This vertical commerce startup wants to build the Nykaa for healthy snacks and breakfasts
It is no secret that the pandemic has altered our diets, eating habits, and lifestyles over the last 15 months. What it has also done is often make us skip traditional meals in favour of, what the F&B market calls, “on-the-go snacks”.
With a majority of the urban population switching to work from home indefinitely, ‘munching while working’ has become ubiquitous. Now consumers want to buy products that are nutritious, tasty, and delivered at their doorstep.
Global market research firm Mintel indicates that one in five Indians snacks three times a day or more.
“Time-pressed lifestyles coupled with easy availability of snacks is fuelling snacking frequency among Indian consumers. With an increasing number of consumers snacking multiple times a day and disregarding set mealtimes, the line between snack and breakfast foods is likely to be blurred,” it stated in a 2020 report.
Simply put, an all-day snacking revolution is brewing in India.
The demand for healthy snacking options, especially, is on the rise post the pandemic, with consumers becoming more mindful about the nutritional value of food. Subscription-based healthy snack boxes are on the rise too.
To make inroads into this burgeoning market, first-time entrepreneurs Shreya Shah, Shashank Kutty, and Saurabh Mishra started Reyfeber in July 2020.
What is Reyfeber and what it solves
The Mumbai-based startup serves as an online marketplace that fulfils all your healthy snacking and eating needs.
It aggregates 1,200+ snacking options from 65-odd brands from across India. Reyfeber products cover six core food categories — essentials, spreads, bars, trail mixes, snacks, and beverages.
From cereals, protein, and granola bars to healthy teas, coffees, and immunity-building juices and low-calorie chips, cookies, and snacks to gluten-free and diabetic-friendly food, Reyfeber offers a wide assortment of products.
It all started with the founders’ own hunt for healthy snacks during the lockdown.
Co-founder Shreya tells YourStory,
“When we switched to work from home in March 2020, we didn't have the time to exercise or make elaborate meals. So, we started researching healthy snacks. What we found was that there were 100+ segments in healthy snacking, but those were not available under one roof. We had no direction in terms of where to find the best products or understand what was good for us.”
The idea of Reyfeber came about in April 2020. As the founders spoke to more people in the 30-45 age group, they realised that there were two kinds of buyers.
“One that seeks healthy snacks but faces a sourcing problem. Their intent to eat healthy is 90 percent, but accessibility is 60-65 percent. And the other, that doesn’t know where to start,” Co-founder Shashank explains.
Reyfeber set out to serve both customer segments. It went live with its platform in October, as India’s domestic consumption started to recover slowly.
Shashank says, “The adoption is higher in metros and Tier I cities because the awareness around healthy food is high in these areas. In Tier-II cities like Baroda, Bhopal, Nagpur, Nashik, and Mysuru, we’re making people aware of healthier substitutes, and helping them in the consideration-to-purchase journey.”
Blending commerce and content — Nykaa style
Reyfeber founders are inspired by the aggregation model of Nykaa, one of India’s most successful vertical commerce startups (and soon to be a unicorn).
They want to build their platform into a one-stop destination for all health food purchases, recipes, guidance, communities, fitness content, and so on.
On one hand, Reyfeber gives visibility to niche, local brands — the likes of Hola (Gujarat), Grameen Way (Bengaluru), and others — helping them reach pan-India customers by taking care of shipping and deliveries. On the other, it is onboarding nutritionists, dietary experts, and home cooks to educate users on healthy eating.
Reyfeber also uses third-party AI and ML to create health scores for users to help them make more informed food choices. “We want to normalise a healthy eating routine, and encourage people to move away from goal-oriented eating,” say the founders.
Last month, the startup launched nutritionist videos focused on health and wellness. “The nutritionists will go on to become channel partners and advocate our health products,” says Shreya. “We’re also showcasing recipes on our platform, and 45-50 percent purchases are happening through the recipe section now.”
This model of content aiding commerce is, of course, inspired by Nykaa.
“We are closer to Nykaa than Amazon because we’re a niche marketplace and there is knowledge sharing and a community aspect too,” Shreya notes.
Reyfeber also revamped its website recently to help users “shop by benefits” and do need-based searches for categories like high-protein, vegan, gluten-free, etc. It even plans to get into video commerce after the app launch later this year.
Initial traction and future roadmap
It’s still early days for the bootstrapped startup.
But the upsurge in healthy food consumption post-COVID-19, and India’s increasing appetite for niche ecommerce has put Reyfeber on a steady growth path, which is “all organic”, according to the founders.
Add to that, the entry of Zomato in the dietary supplements space in March, and the spotlight has firmly shifted to the health and wellness food market.
Reyfeber claims over 15,000 active users on its platform, with orders shipped to 24,000+ pincodes. Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai are top markets, with Tier II cities catching up. The startup’s average basket size has gone up to Rs 920 in the last two months.
Shashank shares, “We’re seeing user stickiness, and also the stocking of products. If someone is buying chips, they’re picking up 5-6 flavours in one basket. For cereals and muesli, they’re buying the bigger 1 kg packs. Our monthly revenues went up by 35 percent in May, and repeat transactions have gone up by 40-45 percent.”
A report by Grand View Research estimates that the global healthy snacks market will reach nearly $33 billion by 2025, with India (and other emerging economies) being the fastest-growing territories.
“The consumption of healthy snacks is growing on account of their ability to meet various dietary requirements such as sugar-free, low salt content, and low cholesterol levels,” states the report.
“Rising consumer focus on nutritional values of the product has also worked in favour of the market. Soaring need for on-the-go snacks coupled with increasing spending capacities can stoke the growth of the market,” it adds.
Reyfeber has domestic peers like Snackible, FabBox, EvolveSnacks, and others. The startup recently conducted a pilot in Singapore, and is readying for a wider rollout in Southeast Asia by the end of the year. It is also in talks with VCs to raise a seed round of Rs 1 crore to fuel its growth and expansion plans.
While Reyfeber currently operates on a B2C model, it will soon get into the B2B segment too. “Employee wellness is a big area to explore. We plan to offer bulk health food packages to corporations at discounted prices,” Shashank says.
Access to healthy eating has never been easier.
Edited by Megha Reddy