How Beyond Snack has Grown its Business Post Shark Tank
How Beyond Snack has Grown its Business Post Shark Tank

Beyond Snacks is a brand that offers authentic banana chips in a variety of flavors. The brand thus offers products using premium quality raw materials while maintaining hygiene, claiming to offer the best ever banana chips to taste. Thus, Beyond Snack with its product portfolio wants to make authentic premium quality banana chips available across the country. Today, the brand is backed by sharks post its appearance on Shark Tank India, Season 1, and has turned its business around.

With an aim to start his own business, Manas Madhu, Co-Founder, Beyond Snack delved into the subject of the food business, post coming across an article. “The more I learned, the more I became interested in this subject. Finally made the decision to relocate to Kerala and take a new job. During the week, I worked for another company, and on weekends, I traveled to meet people who were directly or indirectly involved with food,” said Manas. 

The Inception

Madhu initially presented a vegetable-based mock meat product, but it was a failed experiment. However, one bad bag of chips made him realize the absence of an organized banana chip market in India. 

“The banana chips market is comparatively undeveloped with respect to the enormous market for potato chips. I made the decision to give it a try, and over the course of two months, I visited 42 chip manufacturers and learned one important lesson. None of the chip manufacturers adhere to any hygiene or best cooking practices,” said Manas Madhu.

He further added, “I saw an opportunity and decided to get to work on this concept. With the help of friends who work for different food businesses, I started attempting to establish standards and procedures for the production of banana chips. I quit my job and decided to devote all of my time to this endeavor. The product was finally released in the market in January 2020.”

Beyond Snack began with a trade show, which validated the product's market acceptance, thus allowing the brand to introduce its product in major cities. However, owing to the Covid lockdown, it shifted its emphasis to the online delivery platform. 

Currently, Beyond Snack products are accessible on all e-commerce platforms, having launched its products on retail platforms a year ago. The brand has a strong presence in Maharashtra and in major metropolitan areas such as Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Delhi, among others.

How Beyond Snack Has Grown its Business post Shark Tank

The Ever-Growing Snack Market

Despite the fact that numerous brands have introduced banana chips, according to the co-founder there was barely any distinction between them and locally produced banana chips. 

The primary issue in this field has been innovation, studies, and research. There was no consistency in the overall experience provided by banana chips with less emphasis on hygiene and manufacturing standards.

Beyond snack, began identifying and resolving these issues, with its priority being to provide customers with a healthy, satisfying experience. “Our chips are thinner, crisper, lighter, tastier, and healthier than other brands,” added Madhu. 

The brand thus obtains bananas from farmers in Kerala and other southern Indian states based on seasonal availability, which is then processed in its Kochi factory without human intervention and is further sold through e-commerce platforms, retail stores, and supermarkets. 

Madhu further added, “We have implemented standardization at all stages of the cooking process. When compared to a conventional banana chip maker, this reduces the cooking time of sliced bananas by one-tenth. Compared to regular banana chips, this has a 20 percent fat reduction and less oil exposure.”

Bananas harvested directly from the plantain tree are transformed into chips within twenty-four hours, adding an additional dimension of farm freshness to Beyond Snack offerings, its other characteristics include less fat, lighter for the stomach, and consistently crisp thin slices.

Options Galore

Beyond Snack's original portfolio of banana chips included four varieties- Original salted, Peri Peri, Sour cream onion parsley, and Salt Black pepper. The brand has recently introduced two additional flavors including Desi Masala and Hot Sweet Chilli. In the upcoming months, it plans to introduce 20 additional variants, many of which will feature significant innovations.

Although the brand's current emphasis is on Banana chips, they have plans to expand into additional categories. The Indian snack market remains extremely fragmented. The snack industry offers many opportunities for organized play. In the coming years, Beyond Snack aims to develop its expertise in other categories.

Technology and Beyond Snack

With its belief that the supply chain is the genesis of technological innovations. For its banana chips, the brand uses a particular variety called Nendran. 

Additionally, it looks into how to make the experience consistent and as a result, has altered the entire manufacturing process. 

The Banana chips are typically made in a kadai and are cooked for up to 20 minutes. However, Beyond Snack has installed a system that guarantees a stable and controlled environment for cooking, providing greater control over the cooking procedure.

Additionally, it has acquired innovations in different seasoning mixes and packaging.
Moreover, the brand aims to bring in more technological innovations, reinstating the same, Manas Madhu commented, “We believe that the foundation of business excellence is a mindset of continuous improvement. Therein lays the cornerstone of our organization. Our team of innovators is currently putting the finishing touches on a number of significant new banana chip innovations that will hit the market this year.”

How Beyond Snack Has Grown its Business post Shark Tank

Growth Post Shark Tank

Beyond Snack received investment from Aman Gupta, Co-Founder-CMO of boAt, and Ashneer Grover, Co-Founder, BharatPe. While both sharks bring unique skills and capabilities to the table, the co-founder stated that Aman excels at branding and marketing and Ashneer's strength lies in organizational development and growth. 

“Both skills are extremely complementary. Ashneer taught us about lightning-fast execution and strategies for bringing about hyper-growth, while Aman taught us about different layers of storytelling in branding and marketing. Our approach to the game was fundamentally altered by the Sharks' knowledge and experience,” added Madhu.

Moreover, owing to its team’s aggressive and tireless approach to providing its customers throughout India with excellent banana chips, every year, Beyond Snack is able to grow six-fold. “The year 2023 will be crucial, as we anticipate double-digit growth over the previous year,” stated Madhu.

The brand has raised over Rs 5.5 crore from angel investors and micro-venture capitalists. 

Retail and Marketing

“We see ourselves as a purely FMCG company. Retail/GT is still close to our hearts. Therefore, we have a pro-retail strategy,” said Manas.

The brand aims to launch operations in India's major cities within the upcoming 12 months. In November 2022, it released its first marketing campaign, ‘24Carat Taste’, reflecting the strong alignment between its story and its core mission of providing customers with an experience of the highest caliber. 

At the moment, the brand’s marketing is more heavily skewed toward digital. Its direct-to-consumer presence is primarily through marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart and is also present on other online platforms, including Big Basket, Swiggy, Blinkit, Zepto, and others.

Future Plans

From obtaining bananas from farmers directly, the brand produces in Kerala and supplies from there. Moreover, currently, the brand has distributors in Maharashtra's major cities, including Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Amaravati, Aurangabad, etc. 

In Maharashtra, Beyond Snack has a large distribution network and will be expanding its distribution presence to other states this year as well. As a result, more customers will have access to banana chips of higher quality, the current plan however is to expand into 23 additional cities within this year. The brand is already developing more flavor options for its customers.

“In the next five years, Beyond Snack will be a well-known national brand with a strong presence in additional food and beverage categories. Our core focus will remain on providing our customers with a gold-standard experience,” concluded Manas Madhu.

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