These brands are spicing up India’s FMCG market and other top stories of the week

This week, SMBStory covered the journeys of a craft chocolate manufacturer Ambriona Chocolates, New Delhi-headquartered Vahdam Teas, and more.

According to an IBEF report, the FMCG sector is the fourth-largest sector in India, which includes three main segments, such as food and beverages (19 percent), healthcare (31 percent), and household items (50 percent).

While bigger brands, including Unilever,Nestle , Britannia, TATA, etc., continue to rule this segment, the country is gradually witnessing the emergence of smaller and medium-sized enterprises. 

This week, SMBStory covered the journeys of a craft chocolate manufacturer Ambriona Chocolates, and New Delhi-headquartered Vahdam Teas, started by entrepreneur Bala Sarda at the age of 23, and more. 

Ambriona Chocolates

Shahzad Anklesaria, Co-founder and Managing Director, Ambriona Chocolates

Craft chocolates, also known as bean-to-bar chocolates, refer to a premium category of chocolates. These chocolates are produced in a single factory — from when they are still cacao beans to the final bar.

Shahzad Anklesaria returned to India in 2013 after completing his BBA from Kingston University, the UK. An avid traveller and chocolate enthusiast, Shahzad felt a gap in the chocolate market. 

“The definition of chocolate was very vague. People just thought something sweet was chocolate. There was no awareness around real chocolates,” he highlights. 

This gap intrigued Shahzad, and he decided to introduce craft chocolates to Indians and founded Ambriona Chocolates in 2015. 

He started the company with an initial investment of Rs 1 crore, amassed from personal savings and debt from his parents. The basic pillar of Ambriona Chocolates was to help customers get the actual taste of chocolate without the addition of any artificial ingredients.

Ambriona has carved a niche for itself in the Indian chocolate market. With over 70 SKUs today, the company has clocked Rs 1.25 crore turnover this fiscal year. It is expecting to close the year with Rs 1.65 crore turnover. 

Read the full story here.

Vahdam Teas

Bala Sarda, Founder and CEO, Vahdam Teas

Although Indian teas are in wide demand, Bala Sarda felt that India as a brand is not efficiently placed in foreign markets. 

Hailing from a family of tea exporters, Bala grew up in an environment where substantial know-how of the tea industry was inevitable.  

After graduating from college, Bala visited his family tea estates in Darjeeling and realised the massive potential Indian tea had and the value it could create within the global tea industry. In 2015, at the age of 23, Bala founded Vahdam Teas — a digitally native, vertically integrated global wellness brand — that ships one of India’s finest teas to the world. 

The New Delhi-headquartered brand is now available in 1,000 brick and mortar shops in the US. It is one of the first few Indian brands to list in premium and legacy retail chains in the US, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

In FY21, the company is on track to do a Rs 155 crore turnover. It has clocked Rs 145 crore so far.

Read the full story here.

Other top stories

Chromed Design Studio

Abhigyan Neogi, Principal Architect and Founder, Chromed Design Studio

With Chromed Design Studio, started in 2010, Abhigyan Neogi, Founder and Principal Architect, says he was able to marry aesthetics and innovation — something he was unable to achieve previously. The DNA of the firm, Abhigyan says, is “solution-oriented” rather than a simple design company. 

He adds that customisation is one of the aspects the company bets on, and while it may have executed around 400 projects, “no two projects are similar.”

The founder claims the company has doubled its growth year-on-year since its inception. Some of its notable projects include INOX Insignia (Nehru Place, Delhi), Innov8 coworking space (Delhi), and several residential projects in Indonesia, Jakarta, the US, etc.

As a result of COVID-19, people, especially those living in metropolitan cities, began relying on this idea to escape the hustle-bustle of city life.

This trend of people living and working outside the city was noticed by Abhigyan. He says that while he was able to sail through the challenges of paying salaries to employees, he used this time and opportunity to start a separate construction business based on the second home concept.

Read the full story here.

Sarin Brothers

Sarin Brothers

The Sarin brothers — born into a family of businessmen — wanted to start a restaurant business that targeted children, young adults, and families. But they knew a restaurant for kids cannot serve alcohol, and a lounge-cum-bar for young adults wouldn’t attract families.

To overcome this, Shaan (34), Rahul (32), and Aakash (29) in 2019 took up a three-storey building in Punjabi Bagh, Delhi, and launched three restaurants — one on each floor. 

The three restaurants, which share a kitchen, are named TEO Lounge and Bar, The Dineroom, and Cartoony Planet.

With a workforce of 20 working at The Dineroom, the brothers’ focus is on customers who enjoy fine dining.

“There is an inadequacy of good places to lounge and dine with friends and family in Delhi. So, we target Gen X and Gen Y — to be precise, people who want a proper dine-in experience with family or friends,” says Aakash, Founder of The Dineroom. 

According to the brothers, TEO Lounge and Bar is a Rs 5 crore turnover business, The Dineroom records Rs 3 crore turnover, and Cartoony Planet makes Rs 2 crore in annual revenue.


Read the full story here.

Edited by Suman Singh


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