If there is one noise that is constant throughout India, it is munching. Old to young, one can find people munching on just about anything, anywhere. From deep-fried evening savories to packaged chips, a wide variety is available to people across the country. However, the question remains: are these healthy?
Rohit Pugalia used to work in the corporate world for several years. His time in the corporate sector gave Pugalia a view into the unhealthy snacking habits that existed around us. “We tend to take our lunch from home but snack a lot,” he says.
Recognizing how healthy alternatives were missing from the market, he decided to launch Soch Foods.
Becoming a Brand
Pugalia started the business in Mumbai with his wife. Neither had any experience in the food industry and he says it took them a year to figure out the little things.
They launched operations in 2018 and started with selling salads and juices through brands such as Tiny Owl and Ola Cafe.
“These brands would take the food from our home-kitchen and deliver it to the customers,” he says.
They expanded to healthy thalis (meals with several dishes) and granolas which were a rarity in India. “The idea was to get granola on the retail shelf.”
Currently, their products are available across Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi.
Granola may be new in India but is a staple in the west. Bringing Granola to India helped Pugalia tilt further towards the healthy snack aspect. “Granola has several ingredients which are healthy and several which are not healthy, for example, processed sugar,” he says.
And so, they decided to make granola without processed sugar, and instead used ingredients like honey to meet the taste and energy requirements. “The idea is to ensure that every bite of Soch’s brand is filled with healthy ingredients.”
Soch is a bootstrapped company and doesn’t have any investors. Pugalia says they are not looking at raising any funds either. He says he isn’t ready to part away with equity at this stage of the business.
Competing with FMCG Giants
There might be big snack brands in the market but Pugalia is unperturbed. “Most of these companies may not be manufacturing their own products, they are traders,” he says, “they are only focused on creating a brand and selling it.”
Currently, they are looking at tying up with different hotels and restaurants. “We have started having conversations with 5-star hotels. Four of them (are) on board.”