One of the biggest concerns people on a diet seem to have is what healthy food they can snack on. Even with meticulous mealtime planning and a great fitness regime, it is the hunger in between the meals that remains a challenge. After spending close to a decade-and-a-half on weight issues and facing daily internal conflicts and failed diets, Jasmine Kaur, Founder of The Green Snack Co, knew that she had to transform her lifestyle for good.
It was Jasmine’s need to find that snack that was tasty, crunchy and nutritious at the same time that gave birth to The Green Snack Co. "There was no such snack available in the market," she adds. Soon, she quit her job and decided to work on her venture. She began by doing research on various healthy snacks available globally. She found that one product had a ubiquitous presence diets world over was the leafy vegetable kale.
She then decided to give the recipe of crisping the kale a shot. "I was a little skeptical given the general perception and taste of the Indian consumer when it comes to snacking," says Jasmine.
Creating a healthy snack
However, Jasmine was taken by surprise by the overwhelming response the product received from consumers. She adds that many were aware of kale and were waiting for it to be launched in a snack form in India. "Even though we were just sampling and not selling. It was at a food pop, where people seemed to keep coming back for more. That’s when I decided I will look into this seriously," Jasmine says.
The Green Snack Co began with three variants of the kale chips, which were displayed and sold at different food pop-ups in Mumbai. This, in turn, Jasmine says, caught the attention of retailers, gourmet food stores, online food sites, food critics and bloggers. "One of the big moments we had was two months after the launch. We got a call from Foodhall, the Mecca of gourmet foods, to place our product with them. It was a defining moment for the business," adds Jasmine.
With The Green Snack Co and the kale chips, the team had decided to start from scratch, rethink, analyse and rebuild everything they knew about health, food and nutrition. Jasmine says that the philosophy behind launching The Green Snack Co was to provide nutritious, healthy and delicious snacks that are made using different super foods, which are truly good for you. They’re made using fresh and natural ingredients, without any added sugar, preservatives, additives and MSG.
The equipment used to make the chips is imported from the US, and the process followed is exactly the same as what is done globally. Today, the company is a team of five, but, initially, Jasmine started alone, "My husband has been my rock throughout my startup journey," she adds. Most of the team members have prior experience of working with startups, and are extremely passionate about creating a brand and a product line that can truly cater to the massively unmet need for healthy snacks in the country.
However, no startup can be built without challenges. One of the biggest challenges, according to Jasmine, has been getting the right people on board: people who share the same vision and passion for the business, and are willing to work in the startup environment.
"Another one has been educating the customer and getting them to question their current beliefs on what they perceive as healthy. We have found through this journey that not only are a lot of consumers grossly misinformed about what is actually good for them, they seem to be wiling to take to all kinds of fads and diet trends which may be highly detrimental to health in the long term," Jasmine says.
The Green Snack Co. launched 'Kale Chips' few months ago and is present over 40 retail and gourmet stores in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune. Apart from this, they're also present in over 10 gourmet food websites and have tie-ups with cafés and restaurants. The sales have increased three times over in three months and the team has been adding close to 15 POS every month.
The customer today is generally more aware and is fitness conscious. There are several health snacks and health drink brands like Yoga Bars and Valencia Drinks. Reports (as mentioned in the Business Standard) suggest that the health food industry is pegged at Rs 22,500 crores and has a CAGR of 20 per cent. "The key trend that can be seen evolving is a preventive vs curative approach towards health and lifestyle concerns, due to which functional, nutritional and value-added foods are are expected to occupy an important place in this expanding market," adds Jasmine. Internationally, however, the healthy snacks market is more evolved and has far greater options and brands.
The Green Snack Co wants to make healthy snacking mainstream in India. The team plans to introduce a range of tasty and healthy snacking options. It also intends to expand the network and be available at all major food retailers in all the metros and mini metros in the near future.
"The plan is to continue building a strong team and have back-end support, which can help extend the brand to other target markets, as well as nurture the company’s strategy of disrupting the snacking space by introducing products that contribute real value to the consumer’s health and wellness," concludes Jasmine.