After working for four years in the clean energy sector, Mayank Gupta took a six month's break due to a medical issue. During that time being a foodie, he was looking for healthier food options. Most of the products, which were available in the market, were either healthy or tasty. He couldn’t find any option, which would satiate both being healthy AND tasty. And, that’s where he saw the huge gap in the market tapping the opportunity and decided to do something to solve this problem. He has invested hugely in the business to do justice to the brand breaking the myth that healthy is boring. Excerpts from the interview:
What is the whole idea coming up with To Be Healthy?
After realizing the opportunity, I decided to develop health products focusing on taste and came up with the brand name - To Be Healthy. The vision of creating this brand was to be synonymous with products which reflect health, taste, and honesty.
We see that there is a sudden rise in office snacks in India. Why So? Are you tapping the same kind of TG?
With extended office hours and hectic lifestyle, people have started relying on convenient and faster food options like packaged snacks. They have also started realizing that sedentary lifestyle is taking a toll on their health and are looking for healthier food options when in office. We have tied up with various co-working spaces and corporates like WeWork, BMW, 91 Springboard etc by placing our products in their cafeteria, vending machines or having regular pop-ups.
What are the different kinds of product available at TBH? What is your plan expanding them as these products are very seasonal and come with a shelf life?
We are using a technology called Vacuum Frying to make the chips. The basic principle behind the technology is that the frying of the produce takes place at a temperature of 80 degrees, instead of 180 degrees (normal frying). This preserves 90% of the nutrients, fiber, color, and taste. Also, oil is removed inside the chamber itself and hence chips have 80% less oil than normal chips.
We are currently doing vacuum fried vegetable chips in three variants; okra with mint and coriander, periperi sweet potato and crispy beetroot with mediterranean sea salt. We are coming up with tomato, sweet pea and shitake mushroom chips very soon. The idea is to have a range with all possible vegetable, fruits, and seeds, which can be made into ready to eat snacks.
How about pricing them right as you say that these are replacements to potato chips?
We are trying to get the cost down by working on the technology and economies of scale. But we cannot compare the pricing of vacuum fried chips with normal potato chips because vegetables used are much more expensive than potato, potato is readily available throughout the year because of multiple cold storages and the oil used is of superior quality and is far expensive than the regular oil used in general potato frying.
Tell us something about your distribution network. Who are some of your partners?
We are working via various offline and online retail channels. In the offline segment, we are present in more than 150 stores and HoReCa tie-up like Foodhall, Le marche, Needs Supermarket, Mr. Brown etc. For online we have more than 15 platforms where we are listed.
It is often believed that healthy is boring. How are you breaking this myth?
At TBH we always work towards creating a fun and vibrant brand. Be it our packaging, creatives, in-store branding or any type of communication. We want to make health food a lifestyle rather then something you dread trying.
How is the response so far?
The response has been really good. We are getting multiple repeat orders from our clients, which is reassuring. Also in the time span of just 4 months, we have become the bestseller at Foodhall stores in the snack segment!!
What is the plan going forward? (Expanding to new cities, product base, distribution partners)
Going forward we want to be present in all the metro and tier 1 cities by end of 2018. We will be launching 6 more variants later this year. We are working on export markets and already in talks with some of the importers.