How COVID-19 turned out to be a blessing in disguise for these businesses
COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a wake-up call for people all over the world. Not only has it compelled people to re-assess their health choices, but also underscored the need for boosting immunity.
Another trend that has swept the world is the emergence of kitchen science in boosting immunity.
With so much focus on immunity, it is no secret that it is going to be the buzzword in the post COVID-19 era. While India continues to fight a life-and-death battle against coronavirus, businesses are leveraging this opportunity to come out with consumer products that help boost immunity.
SMBStory looks at a few of them.
Chintan Gandhi is the Director and CEO of Millennium Herbal Care Limited and a third-generation entrepreneur. His family has been in the pharmaceutical business since the 1950s. His grandfather, Ishwarlal P Gandhi, founded Lyka Labs Group, which was later taken over by his father, H I Gandhi and his brothers. Chintan entered the API manufacturing domain in 1996.
Chintan shares that between 1998 and 1999, his father realised that the pharma industry did not resonate with him, and wanted to explore the Ayurveda industry.
The company offers products and solutions using plant-based therapies and formulations, including dietary supplements, skin and hair care products, among others. The company has a range of over 70 products across nine categories.
Coming from an industry that recognises the importance of immunity, Chintan shares that in the last three months, the world has woken up to its importance, which has led to a surge in demand for products that help boost immunity.
He says, “People have realised they need something that they cannot get from a regular doctor or a chemist to improve their health. So that shift is happening.” The mindset of people has started tilting towards taking care of their own health. This is true for urban and semi-urban areas, and the brand also hopes to penetrate the rural market.
The brand is specifically looking forward to launching products in the children’s immunity segment. It will also be launching its own version of Chyawanprash and Gynovash, an intimate wash for women.
One of the many things that unite the human race is mutual love for snacking. Particularly in India where evening tea is a ritual, snacking perfectly accompanies the beverage, and helps quell midday cravings.
There has been a radical change in people’s attitude towards eating healthy in India over the last decade, and that has given birth to a whole new healthy-snacking industry. The sector has been growing at a breakneck speed, but recently, people have been demanding an emphasis on nutrition too, which was absent from earlier so-called “healthy” snacks.
Snack Amor, a Mumbai-based company, touts itself as a brand that lies on the intersection of taste, affordability, and health. It was founded in 2017 by Deepak Grover, and has tie-ups with companies such as WeWork, Reliance Retail, and Haiko.
The formal snack market, which includes branded biscuits and chips, is worth $4 billion whereas the informal snack market, which includes assorted namkeen and popcorn in India is worth $40 billion. India is definitely a snack-loving market, and the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged people to embrace healthier foods.
Deepak describes the pandemic as a “blessing in disguise” because it has spurred people to make healthier choices. “The ongoing crisis is like a watershed moment in our space, and we clearly see a tectonic change in consumer behaviour. We expect demand for healthy, safe, and hygienic food to rise sharply.”
In the coming days, the company said it will focus on foods that can help people build immunity and manage their weight.
Immunity is now being seen as the only saviour that can help India sail through the current crisis. Demand for food supplements and immunity boosters is experiencing a monstrous spike. For instance, honey and Chyawanprash manufacturing giant Dabur reported a 400 percent rise in the demand for its flagship product.
Kamayani Naresh, a retired Indian Navy officer, claims to have developed a long and sustainable solution to boost immunity – zyropathy. The word ‘zyro’ means helping humanity. Naresh is the founder of Zyro Health Care Pvt Ltd, a Delhi-based company that provides food and herbal supplements.
He says, “Coronavirus has affected us badly. The lockdown has had a devastating effect on us. The next six months are going to be extremely critical. This virus has proven to be an all-weather one and has settled in our habitat. Moreover, no vaccine or therapy seems to be working. Only strong and sustained immunity along with dietary and lifestyle changes will work. I have come up with a product called Preventika, which helps boost immunity.”
It took him 14 years to develop Preventika, which has 14 locally sourced herbs, including curcumin. It is not specifically for coronavirus but helps in boosting the overall immune system.
"We use 100 percent natural ingredients for making Zyro Naturals and other food supplements. However, no drugs, steroids, immuno-suppressants and harmful ingredients are used," he claims.
Sushant Raorane and Ajit Marathe are veterans in the pharmaceutical industry. They were classmates in college, but pursued different paths soon after.
Seven years later, a chance encounter between Sushant and Ajit’s wife Supriya set the ball rolling for their company. Sushant and Ajit saw several gaps in the pharma industry and decided to launch a healthcare marketing consultancy, and launched Adroit Biomed Limited in 2011.
Running a consultancy gave them success but the company remained hidden in the market. Sushant says while they were helping other companies build brand value, they soon realised that they were not creating something long lasting for themselves. Hence, they transitioned from a mere consultancy firm to a company that focusses on skincare and nutraceutical range of products.
A few successful innovations by the company include a bolus dose of Vitamin C in effervescent formulation (tangy drink), which has specifically worked wonders in the current times of coronavirus. Sushant also claims that because of this product, Adroit Biomed Ltd. is the third-largest player in the Vitamin C segment in India after US-based Abbott Laboratories and London-based GSK.
According to Sushant, COVID-19 has proven to be a blessing in disguise for them, as the demand for Vitamin C has gone up enormously ever since the pandemic broke out.
Kocoatrait was founded in October 2019 by L Nitin Chordia, a Chennai-based chocolatier. Nitin, like many entrepreneurs, comes from a corporate background. He holds a master’s degree in retail business management from the UK and has worked with the Godrej Group as a consultant.
Kocoatrait has so far sold 7,000 chocolates in the last six months. The brand has 12 varieties of chocolates priced between Rs 190 and Rs 235. The total turnover of the company is Rs 60 lakh; the Cocoashala academy makes Rs 25 lakh, another Rs 25 lakh comes from trading of equipment and cocoa beans, and Kocoatrait makes Rs 10 lakh.
Kocoatrait will also be launching raw chocolate, an immunity booster, post COVID-19.
According to a report, the cacao found in dark chocolate and the phenolic compounds inside the cocoa can strengthen the defences of our immune system and up our body’s resistance.
Edited by Javed Gaihlot