That hospitals need good food is known – this F&B startup decided to do something about it
Nutriparadise is a B2B food and beverage company that makes food products tailored for hospitals.
At a glance
Founded in the year: 2014
Founder: Vijay Surya
Based out of: Bengaluru
Sector: F & B
Anyone who has ever been admitted to the hospital can testify that the food is something that needs much improvement. Vijay Surya thought so too. Growing up with the belief that good food was the best medicine, he decided to combine nutrition and innovation to help hospitals give their patients a healthy alternative or substitute to regular hospital meals.
His father being a contractor and supplier to the state horticulture department in Bengaluru, gave Vijay a strong understanding of the benefits of different plants and herbs, and this helped germinate the idea of Nutriparadise.
“In the one place where we are supposed to be given nutritious food, it doesn’t always happen. I realised that not all patients could stomach all kinds of food, and the hospital had to normalise their kitchens for everyone,” says Vijay.
Started in 2014, Nutriparadise is a B2B food company that produces nutritious food products for hospitalised patients.
Currently targeting private hospitals in metro and Tier II cities in India, Nutriparadise focusses on providing a healthy alternative to regular hospital diets.
“Many hospitals use this alongside their regular foods, while some choose to sell it over-the-counter as a substitute. Either way, they are pretty popular with the patients since they are affordable to most people,” says Vijay.
While fresh food has always and will be considered more nutritious and healthy, Vijay explains that the Nutriparadise products are specifically made for those who have conditions like diabetes and is meant for hospital patients, or those under treatment wherein fresh food options are usually limited.
“Hence, NutriParadise's ready-to-eat options, wherein we have identified the perfect pairing of foods for supplemental healing that suits particular conditions. Additionally, when you are indisposed or not in a mood to cook, you get tasty food that is quick to make and nutritious,” explains Vijay.
The company currently has three products - GI-55 - a khichdi for diabetic patients, Omega-3 a chutney pudi that helps pregnant women, and ProPortion, an energy malt drink.
“We have currently tied up with several local hospitals, where our products are in great demand. In fact, the demand is more than what we are able to supply right now,” says Vijay.
The core idea came when Vijay was studying his masters in Global Entrepreneurship at iDEA. One of his projects was to understand the dietary needs and problems of patients. He saw during his travels that Germans, in general, paid attention to what they eat, and to labels on food packages.
Back in India, Vijay presented this idea at a college, where Chenraj Roychand Jain, Founder of the Jain Group of Institutions, was present. Starting from diet food, the concept evolved to developing healthy foods.
Soon, the Jain Group invested in Vijay’s company, and his friend Kushal Srinivas soon joined the team. Nutriparadise currently has a team of 120 people and has over 30 people in leadership positions.
Challenges for the company began in the research and development stages. The team wanted its products to be made from natural ingredients with no chemicals, which they believed would preserve the food’s sensory qualities and microbial safety. However, the food processing technology and infrastructure in India is still in its developing stages.
Here, being incubated by CFTRI (Central Food Technological Research Institute), India’s leading national food research laboratory, helped.
“This gave us a great boost in terms of our R&D support. We could work alongside some of the greatest researchers in the world, who helped hone our products better. They mentor us and guide us through the development of apt products for patients with different ailments,” says Vijay.
The other challenge was the procurement of raw materials. Vijay explains that some of the ingredients were not easily available in India. While it was easy to procure the raw materials for research, manufacturing and marketing was a totally different ballgame.
“We are trying to overcome these hurdles by travelling across the globe to discover advanced technologies and practicing contract-farming to obtain best quality ingredients. We are also tying up with various research centres to obtain rare ingredients,” says Vijay.
The team sources raw materials from different nutraceutical companies based out of Geneva and other Asian countries, whom they came in contact with during a Vitafoods event. Nutriparadise gets fresh produce from contract farming and the Karnataka state horticulture department.
Manufacturing process and future
Manufacturing needs suitable machinery and equipment for each product. The team is currently using CFTRI’s pilot plant facility and has also tied up with certified manufacturing units that follow national and international food manufacturing standards.
“Our products require advanced machinery to be employed for their production. One of the most important aspects for our products in ensuring hygiene and longevity. Since we do not use any preservatives, the way we package becomes important,” says Vijay.
While incorporated in 2014, the team was focussed on R&D and launched the products in late 2017. The team claims to have signed up with five hospitals in Bengaluru, and says the company’s monthly revenue is around Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh.
“Our target market is primarily hospitals, and is a key revenue generator at the moment. We intend to foray into the B2C segment - we’re getting a lot of requests for our products to be available in supermarkets - but we are still in the process of sorting that out. We are planning to set up manufacturing plants in rural industrial areas, which will also help create employment opportunities. We are also talking to Food Park India for manufacturing facilities,” says Vijay.