Children today have access to packaged food more than ever. A quick stop at the supermarket can result in a number of snack packs that are mostly unhealthy. Currently, there are limited or hardly any options available in the category of healthy and age-appropriate packaged food for children. Timios was started with an aim to offer age-appropriate and healthy snacks for children. Timios products are age-appropriate, covering age ranges starting from 6 months to 12 years.
In an exclusive conversation, Aswani Chaitanya, CEO and Co-Founder, Timios, talks about the healthy snacking industry and how it is changing in India. He elaborates on the consumer traction and trends Timios has seen in the Indian market during COVID-19.
Kindly shed light on your entrepreneurial journey. What inspired you to launch Timios?
The idea of coming up with a food brand for kids sparked during supermarket visits where there always seemed to be a tussle between parents and their little ones. There was a huge gap when it came to children’s snacking, so I dived deep into research and reached out to friends and family to understand the market more. My wife played an integral role in all of this too, comparing what was available in the UK and India. It was discovered that apart from a handful of known mega brands, there was nothing in this space that was specific to healthy snacking for kids. This was a concern because nutrition plays a very important role at this age. It was very clear that this needed to be addressed. Fortunately for me, my sister is a Nutritionist and had just delivered a baby then. She too was on the lookout for something that allowed her the balance of work and home. My father being an Agricultural Scientist did bring invaluable contributions. We reached out to pediatricians, got relevant references and factories. The base was set and it was time to get things into motion. We started putting a plan of snacks and bars and that is how Timios came into the picture.
According to you, what would be the estimated market size of the healthy snacking segment? What are the factors propelling growth in this segment?
The global market for kids’ food and beverages is projected to reach US$144 billion by 2024. The reasons for this include a rising emphasis on child health and wellness, growing awareness, and the benefits of the right dietary habits.
A recent report by UNICEF indicates that India is expecting about 20.1 million births during the time period of March 2020 to December 2020. With more and more millennial parents making conscious healthy choices for their children, there is a need and huge opportunity for a healthy food brand for children.
Have you raised any funding so far? If yes, please elaborate.
We have raised seed funding from MTR, Rangsons Technologies, and Paipal Ventures. The funds were used towards product development, strengthening existing distribution network, and enhancing backend operations.
What consumer traction and trends Timios has seen in the Indian market during COVID-19?
Over the last few months, we have noticed there is an increasing demand D2C (Direct to Consumer) channel. With extended lockdowns and increased traffic in online marketplaces, D2C is becoming more popular because it’s faster and easier to place an order with a brand. Selling directly to consumers is becoming increasingly popular among retailers, brands, and consumers. For a customer, ordering products on a D2C channel like WhatsApp is easy, flexible, and quick. On the other hand, for brands, it’s a great way to build stronger relationships with their target audience and to engage with newer categories of customers.
In addition to this, due to the current situation and extended stays at home, a lot of parents are happy to order directly from brands rather than waiting to place an order through other online marketplaces that are already inundated with increased traffic. The turnaround time in a direct order is much faster and the whole process offers a seamless experience
What is the average customer order size on your website? Also, are you digital-only, or do you have an omnichannel presence?
Our average online order price is 350. This is the case across the platform. We are digitally present in all leading platforms partly due to the current buying pattern. But, we are also present pan India in all kids-focused retail outlets. We are available in the most organic and natural stores and leading supermarkets.
How do you see the healthy snacking market changing in India?
From restaurants opting for healthy menus to FMCG brands focusing on creating natural and organic snacks, healthy eating is definitely becoming an essential part of our dietary habits. Millennial parents are careful with their food choices for their children. In fact, awareness is not just limited to healthy eating, there is a leaning towards adopting a healthy lifestyle overall. From eating right to working out regularly, young families are inclined towards holistic health.
What are your plans for taking Timios to a next level of growth?
We have a lot of exciting announcements coming up. We will soon be launching a new category of “Made to Order” Porridge range for infants and toddlers. Available in 12 variants, this new product line by Timios has been designed keeping the nutritional requirements of children in mind, especially for children between the ages of 6 months to 2 years.