Indians today are all about being healthy and fit and this reflects in the choices the consumers make and the shift in dietary patterns. They have now started choosing cholesterol-free or low-fat products over deep-fried savories. Even as Indians have a lot of snacking options, ranging from confectioneries, biscuits, and chocolates to bakery items, western snacks, and the traditional homemade savories, but today, millennials have realized the importance of adopting a preventive lifestyle over a curative one. The pandemic led by Covid-19 is also one of the driving factors of this trend; it has altered the eating habits, diets, and lifestyles over the past many months.
With consumers now mostly working from home indefinitely, munching while at it has been ubiquitous. Interestingly, a global market research firm Mintel has maintained that one in five Indians snack three times a day or more and this is increasing further with people spending most of their time indoors and constantly looking for something to keep them caught up and busy. Now coming to the lifestyle change, they are now getting inclined to brands offering products that are nutritious, tasty, and delivered at their doorstep.
With consumers growing health conscious, many start-ups have found a potential market in this category and are using healthier ingredients to make snacking guilt-free.
According to Euromonitor, the global healthy snacks market is forecast to reach US$ 98 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 5.8 percent between 2020 and 2025, and in that, nuts, seeds, and trail mixes are leading the market with a revenue share of 41 percent followed by snack bars with 20 percent share.
What’s trending right now is all things clean, sustainable, and of course healthy.
According to Mintel Global Product Launch database, in the previous five years, snacks with vegan/ no animal ingredients claims grew by 11.8 percent annually, environmentally friendly packaging grew 7 percent annually, snacks with high or added protein grew 11.5 percent annually, and those with no or reduced sugar grew by 13.4 percent annually.
Few of these D2C start-ups offering a slew of healthy snacking options to consumers are:
Founded by Vikas Nahar in 2016, Happilo is a D2C gourmet snacking brand that aims at using freshness, preservation, and the healthiest by-products to enhance flavor and uplift the brand’s versatility. Happilo sources the best produce from culturally rich countries (figs from Afghanistan, nuts from California, dates from the Middle East, dried fruits from Thailand, nuts, and fruits from India’s local farmers, etc.) and finest farms from across the globe. The snacking brand focuses on using fresh ingredients as well as the interspersing of technology in post-production processes.
Bootstrapped since inception, Happilo raised its first funding round worth US$ 13 million from A91 Partners in February 2021.
“The capital raised will be used for capital expenditure, for automation and to expand marketing and distribution capabilities. We are well-capitalized for another 12-18 months, post which we might again hit the market for capital raising. The brand has grown three-fold during the pandemic. The brand provides offerings that are considered as 'superfoods', supplying abundant nutrients, vitamins, proteins, and minerals,” said Vikas Nahar.
Happilo claims to have annual revenue at the rate of Rs 180 crore.
The brand is additionally focusing on 'usage-based' content showcasing how their products can be put into daily practices, recipes, and overall lifestyle choices.
Going forward, Happilo is all set to cater to children with its healthy snacking options which will easily catch the eye and build their core from a young age.
Launched in May 2015 by Aditya Sanghavi with a subscription-based model, Snackible pivoted to become a retail FMCG brand in 2017 and is now available in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru at Godrej Nature’s Basket, Foodhall, and Hypercity, offering healthy snacking options. They are also present in cafes and restaurants, vending machines, canteens, gym outlets, and with nutritionists.
Some of the snacks by Snackible include Whole Wheat Waffles, Himalayan Black Salt Apple Chips, Seedy Trail Mix, Hot Wasabi Peanuts, Cream and Onion Wholewheat Thins, Seedy Crunchers, Herbs and Cheese Makhana, and Baked Bhakarwadi.
The start-up takes care of the entire process including sourcing raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, and distribution in-house, in order to maintain the quality of the snacks being sold.
The brand raised bridge funding from Mumbai Angels Networks and from other existing investors, in October 2020.
