Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the cornerstones of good long-term health, but during our fast-paced work days we may sometimes be forced either to indulge in junk food or even skip meals. When experiencing hunger pangs, most youngsters now rely on the multiple food-tech apps for a ‘quick fix’ of junk food. Then there are others who skip breakfast or other meals because of lack of time and other reasons.
On a regular basis, both scenarios can pose long-term health risks. While there may be no one-size-fits-all solution to these pain points, a Mumbai-based startup— myDaily Meal—claims to have a solution they consider ‘the future of food’.
Founded by Anurag Kedia, Saurabh Garg and Sunil Rao, myDaily is positioning itself as a ‘perfectly engineered meal replacement shake’ that provides the exact nutrients required by the human body in one meal. The founders have almost 10 years of prior experience in the health and fitness space through parent company, Four Fountains De-Stress Spa, which they have been running for close to a decade.
Currently available in three variants—neutral, chocolate, and vanilla, each pack of myDaily consists of 115g of powder that has a fourth of an adult’s daily nutritional requirements including energy, proteins, carbs, fats, fibre, 12 essential vitamins, and 13 minerals.
myDaily is prepared using ingredients of natural origin and the startup claims that it has no added preservatives or artificial colours, and is trans-fat-free. The startup has got approval from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and its ingredients have been deemed safe and not known to cause any side effects.
Available for immediate consumption, the powder needs to be mixed with 350 ml of water and shaken till it reaches one’s desired consistency. Talking about the product, Anurag, Co-founder of myDaily, who is an IIT Bombay and IIMA graduate, said,
It is a unique product with nutrition and convenience coming together. It is manufactured at a 3P location in Himachal Pradesh and meets all stringent quality standards as required for a food product.
As entrepreneurs themselves, the founding team noticed that they and people around them generally struggled with managing their diets effectively. Regular travellers and people with tight schedules were generally worse off. Saurabh, Business Head at myDaily, is also an IIT Bombay and IIMA graduate. He said, "Almost any working professional in today's fast-paced life has to face this problem multiple times in a week."
So they decided to develop a product that was healthy, required no cooking time and could also be consumed quickly. The three founders, together with a team of formulators and under the guidance of Ezhil Arasan, an ex-Dr Reddy's Research Scientist and a consultant with various nutraceutical and nutrition companies, worked on it. Sunil, co-founder, who is an SPJIMR alumnus said,
The single guiding principle was that it should be the healthiest meal possible, and should replace any meal completely giving entire nutrition as required by the body. It should make you full for four to five hours, till your next meal.
It took the team almost a year of experimentation to get the product right, as they were particular about both the taste and nutritional profile. Ezhil, the scientific mind behind myDaily, noted,
We started with looking at the entire 334 pages of Recommended Dietary Allowance by the Indian Council of Medical Research and doing various analyses to get the nutrition requirements. Then came the lab samples and post tens of iterations and hundreds of tasting sessions, we have a product that we are proud of.
Saurabh notes that while most of the food-tech players in India have been working around logistics and delivery, almost none have worked on the scientific aspect of food and improving it. He said, "We believe that this is the real food-tech. In our busy lives we end up either skipping a meal or eating junk food due to lack of time at least 10—15 times in a month. This positions myDaily as a perfect solution to this urban problem.”
MyDaily has been selling their product through their own website, e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart, and also through their offline chains through Four Fountains outlets.
So far the startup has mainly relied on online channels and some offline events at select corporate offices to reach out to their target audience. As parent company Four Fountains is already in the healthcare space, they have easy access to an existing pool of possible customers.
Over the past few months the company has gained 1000 customers and the product is priced at Rs 1250 for 10 packets across all variants. There is also an option to buy individual packs or packs of three. Saurabh admits that it is still early days and there is a small barrier to entry as potential customers need to be educated about the product and its benefits. While there is probably a market of early adopters who would readily try it, there will be others who might want more social validation before embracing it.
The food-tech market was estimated to be a $50 billion market in 2015, growing at 16–20 percent year on year. Saurabh noted that they are going after a subset of this market that consists of ‘skipped meals’ and junk food and estimates it to be at $10 billion considering only urban India. He said
myDaily has immense growth potential. Apart from it being a business opportunity, we feel that skipping meals is a genuine problem as it leads to various health issues.
On the global scale, Andreessen Horowitz-backed Soylent is one of the early entrants in this space and it currently caters to the American and Canadian markets. The company recently announced the launch of Soylent 2.0 and its expansion plans through Amazon Launchpad. Closer home in India, we have another startup—SupermealX—that labels itself as India’s answer to Soylent, which is currently shipping its second batch.
While these are baby steps, there are other more ambitious initiatives that aim to change the ‘future of food’ by improving food on the molecular level. Hampton Creek backed by Horizon and Khosla Ventures is an interesting food-tech company that is specialising in the development of plant-based mayo, cookies, and cookie dough.
myDaily believes that the problem they are going after affects millions of people every day across the globe. So while their short-term goal is to capture the Indian market through multiple offline and online channels, their long-term goal is to expand to other global markets with similar needs. Saurabh added,
We would also look at some strategic alliances and have already started getting enquiries from markets like the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the like. This is a global problem and we feel that we can definitely look at a global brand with myDaily.
Based on customer feedback, myDaily is estimating demand and also exploring what other variants they should include in the future. Also, going forward, they aim to provide shakers with their product and are also planning to introduce ‘mini meals’ for consumers who are looking for a replacement for a smaller snack. Currently bootstrapped, myDaily aims to raise a funding round in the future based on their growth and needs.
You can check out and place an order on their website- myDaily Meal