These brands are reshaping India’s sweets and savouries market: Top SMB stories of the week

This week, SMBStory brings to you stories of entrepreneurs reshaping India’s sweets and savoury market by introducing a variety of flavours and options to satiate your cravings.

From namkeens and traditional desserts to newer entrants like popcorn, cheesecakes, and more, India’s sweets and savouries market has delicacies to satiate all your craving.

Adding to this are modern-day entrepreneurs reshaping the market by introducing a variety of flavours and options to choose from. 

Suchali’s Artisan Bakehouse

Mitali Singh and Suchali Jain

Bread is an integral part of our diet and is the most widely consumed food in the world in all its forms.  

Though delicious, too much consumption of bread can wreak havoc on one’s health. Hence, choosing the right kind of bread can make it a guilt-free experience. 

Observing the dearth of gut-friendly bread in the Indian market, Suchali Jain founded Suchali’s Artisan Bakehouse in 2018 in New Delhi, with a bootstrapped capital of Rs 20 lakh. 

In an interaction with SMBStory, Mitali Singh, who heads the brand communication and business operations at Suchali’s Artisan Bakehouse and is also a friend of Suchali, says,  

“Suchali’s trip to Europe brought a big change in her life. The experience she gained of the authentic flavours of bread in the French tradition and the baker’s art during her travel infused passion into her and motivated her to recreate the tradition and artisanship at the Bakehouse. She first found success baking croissants after which I joined her.” 

At Suchali’s Artisan Bakehouse, the idea is to bring the best bread loaves and processes from abroad to India. It is a speciality bakery which produces naturally-leavened sourdough loaves, New York-style bagels, a range of croissants, and tea cakes that are easy on the gut as sourdough is the base bread which is known for health benefits, explains Mitali. 

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Popcorn & Company

Vikas Suri, Founder and CEO, Popcorn & Company

A movie night — be it at the local theatre, a fancy multiplex or even from the comfort of your own couch — can only be made better with a giant tub of popcorn. 

But have you ever wondered who brought these concession stands to the likes of PVR Cinemas? 

Meet Vikas Suri, a hospitality veteran of over four decades, who has been driving the popcorn concession stands at PVR Cinemas since the early 2000s when the company launched its first multiplex in Saket, New Delhi. 

In the conversation with SMBStory, 53-year-old Vikas narrates his entrepreneurial journey spanning over two decades that began from setting up a commercial kitchen equipment business to launching a gourmet popcorn brand. 

Vikas came up with Popcorn & Company, a gourmet popcorn brand that is becoming a consumer-favourite. It competes with the likes of 4700 BC, The Crunch Box, and more.

“We were already into the business of supplying popcorn machines, kernels, and seasonings. The consumption rate of popcorns across the world drove us to launching our brand with a diversity of flavours while serving our patrons with scrumptious quick bites,” says Vikas. 

The brand has a large portfolio of 52 flavours, including red velvet, blueberry, chocolate, caramel crisp, litchi, cheesy sriracha, and more.

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Other top picks of the week:

Cybage Software

Cybage founder, CEO and MD Arun Nathani

After working for five years at a Chicago-based manufacturing company as a design engineer, Arun Nathani decided to pack his bags and return to India. 

Arun’s story begins in 1987 when he moved to the US to complete his master’s, find a job, and settle there. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and found work in Chicago. 

But he still wasn’t happy. 

“I fit the bill of a regular, next-door Indian who had an extended overseas stint. My favourite weekend hobby was to discuss about returning home. The glamour associated with the land of opportunity had fizzled out for me,” he says.

Arun maintains he was never a visionary who had spent his time thinking about how to build a business empire. 

Yet, today, he is the founder and CEO of Pune-based Cybage Software, a technology consulting organisation that specialises in outsourced product engineering services. 

Providing technology consulting and professional services to global Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), the 6,300-employee strong Cybage Software recorded Rs 1,106 crore revenue in 2019-20. 

Arun’s company has offices in North America, Europe, and APAC countries, that provide services in over 150 regions worldwide.

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Kama Ayurveda

Vivek Sahni, CEO and cofounder, Kama Ayurveda

After running a graphic design firm for nine years, Vivek Sahni decided to start a brand that incorporated Ayurvedic formulations and fit them into a modern lifestyle. 

He felt that modern society was sitting idle on the science of Ayurveda and Indians were practising very little of its ancient teachings and learnings. 

In 2002, along with his existing business partner Dave Chang and two new partners Rajshree Pathy and Vikram Goyal, Vivek launched Kama Ayurveda, a popular personal care brand known for its use of natural ingredients and chemical-free beauty products.

To manufacture its products, Kama Ayurveda tied up with 100-year-old Arya Vaidya Pharmacy of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, using the pharmacy’s unadulterated formulations and natural ingredients from local gardens.

“The philosophy behind Kama Ayurveda was to provide authentic, time-tested and effective Ayurvedic beauty solutions, sans chemicals and added fragrances. Today, we are a family of around 340 employees and have recorded close to Rs 110 annual turnover,” Vivek tells SMBStory.

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Rajesh Kumar Das, Founder, 10by10

Since its inception in 2016, Bengaluru-based 10by10 has sought to build sustainable and smart solutions that not only benefit its customers but also the environment. 

In an interaction with SMBStory, Founder Rajesh Kumar Das says, 

“10by10 is a multi-branched studio based out of Bengaluru that specialises in the disciplines of space, landscape, and product design. The studio provides holistic solutions, involving thematic combinations of wellness, welfare, sustainability, and technology.” 

However, after the outbreak of COVID-19, as hospitals and quarantine facilities seemed to be running out of beds, 10by10 pivoted its operations to developing smart and sustainable solutions to fight the pandemic. 

The company first developed the ISO.POD (Isolation Pods), an instant isolation room solution that acts like a safety envelope protecting patients and healthcare workers against further infection.  

Rajesh believes that the current demand for smart solutions against the pandemic could well be a market worth over Rs 1,000 crore. Several companies over the past few months have pivoted their businesses to build solutions that can help us fight COVID-19 like the CHHAT Foundation, SAMAM Portable, Needlab, among others.

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Lohia Group

Lohia Group was founded by Raj Kumar Lohia in 1982 in Kanpur to venture into the machine engineering segment in India.  

Raj started the company with manufacturing High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) plastic machinery and later moved on to producing plastic woven bags and industrial sewing threads.  

Today, the Lohia Group, which is a market leader in the textiles and packaging space, has seven companies under it — Lohia Corp, Lohia Global Solution, Threads India Limited, Lohia Aerospace, Injectoplast, TTRC, and Lohia Health.  

It is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of machinery and equipment for the plastic woven sack industry in terms of quantum and has a wide presence across the world, especially in Europe. The group has a turnover of more than Rs 1,000 crore and employs over 2,000 people. 

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Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta