Made in China. It is a label that often conjures up images of inexpensive electronic products. But for Sreejith Moolayil and Puru Gupta, it was the inspiration for their startup, Healthyworld. And what better inspiration for Healthyworld’s healthfood brand, True Elements, than the land of green tea. But while the benefits of Chinese green tea may have triggered the idea, True Elements sources its raw material from different parts of India.
True Elements has a portfolio of more than 30 products, which includes breakfast cereals, tea, snacks and health supplements. HealthyWorld as such has 3000 products that not only promote nutritious food products, but also educate customers to compare and validate what they are eating.
Sreejith and Puru saw that the growing demand for wellness products was largely based on ‘want’ rather than ‘need’, fuelled by increased awareness, rising disposable incomes, and new government guidelines.
This trend, coupled with the need for health solutions, had created a surge in demand for nutritious and functional food products. After looking at different permutations and combinations, the duo decided on the space of healthy foods.
"Many Diseases are still in a preventable stage - and one can mitigate the impact or reduce the side effects with proper diet and nutrition," says Puru.
This trend, coupled with the need for health solutions with demonstrated efficacy, has created surged demand for nutritious food products. They launched in Delhi and began with distribution with the intent of owning the entire supply chain of health products.
However, the duo soon realised that their strength was in building customer relationships. Thus, they decided to pivot to an e-commerce platform. Armed with their strength in building customer relationships, they launched their e-commerce platform HealthyWorld in 2014, and subsequently they launched True Elements in 2015.
It helps customers identify and validate functional foods (foods that have a health benefit associated with them and reduce the risk of diseases) and buy them directly on one platform. "Many diseases are still preventable – and one can mitigate the impact or reduce side effects with proper diet and nutrition," says Puru.
"Since our launch in April 2015, we have already become one of the top food suppliers on Amazon and are present with almost every online grocery player," adds Puru. Their offline presence is currently limited to Mumbai and Pune, where they are focusing on driving distribution in key category stores.
In December 2014, Healthyworld raised $15,00,00 from a group of investors. At that time, they were doing around Rs. 3-4 lakhs worth of business each month from e-commerce. "And now, we are on our way to reaching a Rs. one crore topline by March 2016, growing more than 30 times in less than 15 months. We are also in the process of raising Series A in the next few months," adds Puru.
The team is in the process of building a tech-based validation platform for customers, which should be out in the next couple of months. If you look at the numbers, the healthfood market, especially the market for cereal/granola bars and energy/nutrition bars, is projected to be close to $8.3 billion by 2016 in the US.
Other brands like RiteBite and Nature’s Value, too, have begun gaining popularity. These brands were established around 2005-2006, when the idea was relatively unknown in India. Today, the market for fitness products is growing exponentially, with nearly 40 per cent of Indians looking for health and fitness-related products.