This woman entrepreneur wants everyone to ‘live life on the veg’ with her range of three-minute gourmet snacks
From her clandestine wedding, establishing businesses in Nigeria, Goa, and Port Blair, to being featured on Lonely Planet, Aneeta Myint’s life has been eventful in many ways.
A rebel who followed her own path, Aneeta married her line manager, Myint, a Burmese, after completing her hotel management. They were both risk-takers, and their combined passion for entrepreneurship led to China Room and chain of restaurants and beach resort in Port Blair till the tsunami struck the island in 2004.
“Since then, I have donned various hats in the F&B sector – the most satisfying being the brains behind the Dhishoom chain of restaurants in London. My four decades of F&B experience has led to mYints-3-minutes – a new entrepreneurial venture,” Aneeta says.
Launched in April 2021, mYints 3-minutes is a heat and eat range of gourmet frozen party snacks with all items curated in the low calorie, fine dining range, ready to heat and eat in three minutes.
Changing the taste of vegetarian snacks
Aneeta explains that in India, the frozen food category mostly features cheap starch – deep-fried potatoes and maida-based frozen snacks, especially in the vegetarian categories.
“We thought of something tastier and non-fried. Enough of the French fries and alu tikkis,” she adds.
The vision, she says, is to be the go-to-brand of choice for ready-to-eat snacks made from farm fresh and dairy fresh produce in ISO certified production facilities.
mYints 3-minutes is available in six cities in North India at premium physical stores. It has production facilities across India – Bengaluru, Mumbai, Nashik, Kashipur, and Noida. NCR being the largest market in vegetarian snacking segment, was its first choice.
By the end of first year, the brand hopes to be present in over 10+ cities across retail, B2C, and HORECA segments.
“The range of products launched during Phase I include Herbed Baby Potatoes with Tomato Sesame Seeds Dip; Grilled Veggies with Special Thai Dip; Paneer Mix Cigars with Honey Mustard Dip; Stuffed Mushrooms with Sunset Red Dip; and Paneer Pesto Fingers with Chef's Special Sauce. I would say, ‘live life on the veg’,” Aneeta explains.
The recipes are in the fusion pan Asian taste, and very different from the other brands available in the market.
“There are other smaller differentiators. Why should you dip everything into the tomato ketchup and kill the taste of the recipe? All our products come with their chef curated, exclusive dip. Each of our dips has been uniquely paired for that recipe only,” she adds.
Adding more to the range
There are nine products at the R&D stage, and within the next 9-15 months, Aneeta plans to launch a range of organic and vegan products as well.
While Aneeta is the brains behind the company, growth and operations is handled by the other three co-founders - Ashok Bansal, an MBA from ISB- Hyderabad and an engineer from DTU with 30 years experience in India and abroad; Ankush Myint, who has led chains of pubs and restaurants in last 10+ years; and Dinesh Murthy, a computer engineer, the technology brain.
The market for frozen snacks is expected to cross Rs 5,000 crore in the next three-four years, and Aneeta pegs mYints 3-minutes as a cross-over brand, as the products can be enjoyed as party or drinks snacks as well as mini-meals – for that urge and hunger between lunch and dinner. It is priced between Rs 167-328.
The brand follows an omni-channel go-to-market strategy with offline supermarket stores, third party ecommerce platforms and company-owned B2C in the Retail segment.
“We are also working towards a direct B2C model. By the second year, we will be across all channels - B2C, ecommerce, and offline channels, in 15 cities across the country, in retail as well as HORECA segments,” she says.
At present, the brand is present in 90+ physical outlets within three months of its launch and is expanding rapidly.
The founders chipped in with seed funding in the beginning. Thereafter, they had a “friends and family round” of around $75k in December 2020.
“This is a capex heavy industry, especially when you produce products with world class quality norms in ISO 22000 and BRC compliant production facilities. We are exploring the right partners for our expansion funds. It’s actually a pity that in the largest vegetarian eating country of the world, vegetarian specialty and veg focussed brands are rare. And not a single new brand focussed on gourmet vegetarian snacking is available,” she adds.
Aneeta says the challenges during the pandemic were three-fold - disruption in production, in supply chain and establishing customer reach.
The period was difficult as they could not organise brand promotions or samplings. But she adds that their perseverance paid off and the brand clocked almost Rs 10 lakh in sales in the first eight weeks, all of which was in the lockdown period.
She also has some pragmatic words of advice to other women entrepreneurs.
“Leave a legacy behind that will make the next generation proud. Women entrepreneurs leave a much more lasting imprint on their families, society, and the subsequent generations,” she says.