Need a snack and seeking something healthy? Supa Star Foods has some answers for you
Gurugram-based Supa Star Foods manufactures healthy snacks made from corn and aims to bring disruptive products to cater to changing lifestyles.
At a Glance
Startup: Supa Star Foods
Where it is based: Gurugram
Founders: Pawan Raj Kumar, Shoaib Kohli and Suupratik Deb
Year it was founded: 2015
Sector: Food and Beverages
When the hunger demon strikes, nothing else makes sense. Commonsense and health awareness fly out of the window and you just want that quick bite. Sounds familiar? Each one of us has gone through this experience sometime or the other and most often, while we wish there were healthy alternatives, we reach out to fried and sugary snacks.
With fast-paced lifestyles, people are also increasingly having meals at odd hours, leading to increased snacking. With the idea to bring disruptive products that cater to a changing lifestyle, Pawan Raj Kumar, Shoaib Kohli and Suupratik Deb started Supa Star Foods.
The team first launched the business with the brand Supacorn in April 2015, which made healthy snacks with corn. The founders decided on corn as Suupratik was in the corn business for close to a decade, and understood the product and the market. Suupratik and his family were involved in contract farming with local farmers near Bengaluru, and had a land base of over 300 acres.
Setting up the plant
The team decided to build a factory in the close proximity of the raw material, and in need of the right machinery, equipment and expertise, reached out to manufacturing experts. Pawan was in touch with an official from Continental Equipment India, a food-service equipment manufacturer.
“The layout of the plant, the material used, material inflow, lighting, air flow and all that required the standard operating procedures (SOPs), were set up. One of them, an investor, invested in the company and became our partner as well. We continue to build and expand as the need for building SOPs never stopped,” says Pawan.
The team buys corn seeds and provides it to farmers, who in turn grow the right quality of crop with the help of the team. Since Suupratik has experience in farming and food retail, it was easy for him to help them with the technology and support.
“Once the crop is ready, we harvest it, where the crop is washed, cleaned, and de-husked before entering the plant. Apart from FSSAI, our manufacturing plant has been designed for HACCP/ ISO certifications. We will be going for the certifications shortly. We use TUV and other such accredited labs to carry out various tests,” says Pawan.
Supa Corn sells, different flavoured corn kernels like Peri-Peri and Chipotle, apart from fresh corn kernels, and corn cobs. Once the corn is harvested are they packaged immediately. The team claims to use a proprietary patent pending packaging technology, called Oxyfresh, which they use to pack and sterilise the corn. The team claims that this helps the product stay fresh and free of any micro-organism growth of close to nine months.
After working on Supacorn, the team started Misht. It was Pawan’s mentor and business partner Sandeep Kohli who gave them the idea of Misht, a new-age mithai. Sandeep believed that the traditional mithai had to go the chocolate way to appeal to the millennials.
After extensive research, they came up with the idea of packing individual mithai pieces in order to give them a higher shelf life at ambient temperatures for the convenience in eating, storing and even buying. Currently, the manufacturing and packaging for Misht is outsourced to Chandigarh, as the expertise needed for making sweets is different. The team is looking to expand its vendor base.
Setting up the retail base
“Our biggest challenge and focus has been the retail network. It is very clear to us that for the product to sell, it has to be on the retail shelves. We simply worked hard on this aspect, and learnt on the job. Supacorn is today available in close to 3,000 shops across the country, and will be reaching 5,000 shops soon,” says Pawan.
He adds that the order size varies according to retailers. “One Big Bazaar will order 300 to 500 units, while a small retailer orders 10-12 units only,” explains Pawan. Supacorn is sold to the retailers in units, depending on the quantity the retailers take, one unit is sold for either Rs 42 or Rs 52. Misht is sold at various price points depending on the quantity the retailer takes, which would cost Rs 40 to Rs 50 per box. Pawan adds that the margins are at 20 t0 40 percent.
Supa Star now competes with the Britannia, ITC and Haldirams, who are also getting into the healthy snacking space. The company’s competitors also include Snackible, Fabbox, Poshtick and Evolve Snacks.
The team aims to have a presence in 10,000 store in the next 12 to 18 months, with a stable increase in the number of products. They are targeting sales of Rs 100 crore in the next two years. According to a Research and Markets report, the Indian snacks market will touch $1 billion by 2024.
The team also intends to add more product and product categories, reaching close to 30 SKU’s. For Misht, the team again intends to add more SKU’s, set up a sales network and new vendor bases.