This Mumbai-based startup aims to be the ‘new-age Haldirams’ for health-conscious professionalsSindhu Kashyap
In the fast-paced world with strict deadlines and timelines, more often than not, we end up ignoring our health. Indulging in unhealthy snack at odd hours causes more damage to our lifestyle. Snackible thus aims to provide a solution to this.
Snackible intends to revolutionalise the Indian snacking industry by introducing to a premium range of healthy snacks at reasonable prices and with convenient access. Launched in May 2015, the idea of Snackible was conceptualised while Aditya Sanghavi was working at Themis, a consulting company in Mumbai.
Solving the ‘snack crunch’ problem
Aditya noticed that there were certain eating patterns that were common at all workplaces. “What I understood is that a couple of hours post the much-awaited lunch break, mostly between 4:30 and 6 PM, a lot of my colleagues would find themselves compulsively snacking on all kinds of unhealthy snacks, ranging from fried snacks delivered by roadside hawkers to highly processed and packaged snacks that are available over the counter,” says 25-year-old Aditya.
He also saw that while most people had made a resolve to start eating healthier meals during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, however, when it came to mid-meal snacking there was a sheer lack of choice of healthy, nutritious, and tasty snacks, with competitive price points.
During one of his usual rounds at a supermarket, what became evident is that although there were a few healthy snacking options available at select supermarkets, such as Nature’s Basket and Food Hall, these snacks are generally priced at what most working people may categorise as expensive.
He realised that the biggest problem to getting on a good snacking regime was that there is also a clear trade-off between health and taste. For instance, high fiber cookies taste nothing like my favourite chocolate chip cookies; and multigrain diet khakra is clearly nothing close to our much-loved tea time khakra. Also, you don’t easily get the healthy snacking options off mom-and-pop stores.
“What if we could log onto a website that listed out a variety of snacks, which met our taste and health requirements and that allowed us to select our choice of snacks? And what if this website made our lives easy by delivering these snacks right to our doorstep? I wanted to take this solution a step further,” adds Aditya.
Having studied at Cardiff University, UK, Aditya knew from experience that there were a few subscription models that would allow one to order snacks for a time period. Following a similar model, Aditya set up Snackible with a subscription model that ensures customers get a box of healthy and tasty snacks at affordable prices at their doorsteps.
Roping in the team
Once the website and model was setup, Aditya roped in Arjun Mehta as the Head of marketing and strategy. Arjun has a degree in Political Science and History from McGill University, Canada, and has worked at MidDay and at the law firm, AZB & Partners.
Aman Tuljapurkar joined in as the Head of business development and sales. Aman has graduated with a degree in Economics from New York University. Nibhrant Shah, a serial entrepreneur and angel investor, joined in as the strategic advisor.
Snackible currently comprises a team of 11 people who are spread across operations, packaging and quality control, food innovation, marketing, business development, and sales. Aditya says that they also work with different food technologists and nutritionists from across the country, on contract, to innovate their healthy snacks.
The manufacturing process
The entire gamut of sourcing raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, and distribution is taken care in-house. Aditya says that each process is different for different products. Aditya says that after the team had decided to startup in the healthy snacking space, they decided to source the raw materials from different parts of the country.
Citing an example of one of their products – Himalayan Black Salt Apple Chips, Aditya says that for this product the team went to an organic farm in Himachal Pradesh. This is where the apples are sourced from during season. These apples are then sent to a nearby manufacturing setup. Again the team found this setup during their field work in Himachal, who in turn manufactures the chips and ships it to the team’s warehouse at Ghatkopar, Mumbai.
At the warehouse, the team then tests and checks the quality of the snacks brought in. In the initial days they had roped in Ishmeet Chandiok, known in the food business for quality check. Today, the process runs seamlessly. For each product the manufacturing process and setups are different.
At present, Snackible has 17 items created by their in-house product innovation team. They add approximately three new snacks every month. The current list includes products such as Whole Wheat Waffles, Himalayan Black Salt Apple Chips, Seedy Trail Mix, Hot Wasabi Peanuts, and Baked Bhakarwadi.
Traction and growth
“We are using website behaviour data to constantly improve our product portfolio as well as our technology. We are working on some radical technological changes to improve the customer experience and streamline the back-end operations,” adds Aditya.
The team claims that they are currently growing at 25 per cent weekly, have customers from 38 cities across India, and have processed over 6,000orders. They have recently ventured into retail operations and are in the process of finalising talks with distributors to give them direct access to 3,500 modern trade shops in Mumbai alone. They plan to sell through retail channels in all metros within the next three months.
Snackible has raised seed funding from Nibhrant, who is also the CEO of Themis. Aditya adds that their proprietary algorithm that uses big data and analytics will soon be able to curate a box for the customer based on his exact dietary/personal preferences.
With the growing focus and awareness towards health and rising affluence has made healthy snacks a significant segment in the snacking industry. A report by the PwC-FICCI suggests that the healthy foods, beverages, and other supplements segment comprise a Rs. 14,500 to 15,000 crore market in the country.
The growing popularity of the segment is seen with the number of players like Yoga Bars, Valencia, and Green Snacks among the others. However, the healthy snacking industry is still very niche in India. Even today, Haldirams brings in a revenue of Rs. 3500 crore, which is more than the combined revenue of biggies like McDonalds and Dominos. It will take a lot of efforts for brands venturing into the healthy snacking segment to break into this market. They will need to be truly innovative and different.