Aditya Sanghavi shared, “The company plans to use the fund for hiring, brand building and marketing, and to scale up infrastructure to absorb the anticipated growth in the coming quarters. The health food segment within FMCG has been growing quite rapidly in the last couple of years and with the COVID crisis, we have seen a huge consumer behavior shift towards healthier eating habits. We believe Snackible is at the cusp of building a strong health-focused FMCG snack brand.”
Yummiano is a homegrown healthy snack brand, launched by Vipul Gambhir. A healthier alternative to unhealthy, processed chips and namkeens, the Delhi-based start-up provides healthy, chemical, and preservatives-free options, made from using premium, high-quality, select ingredients, without compromising on the taste.
Some of the product offerings at Yummiano include Rajma Chips, Moong Dal Chips, Brown Rice Chips, Kathal Chips, Banana Chips amongst others available in multiple lip-smacking flavors like Achari, Cheese & Herbs, Masala, PeriPeri, Cream and Onion, Garlic, Pudina, classic salt and pepper, etc.
In May 2021, the brand launched a diverse range of healthy Bhujia made out of Beetroot, Ragi, Quinoa, Oats, Moong Dal, and Palak. With extensive research and development, Yummiano has been able to produce all its products in 70 percent lesser oil.
Vipul Gambhir asserted, “Yummiano as a brand was launched to disrupt the market by changing the way people consume snacks and savories in India. We have always been experimental and keep striving to get something exceptional and exclusive for our consumers. From the taste palette to the plate, we ensure the quality of ingredients, healthy meal prep, and safe packaging. Our snacks are made using high-quality healthy oils. Our products are sourced from selected places, where they are cultivated with great care and precision, plucked and pruned at the right stage, to satiate your taste buds.”
The breakfast and snacks brand True Elements was launched by co-founders Sreejith Moolayil and Puru Gupta in 2014 with an aim to offer food that is packed with the goodness of nature and taste that will keep you wanting for more. With a range of food items across categories like breakfast cereals, grains & raw seeds, roasted snacks, and other healthy items, True Elements products are not only 100 percent natural but are also made of 100 percent whole grains.
The health food brand has secured Rs 10 crore worth of funding from Maharashtra State Social Venture Fund (MSSVF), a fund managed by SIDBI VC, in March 2021. The fresh capital will be used by the company to strengthen its brand and product innovation.
“Our focus on technology and cost-efficiency has ensured that we are one of the most capital-efficient startups in the country. While we have been profitable so far this year, our endeavor now is to maintain consistent growth in EBITDA margins while scaling up, even with external funds. We are not preparing for Rs 100 crore, we are now preparing for Rs 1,000 crore topline in the next few years. What was a dream a few years back is now our KRA!,” said Puru Gupta.
The start-up uses local produce such as millets, grains, and seeds and employs 75 percent of women in its production facility in Pune. True Elements generates sales from its own website and over 6,000 general trade stores across the country.
According to VCCEdge, it generated net sales of Rs 8.85 crore and a net loss of Rs 2.34 crore for the 2018-19 financial year.
The Whole Truth
Founded in 2019 by Shashank Mehta, an ex-Unilever marketeer, The Whole Truth sells clean label bars and muesli without hidden sugars, artificial flavors, and harmful preservatives.
The start-up has claimed a 50 percent growth in sales from its native online platform, with 1 lakh organic users through its newly launched ‘Your Food Is Screwed’ campaign targeting food myths following its rebranding from ‘And Nothing Else’.
The Whole Truth started with Shashank Mehta’s personal experience of losing weight and starting to eat clean. After years of research and self-experimentation, he realized there is only one universal food truth – “good food is made of good ingredients” and so, he launched the start-up that offers healthy snacking options to its customer base.
The brand recently raised US$ 6 million (Rs 43 crore) in a Series A funding round led by Sequoia Capital India. This takes the total funding to Rs 52 crore, to date. The Whole Truth will use the fresh capital to hire talent, expand manufacturing capabilities and enter new food categories.
The Mumbai-based start-up claims to have grown 12x in the last 18 months.