Indians have become increasingly conscious about staying in shape, and fitness coaches suggest that a customised diet and workout plan is the best way to achieve your fitness goals. For a majority of people who want to lose weight, a low carbohydrate diet is highly recommended. However, the optimum ratio of carbohydrates to proteins and fats is different for each person.
Over the years, Ketogenic diet (keto diets, for short) has become popular as it prioritises burning fat in the body, leading to rapid weight loss. The diet, which is a very low-carbohydrate and high fat diet, is not very easy to follow. With people leading busy lifestyles, it is becoming a challenge for them to follow such diets.
In 2017, four school batchmates - Siddhant Bhargava, Anik Bhandari, Anirudh Ganeriwal, and Devaj Jhunjhunwala - met up and identified this challenge as a business opportunity. They wanted to help people achieve their health goals in the most convenient, hassle-free and scientific manner possible.
In the same year, they launched Food Darzee and decided to deliver four diet-specific meals a day to their clients.
The Mumbai-based bootstrapped company has now quickly reached the milestone of serving 700 customers and 2,500 meals on a daily basis. The 140 member-strong business is now clocking a turnover of around Rs 15 crore per year.
“It was by pure coincidence that we founders met up one day and had very similar ideas on the kind of ventures that we wanted to start. We hit it off right from the beginning, and now we are like four brothers who run this company,” says Siddhant Bhargava (24), Co-founder and Nutrition Head, Food Darzee.
How it works
Customers can visit the Food Darzee website and sign up for a weight loss diet plan that suits their fitness goal. They will then be put in touch with a nutritionist who will help create a custom diet and workout plan.
“Once the diet and exercise are scheduled, we start delivering four meals a day to the clients. Our kitchen is given directives straight from the clients' designated nutritionist, who plans every meal meticulously,” Siddhant says.
“At the kitchen, each gram of ingredient is measured to make sure that the plan formulated by the nutritionist is in exact accordance with the food served. The nutritionist’s job is to hand-hold the client throughout the journey, and keep making changes to his/her diet whenever required,” he adds.
Food Darzee’s breakfast options include keto dishes such as sausage omelette roll and broccoli cheese patty, and lunch dishes include butter chicken, keto rotis, keto biriyani, and more. For mid-day snacks, it delivers keto chocolate fudge, bunless burgers, zucchini nachos, etc. Its dinner options are paneer kurma, grilled steaks, keto burritos, etc.
The founders say these meals are delivered to workplaces or homes by Food Darzee’s fleet of 80 delivery staff. They deliver the meals in sets of two, and they do it twice a day. This is to ensure that customers always get fresh food. Currently, the business delivers in all areas in Mumbai and in some areas in Thane and Navi Mumbai.
“We make sure that no dish is repeated for at least 30 days. This way, our customers look forward to eating different cuisines everyday. This takes away the boredom of dieting,” he adds. The business also helps clients monitor their progress and gradually taper off their weight loss diets once the fitness goals have been met.
Food Darzee’s ten-day trial plan costs Rs 10,000, while the standard weight loss plan costs around Rs 27,000 for 30 days. “Most of our customers who subscribe to this plan lose almost eight to ten percent of their body weight,” Siddhant says.
Clients can also buy the premium plan, which costs around Rs 50,000 for 60 days and includes consultations with Food Darzee’s expert health partners and Siddhant, who is a fitness and nutrition scientist.
Road to success
The fitness industry is a crowded space and businesses have to keep evolving to match new trends. The founders say, Food Darzee attempts to reach most of its potential customers through digital marketing.
“Our target audience is most responsive to digital media. Marketing on digital mediums is also trackable, accountable, and can be easily analysed to plan new strategies,” Siddhant says.
“We create videos to help people understand what we do, and we have about six million views and 10,000 shares of our videos,” he adds.
To generate a larger impact, the business shifted from using an outsourced kitchen to an in-house kitchen in January 2018. Siddhant says this helped them personalise the meals to a larger degree and gain more control over the whole process.
“Our delivery fleet also gives us great control on the logistics. We touched the milestone of 5,000 customers in a year and a half. We are now shifting our operations to a large 4,500 square-foot kitchen to deal with the volumes,” he says.
The company also aims to start operations in Delhi in February 2019
“No other service offers such a comprehensive, customisable and flexible programme. We have eliminated the need for a full-time nutritionist, plus we provide fresh meals in 100 percent precise measurements. We also give them the kind of workout that they need to follow. It’s a well-rounded programme,” says Siddhant.
Due to its location, Situated in Mumbai, Food Darzee has become popular in the health-conscious entertainment industry, especially Bollywood.
However, the main challenge is that once a client reaches his/her health goal, Food Darzee loses a customer. “This happens because it is our job to get to their goal in the shortest period of time,” he says. To address this, the company plans to will soon unveil a flexible dieting plan to help people maintain their weight in the long run.
“Our goal is to be an authority on nutrition and a one-stop-solution for anything with respect to health, food and nutrition. We want to be present in every major city of India, and move to locations abroad as well,” he says.
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