This online health and nutrition startup grew 2.5X amid the pandemic due to a surge in demand for healthy food
Paraj Primlani struggled with weight problem and obesity throughout his teenage years. The social apathy and feeling of being left out led to routine dispiritedness.
After finishing school and deciding to pursue chartered accountancy, Paraj realised that it was absolutely necessary for him to change up his routine, lifestyle, and fitness levels. He began working out daily, researched fitness blogs, interviews, and best fitness practices, and managed to shed 28 kg in 8 months, bringing his weight down from 88 kg to 60kg!
In 2018, he decided to start a fitness firm to share his learnings and discoveries. Delhi-based fitness platform ParaFit began life as an Instagram page.
Two years later, when the COVID-19 pandemic locked down India and fitness and nutrition became everyone’s priority, Paraj decided to expand his business.
“We started with pre-recorded workout videos along with nutrition consultation. But nutrition has always been the major focus for us,” Paraj tells YourStory.
As the platform started to see a community grow, the founder launched the ParaFit website and entered the food delivery segment with curated meals – all this amid the pandemic.
The bootstrapped firm, which has seen an investment of up to Rs 1.5 crore so far, caters to people who want to lose weight and also have dietary restrictions.
“The menu is completely designed according to a person’s dietary routine and restrictions and/or the goal they are aiming for. It also changes every week and according to consumer preference,” Paraj says.
The 40-member team offers at least five diet plans in different categories, including for PCOS and diabetes, delivering across Delhi and NCR. ParaFit claims the number of orders grew 2.5x during the pandemic, and the firm is currently delivering 450 meals per day to 200 consumers. Apart from selling through its own website, the firm also sells their food products on food delivery aggregators, including Swiggy and Zomato.
The fitness firm also has a delivery team to deliver orders subscribed directly on its website.
ParaFit also has an app, where people can track their nutrition, step count, keep track of their diet, and also get healthy food recipes.
The business model
Paraj claims the firm reached breakeven point in the first six months of the business. The firm made Rs 96 lakh revenue in FY20, according to documents filed with the Registrar of Companies. It is targeting a growth of 35 percent revenue in FY22.
More than 50 percent of the startup's revenue comes from subscription plans, and the rest comes from online nutrition consultations and food deliveries. But getting into the food space was not easy for the firm.
“People wanted to get in shape, but they were also worried about ordering food from outside during the first wave,” Paraj says.
The firm saw a 30-40 percent dip in food ordering within the first two months of the lockdown, and disruption in delivery and logistics. But the second wave brought a hike of 20-40 percent in food orders as more people started looking for healthy food alternatives.
ParaFit has been growing steadily since then and is now looking to expand in new cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, and Chandigarh.
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According to Statista, revenue in the online food delivery market is expected to reach $25,416 million by 2025, as the space is expected to grow 16.23 percent CAGR.
The sector is heating up in India with online food delivery startups and multiple health food cloud kitchens launching on Swiggy and Zomato. ParaFit competes with Mumbai-based Food Darzee. Former Cure.Fit executive Ankit Nagori is reportedly raising funds for Eat.Fit, Cure.Fit’s former food vertical.
“Going forward, we want to be in more cities and get as many people fit as possible,” says Paraj.