Meet Sakshi Bakshi, who is bringing healthy and tasty meals to your doorstep
After working with several pharma companies, Sakshi Bakshi realised that a lot of health conditions, especially metabolic disorders, can be managed with dietary and lifestyle management.
However, it is not easy for most people to stick to a diet plan in the long term as they either get bored of it or crave certain tastes and food.
Thus, Sakshi decided to start Delhi-NCR-based Nucros Science and Taste in 2020, which helps people realise their health goals with no compromise on taste or variety.
“My vision is to create a world where nobody will have to compromise with taste to achieve their health goals. Nucros' mission is to provide complete convenience and deliver nutrient-calculated and macros-calculated tasty and healthy meals on a subscription basis right to your doorstep,” Sakshi tells HerStory.
Cooking to pharma sector
After completing her business management degree from Singapore Management University, Sakshi worked with a few consulting firms in the healthcare sector, including pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and healthcare service providers.
Being born in a family of doctors, she was always inclined to do something to promote a shift towards a healthier life.
In fact, growing up watching shows like MasterChef, Sakshi converted her passion for food by learning culinary techniques from Le Cordon Bleu, London, which helped her when she decided to launch Nucros.
“I am most passionate about making a long-term impact in people’s lives. Nucros helps improve people’s lifestyle for a lifetime. It allows them to develop better eating habits, enhancing both their physical and mental health. They become more confident about their body image and themselves. It also helps reverse chronic health conditions, including diabetes, PCOS, etc., and minimises adverse effects like the risk of heart disease, cancer, etc., by using natural ingredients instead of medicines,” says Sakshi.
Creating a plan
Nucros Science aims to solve two problems:
1. Most people who try to follow doctor/dietician-prescribed diet plans at home are unable to follow them for long since they are restrictive, the ingredients are difficult to procure, or the recipes are difficult to prepare. Thus, the startup provides customised and freshly cooked meals at the doorstep.
2. Most people find diet food lacking in taste and end up cheating most of the days.
“At Nucros, we combine taste with nutrition. Each of our meals has measured calorific values, and they are very pleasing to the taste buds. This is what makes us different,” Sakshi explains.
However, the task wasn’t simple. Sakshi built a team of doctors and nutritionists who helped her create the right meal plans for different types of health goals, including diabetes reversal, weight loss, PCOS management, fertility and lactation boosters, etc.
Setting up operations
Sakshi also recruited chefs and conducted food trials to ensure every meal had the right nutrition and was tasty.
“This is where my culinary expertise came into play. For two months, we experimented with different types of superfoods and procured hard to find ingredients, including Blue Spirulina, Baobab, Acai, and Hemp seed, among others, from the US,” she says.
These ingredients act as nutrition powerhouses and are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.
Once the startup was ready to launch, it did a beta review among family and friends.
“After incorporating their feedback and collaborating with the delivery partners, we fully launched the business in July 2020. To my surprise, the subscription user base increased by 200 percent in one month, and that too, right in the first peak of the pandemic! There has been no going back since then,” says Sakshi.
However, it was not a smooth ride. The startup also faced the problem of customer attrition. It witnessed that when most subscribers achieved their health goals within two to three months, they wouldn’t resubscribe the plans.
To combat this issue, Nucros diversified its business portfolio to balanced meal plans for families and corporates and retail products as alternate revenue streams.
These new offerings have enabled the startup to hold on to its customer even after they discontinue their subscription plans.
Market and competition
According to Statista, in 2020, the Indian online food delivery market was worth around $4.35 billion. By 2025, the market is expected to reach a value of nearly $13 billion.
In fact, in a recent survey conducted by the company, about 21 percent of respondents said they will continue or increase their online ordering of food even after the lockdown.
On average, Nucros’ meal costs between Rs 200 and Rs 250, depending on the subscription plan. A monthly subscription can cost anywhere between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000, which includes blood test monitoring and doctor/nutritionist support. So far, the startup has raised an undisclosed seed round from friends and family.
Startups like EatFit — which had started with a subscription model —has moved to an on-demand model.
Food delivery platforms, including Delhi-NCR based BhojanTech, Noida-based Homefoodi, and Mumbai and Pune-based Authenticook, are connecting home chefs — who have seen an increased demand amidst the COVID-19 pandemic — to prospective customers.
Speaking of her learnings, Sakshi says, “As an entrepreneur, the biggest lesson I have learned is to be agile. The quicker you make a decision, the quicker you can succeed or fail at it. I have consciously tried to create a culture of trial and error at Nucros, leading the team to be more creative and empowered.”
She adds, “Another important lesson was to drive operations using technology. This has helped us in creating standardised and automated processes, where we can accommodate over 100 clients with a smaller workforce, thereby creating cost efficiencies.”
Moving forward, the startup plans to expand to other Tier I markets for its meal subscription programme. It is also planning to grow its retail products for different health concerns such as smoothie pre-mixes for boosting fertility, pregnancy, and lactation, and healthier food swaps for insulin resistance, etc.
Advising women entrepreneurs, Sakshi says, “My advice to all young entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs, would be to be fearless. I believe women have great qualities to be leaders — they are all-rounders, multi-taskers with a keen sense of attention to detail, dedicated, empathetic, and enthusiastic — all essential to pursue entrepreneurship. Hence, don’t give up on your dreams, and don’t be afraid of failures. Failures help you grow, and as long as you are growing, you are definitely succeeding. So, continue to strive forward and don’t lose motivation.”