Chips and cola for movie nights, samosas and chai for an early evening gossip session with friends, pakoras and bhajjis for those rainy days – snacking options in India are endless. However, these foods also come with a heavy dose of guilt.
But then, with healthy snacking options limited to salads and nuts, who has the time, budget or even the inclination to pick healthy snacks?
Bengaluru-based Foodio.fit, which was launched by two school friends Apoorva Gururaj and Suresh Reddy D in 2020, aims to solve this problem.
“I observed that only a few bridged the gap of healthy snacking in its true sense. This large gap, especially in an Indian market which is big on snacking and also sadly the metabolic diseases capital of the world, gives rise to the need for healthy quality based foods,” says Apoorva Gururaj, Founder and CEO of Foodio.fit.
“So I sounded this off to my childhood friend and he too wanted to enter the food space, so we began researching the idea first and understood that snacking was a major generator of guilt when it came to eating in most people.,” she adds.
The Bengaluru-based healthy-package food startup offers foods with low carb, high protein, multigrain, and keto options. Its products include Indian snacks, chocolates, beverages, specialty flours, and vegetable chips.
Apoorva highlights Foodio’s beverage offerings. Priced at Rs 30 to Rs 70 per sachet for tender coconut and sugarcane respectively, these products are convenient to carry, the co-founder says.
“Tender coconut and sugarcane now a sachet away, when you want it and where you want it. Mix cold water with the packaged, freeze dried natural tender coconut water and a quick swirl later you get fresh tender coconut water right at your work desk or at home or a picnic or now even in mountains,” Co-Founder and COO Suresh adds.
Foodio.fit’s vacuum fried chips are packed with the goodness of real vegetables and its handcrafted milled flour variants that are made from seeds, the co-founder says.
The foodtech startup claims to service currently in India, USA, Australia and the United Kingdom. It claims to have over 50 distributors and over 5,000 customers in less than a year of starting the business. It also shipped more than a lakh orders till date.
The entrepreneur explains the reasons behind the startup’s success.
“Firstly, our CEO is our food technologist, who is one of the creators of most commercially successful low-carb products for most brands in the country during her consulting phase of career before she started Foodio. Secondly, the usage of several seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, flax, Melon as the main ingredients; every flour used in manufacturing our snacks is made from these seeds,” Suresh tells YS.
The startup claims to have removed refined sugar and refined flour from its products and has brought back traditional Indian snacks.
All the ingredients, it says, are sourced directly from farmers and undergo a series of tests at the factory to ensure that the products are of premium quality. All the parameters are constantly checked until the final product is packaged.
“Our vision is to make Foodio products reach every nook and corner of the world,” Suresh says.
Co-founders Suresh and Apoorva have known each other since high school.
“A chance meeting with Suresh happened and I sounded off the idea to him and he too wanted to enter the food space and we began researching. The richest learning we both took from our initial research which we did for almost two years,” tells Apoorva.
With a master’s degree in food science and nutrition from Avinashilingam University for Women, Tamil Nadu, Apoorva has previously worked with companies like Grow Fit, Jiyo Natural Pvt Ltd, Britannia Industries Limited, Apollo, HUL etc.
With a PGDM (post graduate diploma in management) from National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR) Pune, Foodio.fit is Suresh’s fifth Stint at starting his own venture. Prior to this he was into construction mainly with contracts and e-tendering. Doing a mix of government and private projects, he has successfully executed over Rs 100 crore projects. His passion towards healthy eating drove him to build Foodio.fit.
The startup has a team of 25+ members currently.
Funding and monetisation
Apoorva and Suresh pooled their savings to get the venture rolling.
“With the funds made available, we moved operations to Bengaluru from Delhi. where we set up a small R&D kitchen and got cracking on product development,” explains Suresh.
About 40 percent of the startup’s revenue is from B2C (business-to-consumer) space and 60 percent is from retail and institutional
Apart from its own website, the startup also sells its product on other marketplaces such as Amazon,
Bigbasket, Ratnadeep, Five Star Hotels, Godrej Nature’s Basket, Swiggy and many more.
The way ahead
As per a Fortune Business Insights report, the global healthy snacks market size was valued at $78.13 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $108.11 billion by 2027, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 4.2 percent during the forecast period.
“Growing concerns about an increase in lifestyle diseases and awareness about the importance of diet, health and wellness are some of the reasons that help us to break into such a competitive market,” Suresh says.
Currently the startup claims to have a 25 percent month-on-month growth and over 30 percent repeat rate from its customers.
“We aim to be in more than five countries including Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Dubai, enter 1000+ retail outlets and have one lakh crore+ happy customers around the globe. We are also in the process of fundraising too,” Apoorva states.
The startup faces competition from players such as Lo! Foods in low carbs, Ketofy for keto and Soulfull for multigrain categories.
“But there is not a single player who provides a range of products like low carbs, keto, high protein and multigrain under one umbrella. So for us there is no competitor right now who is in a similar space,” he adds.
Apoorva says that the startup has invested in developing environmentally friendly packaging.
“It’s been one year and there has been no looking back ever since, getting Foodio.fit’s Tender coconut water in the hands of millions has become our calling,” says Apoorva.