Bengaluru's social and economic diversity is seen in the kind of food the city consumes. Citizens are frequently looking at new kinds of food products to complement their lifestyles. From breakfast cereals and energy bars to instant mixes and healthy beverages, Bengaluru is doing it all.
The demand for these innovative and easy-to-use food products has paved the way for many F&B businesses to spring up and capitalise on the large market.
Here are some of most innovative, small F&B businesses in Bengaluru that have made a name for themselves and captured local tastebuds.
When budding entrepreneur Prashant Parameswaran was working with Data Integrating Systems for some large retail chains in the US, he spotted great potential for healthy breakfast cereals made from millets.
He started Kottaram Agro Foods in 2011 and decided to sell breakfast cereals made from millets under the brand name ‘Soulfull’. Currently, Soulfull employs 150 people and clocked a turnover of Rs 11 crore in 2017-18. Its products are retailed at 7,000 stores across 25 cities in India.
Sharon Tea has a dedicated clientele and has expanded to three branches in Bengaluru. It sells upwards of 1,000 cups in a day at the first branch at the corner of Thippasandra Road in Indiranagar. The second store near BDA Indiranagar sells over 500 cups daily, and the newly-launched branch at the ITC factory has started to record 200 cups in a day.
Forty-three-year-old Founder Daniel Muniswamy, who had leased his house to start his first tea stall, clocked a revenue of Rs 35 lakh in 2017.
Sujayraj KG, associated with Patanjali Ayurveda Chikitsalaya for two years, broke away and started his entrepreneurial journey by launching Ele Farm Hub in 2016. The company makes and sells organic food and medicinal products at low costs.
Sujayraj has invested Rs 40 lakh in this business and is now seeing a turnover of Rs 1.5 crore. The main key to success, according to him, is the frequent contact and healthy relationships the company has fostered with the farmers who supply ingredients to the company.
When Bengaluru-based techies Sheetal Swaroop and Shilpa Kona wanted to become entrepreneurs, they decided they would target people who needed a nutritious breakfast but didn’t have time for an elaborate one. “We wanted to make ready-to-eat and quick-to-serve food products to target fitness/sports enthusiasts, working professionals, travellers, young couples, and families with young children,” says Sheetal.
To them, breakfast cereals made from granola seemed like the perfect product for this market. In 2017, the duo became full-time entrepreneurs when they launched Wild Child Enterprises in Bengaluru and started selling breakfast granola under the brand Cocosutra.
In 2017, Poojitha Prasad made her dream of bringing back the taste of authentic South Indian food a reality by launching Deccan Diaries in Bengaluru. The company makes and sells various blended spice mixes and masalas. With the help of her business partner Karthik Setloor (37), the bootstrapped organisation commenced operations with an initial funding of Rs 5 lakh.
In its first year, the business earned Rs 2 lakh, and made its own spice blends at a home facility to ensure fresh and authentic taste in food. It has also started supplying to retail stores, and was one of the first in the masala category to feature on Amazon Saheli in 2018.
Unhappy with her low-paying teaching job, Mamata Hegde quit her job to become an entrepreneur. After getting some financial aid from her husband and a loan of Rs 2 lakh through the Mudra Scheme, she started Shree Nandan Creme Glacee, an ice cream parlour, in Bengaluru in 2016, with an investment of Rs 10 lakh.
She is able to attract a daily footfall of around 200 people due to the reasonable pricing of her sundaes. She says there are three people working with her at present and the company is seeing a turnover of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 12 lakh.
Adopting the best of ayurveda and modern medicine, Ankur Goyal, a Stanford graduate and Bengaluru-based entrepreneur, manufactures ‘Bioactive lifestyle beverages’ for women. Goyal’s brainchild is Merhaki Foods and Nutrition, and through the brand ‘&ME’, the company targets solving lifestyle challenges and discomforts associated with menstruation, beauty, fat metabolism, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and more.
Launched in September 2017, the company manufactures beverages (costing Rs 80 each), contain less than 80 calories, account for 30% of daily nutrition needs, and comprise only natural ingredients and no preservatives.
With an initial investment of Rs 27 lakhs, Skanda Associates was started as a Distribution Company for FMCG products with a dream and a caption ‘Distribution made easier’. “Initially, the product was outsourced and once the response and demand in the market grew there came a time to start our own small scale manufacturing unit,” founder Shilpa S says.
Today, under the Venus Hakka Noodle brand, they have different varieties of noodles, like veg, egg, tomato, spinach, and carrot. Their company works on both B2B and B2C models. Besides the availability in retail malls and stores, they also supply to Chinese restaurants and caterers.
When 30-year-old Thejaswi S gave her civil service exams a few years ago, little did she know that she’d soon embark on an entrepreneurial journey. Though her efforts to enter the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) did not bear fruit, she was inspired to become an entrepreneur, create value and give back to the society.
Thejaswi launched Koko Boost Nutrition in Bengaluru in 2017 to give nutrition a new twist. The company manufactures nutritious energy bars made with indigenous ingredients such as millets and moringa. Thejaswi took help from her family to make the recipes sustainable and invested Rs 5 lakh into the business. Today, Koko Boost’s annual turnover stands at Rs 2 lakh.
Express Feast was started in 2016 by Shanthini Ashok and Varsha Jeetendra, a dynamic mother-in-law and daughter-in-law team. When her son, Jeetendra Ashok, had trouble finding vegetarian food while travelling to other countries on work, Shanthini Ashok started preparing instant food products for him to take on his travels.
She created more than 23 varieties of products ranging from pohas, upmas, biryanis, pongal, and more. She even created a lot of health variants made from millets. It was such a big success that after a while people started buying from her and the idea for Express Feast was born.