The perils of the modern, convenient life, which we are so used to, have started surfacing through the findings of new researches every now and then.
The most recent being the one that showed prolonged high intakes of acrylamide — a chemical found in baked, fried and grilled foods such as crisps, chips, bread, biscuits, crackers, and breakfast cereals — could cause nerve damage, affect male fertility and trigger cancer.
Being a mother of a young child, Aditi Gokhale, 36, understood the need for safe food first-hand. Having been an integral part in scaling up the fresh produce business of agri-biotech major, Mahyco, she was exposed to the high quality standards of fresh produce in the developed world. She combined this experience with her passion for entrepreneurship and co-founded All Things Organic with the mission to make a safe and healthy lifestyle access to all.
How entrepreneurship beckoned
An alumna of IIM Bangalore, Aditi worked as a strategy consultant with BCG and Korn Ferry with the top management teams of leading companies across sectors, supporting them on strategic problem-solving and helping create, operationalise business strategies. However, all along this journey, Aditi was passively contemplating doing something of her own and was always drawn to building something from scratch.
To fuel her entrepreneurial instincts, she decided to plunge into business operations and joined the fledgling fresh produce business of Mahyco and spent four years successfully scaling up their trade business across Europe.
Around the same time, she happened to interact with Gunjan Soni (CMO, Myntra), an avid consumer of organic food, who got her thinking about starting something in the organic foods space. Aditi also met her Co-founder Aman Singal through Gunjan.
All Things Organic’s product portfolio caters to the various everyday needs of a household. It also allows the customer to trace where their food is coming from, thus linking the farm to the consumer.
“Our focus is to bring in unique and exclusive products and making the entire organic experience real for our customers, all in a socially responsible way,” says Aditi.
All Things Organic’s website was launched in September 2015 and the brand’s comprehensive product portfolio boasts of some of the country’s best organic brands such as 24 Mantra, Organic India, and Indiphile to name a few. Their exclusive home brand ‘Organic Origins’ also encompasses a wide range of products, including fruits, vegetables, groceries, and a range of processed items made from organic ingredients. Apart food products, the brand also offers an entire range of cosmetics, clothes, and homecare necessities for the customer to choose from.
What are they doing differently?
All Things Organic’s Farm Traceability Program for certified fresh produce called, FOOTPRINTS, allows the customer to trace fruits and vegetables under the brand’s private label, Organic Origins, back to their respective farms using a QR code. Based on the consumer insights unearthed over the past few months, the brand is now looking to focus on three researched need gaps.
- International and Indian favourites for children
- Homemade recipes which in today’s time most families find difficult to make for themselves
- Launch a wide array of products in the healthy snacks
“All Things Organic does not only showcase known brands but is dedicated to uncovering hidden gems from remote parts of India and potentially around the world,” says Aditi. The brand also consciously promotes products made by Not for Profit, underprivileged or women worker groups with a dedicated section on the website.
Operating in a highly competitive space
A PwC-FiCCI report stated that the nutrition foods, snacks, beverages, and supplements market is growing at a CAGR of 10 to 12 percent in a Rs 14,500 to 15,000-crore market. From 2004 to 2013 alone, the sales in this category grew from Rs 8,000 crore to a whopping Rs 47,000 crore. It is believed that urban India specifically has led to the most growth in this segment. However, the FMCG market is one of the most competitive and difficult markets to break into.
All Things Organic has had a fairly successful run so far with over 75 percent of its orders coming from repeat customers. While both founders, Aditi and Aman Singhal, have invested in the venture, they are also seed-funded by Gunjan Soni and S K Tuteja. Gunjan is the Chief Marketing Officer at Myntra, an ex McKinsey partner and former head of Strategy at Star India. S K Tuteja serves as a Director on the Board of various Indian public and private companies.
The founders are now looking to raise the next round of funding. The startup has its offices in Delhi and Mumbai and delivers its entire range of products, including farm fresh fruits and vegetables in these cities. All other products except perishables are shipped pan-India.
Aditi and her team are chasing some really steep targets in a highly competitive space. They are targeting 20,000 households with monthly spending of Rs 4000 per month along with their private label sales. While the numbers and competition are keeping Aditi on her toes, it’s her undying passion for entrepreneurship that drives her to do better with every passing day.
“My experiences as an entrepreneur have been very fulfilling. While the last few months undoubtedly have been very challenging, the satisfaction of seeing your dreams take shape every day, more than compensates for the long hours. Listen to the customer, keep trying out various possibilities.” She signs off.