How this food delivery startup is bringing a taste of regional foods to your homes

Bengaluru-based INaMinute delivers a curated selection of traditional food items from India and abroad to patrons’ homes so they can relish their childhood favourites.
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The best gifts – to loved ones or to oneself – are those that recreate special memories or invoke feelings reminiscent of a favoured time and place. This certainly isn’t an easy task yet through its curated offerings, Bengaluru-based INaMinute promises to do exactly that.

Founded in 2020 by Vineesh Chadha and Sanjay Agarwal, the food delivery startup provides an assortment of local and international products that are authentic in taste and iconic in feel.

“Our products are carefully selected from the best brands. We make sure that they are the original and favoured labels from across India and the world. We also offer the best-kept local secrets of Bengaluru, where we are based. If it’s not authentic or pure, you won’t find it on INaMinute,” share the founders in a chat with YSWeekender.

The idea

After studying in Nagpur University, Vineesh went to the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta. He has built a name for himself as a Business and Marketing professional.

Sanjay is an alumnus of CSIS Penn University, Domus Academy Milan, and CEPT University in Ahmedabad. By profession, he describes himself as a retail design architect.

Together, they founded INaMinute to tap into Indians’ love for food.

“In a vast country like India where different types of food are available every few kilometres, local food is a key part of people’s cultural identity. Most of us crave the foods we grew up with, and harbour nostalgic feelings towards them. INaMinute brings your favourite foods to you wherever you are located - in India or anywhere in the world,” says Vineesh.

To facilitate this, they have tied up with traditional, authentic, and iconic brands and producers of food across the country to deliver their best known delicacies to patrons sitting at home.

Aam papad

Their team of eight people across sourcing, customer service, and operations, runs a tight ship to ensure best-in-class products and seamless delivery. Apart from the founders, the team comprises a battery of passionate women entrepreneurs. Additionally, it is their endeavour to support small businesses driven by passion.

“As far as possible, we prefer sourcing supplies directly from producers or growers, to enable them to maximise the value of their produce and efforts,” says Sanjay with a smile.

Though they started in Bengaluru, they began shipping to customers across India and abroad in October 2021. They rely on DHL and Fedex to courier their international orders.

According to the founders, the brand name was coined based on the feedback from their first set of customers, who told them that their offerings were so compelling that they could make their selections in a minute.

“Also, we are happy to say that whatever we supply to our customers disappears INaMinute when our packages are delivered!” laughs Vineesh.

Product line-up

The startup offers a wide range of delicacies and food items to fulfil the needs of regular days, special celebrations, or themed events such as Indian festivals. This include snacks, savouries, sweets, exotic staples, regional ready to cook items, historic bakery items, organic farm produce, and many others.

Achari Mathri

“We have offerings to cater to all major Indian festivals and seasons. Our recent blockbusters for the winter season were Gajjaks and Rewaris from famous brands of Lucknow and Jaipur. We also had an excellent response to our Makar Sankrati specialties including Ellu Bella and Sakaracchu. For Lohri celebrations, we flew in ‘Time pass’ Moongfali, which are unshelled groundnuts, from North India for our Bengaluru customers,” says Sanjay.

On their website, one can choose from winter specials, health and immunity-boosting fare, international delights as well as seasonal fruits, which are the only items restricted to local delivery. They also have a selection of home and personal items like aromatic incense sticks, organic tissues and towels as well as herbal cleaning agents.

The team personally explores the famous food cities and towns of India and identifies the traditional, authentic, and iconic brands and producers for a variety of products. Often, their customers provide suggestions on the kind of foods they should be stocking from around India, which they source through their network.

When asked what they are working on next, Vineesh shares,

“We are working on curating a mouth-watering assortment for Holi from Lucknow, Benaras, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, and Nagpur.

Our biggest draw is sure to be the Thandai from Benaras. The Thandai maker’s family has been using this exclusive recipe for five generations. They use all 26 ingredients as prescribed by ancient Ayurvedic texts including ‘char magaz’ (four seeds) of water melon, pumpkin, cucumber and cantaloupe. These seeds are known to enhance the functioning of our brain and heart, while reducing memory loss and rejuvenating the skin. The Thandai is made by hand using a ‘silbatta’.” 

Business in numbers

According to data published in Technavio, the food delivery market size in India is expected to increase by $716.53 million from 2021 to 2026, registering a CAGR of 28.13 percent. By providing a niche delivery service, INaMinute is poised for certain growth.

The founders have invested approximately Rs 25 lakh in this bootstrapped venture and have since grown by leaps and bounds.

Sanjay explains, “In October 2020, we started with a limited offering in Bengaluru by delivering items in our own cars. We have grown organically since then and are on target to deliver more than 1,000 orders in March 2022.”

Though the team has worked with a limited set of regional influencers, they primarily rely on word of mouth referrals. They also employ community and digital marketing for enhanced results.

Currently operating exclusively as an ecommerce store, the founders are open to the idea of exploring brick-and-mortar stores at airports and other tourist destinations in the future.

“Our biggest challenge has been accessing reliable and fast transportation that causes minimal damage to our products during transit. For this, we are continuously exploring new transportation methods and logistic vendor tie-ups to improve inward and outward delivery times and reliability,” says Vineesh.

However, he also claims these teething issues pale in comparison to the smile on their customers’ faces when they bite into food they haven’t tasted in 20-30 years. It is these satisfied customers who provide continuous business by referring INaMinute to their neighbours, friends and relatives.

Speaking about competition, the founders highlight that there are a few players in the market, but each one has its own take on the business. Some of the players operating in a similar space include like The State Plate and Delight Foods. However, the founders claim no one does exactly what INaMinute does – as they focus on delivering traditional, authentic, and iconic food products. 

Sanjay ends by saying, “We believe that as people travel further away from their native places and have higher disposable incomes, they indulge more in memories and nostalgia. It is a large and rapidly growing market. INaMinute provides this sense of nostalgia, finger-licking taste, and awesome quality. Our convenience of ordering, high-quality packaging and excellent service are the reasons why our products are so popular.”

Edited by Megha Reddy

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