us want to leave a mark, a legacy of our own,” says Ashwani on a concluding note.
Healthy food aficionados should try Healthy Belly!
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