In an exclusive interview, sisters Anindita and Suhasini Sampath, co-founders, Yoga Bar speak to Steena Joy about the energy bars market in India and the way ahead for the company.
What inspired you to start Yoga Bar?
We were working in the US where we saw that there’s a huge market for energy bars there. In India, snacks full of carbohydrates and fats were available that may fill the appetite but have adverse effects on the body. We knew that we want to set-up our business in India and after looking at the scenario, we decided what we really want to offer to our consumers- a healthy snacking option that is not only filling but also comes with nutritional values. Our aim was to build a brand that consumers trust for quality, nutrition, and great taste.
What were the challenges you faced considering India does not have a very health conscious demographic?
It was very challenging for us to build a healthy brand in India. It took us six months to gather the fight capital for setting up the business and the manufacturing unit and another six months to find the right people to follow the vision. We worked with over 50 bakers to get the right recipe for our products. It was essential for us to have everything just the way we want, which required a lot of convincing and conversations with people from different fields.
Where is your production facility, what is the capacity and is it FSSAI certified?
Our production facility is in Domlur Industrial Area that has a capacity of producing one million bars/month. It is FSSAI certified.
How do you source your ingredients and how do you ensure consistency in quality?
Our ingredients are locally sourced in India. We try to source them directly from the farmers wherever possible, in order to make sure that there is no compromise on the quality of the products.
What retail formats are you currently using? Do you plan to deviate to any other format?
Currently we distribute through modern trade and general trade stores. We wish to keep it that way for the near future.
Your insights on the future of health foods sector in India vis a vis other countries?
Most developed countries in the world have known the concept of healthy food for a very long time now. Whereas, in India, it is still at a growing stage. There is a lot of scope to expand in the health food sector in India. Awareness about the increasing problems of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. have led the people to opt for healthier food items and that’s where we feel that the food industry has a potential to grow in our country.
Your comments on the:
- Food startup scene in India?
As we said, growing awareness about various health-related problems has helped the food industry to take a turn towards the health road. A lot of startups in the food sector are coming up with unique ideas to provide a healthy lifestyle to the consumers. Each of them targets a specific audience and works towards that direction.
- Food apps?
Food apps have made it very easy for the sellers to reach out to their target audience. It provides doorstep service to its users and has helped the startups in the food industry to increase their sales.
How much of your sales are institutional (hotels/restaurants)?
We sell to around 100 corporates but are not available in any hotels at the moment.