Ayurvedic snacks: this entrepreneur is changing how we eat; sells Rs 5 lakh inventory in 6 months
It is a widely accepted fact that health goes beyond just exercising and staying active. Food and nutrition is a big part of it, but eating packaged comestibles labelled ‘healthy’, ‘low sugar’, ‘fat-free’ is not enough.
Ridhima Arora, Founder, Namhya Foods
Given that our lifestyles and eating habits too have changed drastically – from carefully prepared, home-cooked meals, to just grabbing a bite from a food stall or ordering out online – most of the stuff we consume today is devoid of any nutritional value. That combined with daily stresses, inadequate sleep, and haphazard work timings have led to an overall increase in lifestyle illnesses.
That is what prompted Ridhima Arora, founder of Namhya Foods, to explore ways to make food nutritious, therapeutic even, using Ayurveda.
In an interaction with SMBStory, Ridhima says,“I started my journey towards a healthy lifestyle when I gained tremendous weight due to PCOS. In an effort to become fit, I modified my diet. But it is really hard to shut your cravings. While the fancy quinoa chips and avocados pinch the pocket, the other section of fad foods is even worse because of the hidden harmful ingredients lost in marketing communication done in the front of the pack.”
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The point was driven home after her father became seriously ill due to liver cirrhosis. She realised that there was a gap between the food industry and the healthcare industry, in that food did not play any role in medical treatments.
She founded Namhya Foods in 2019 to explore how food could be combined with Ayurveda to make it more healing and nutritious.
Bringing Ayurveda to the masses, via snacks
Namhya Foods' heart tea and kashmiri kahwa
Namhya Foods positions itself as an alternative health company, where one replaces a regular meal or snack with the company’s Ayurveda-based health food products.
It has introduced seven SKUs so far, including Ayurvedic teas with ashwagandha, brahmi, and fresh rose petals; instant breakfast with natural proteins such as sattu nuts; tea for heart ailments; brain foods to satiate evening cravings, among others.
Citing an example of a popular, ‘healthy’ biscuit, Ridhima says,“Healthy oats biscuit is hardly any oats. It still has maida (whole wheat) and sugars. The dangers of sugar-free ‘everything’ are hardly known. Fat-free is the new cause of diabetes (hidden sugars). The browns of that bread are actually coloured versions of the white. We hardly know all of this unless we reverse the packet and read their nutritional contents and be conscious of what we’re consuming.”
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Namhya Foods has its manufacturing facility in Jammu, and it sources all the ayurvedic herbs and ingredients from India. Ridhima claims that the brand doesn’t use any vegetable oils, hidden sugars, preservatives – not even the ‘certified safe’ ones, like sodium benzoate, sulphur dioxide, or any sorbates.
Beating the COVID-19 challenges right after inception
Namhya Foods was founded last year in August, and spent its initial months setting up infrastructure. Sales began in December, and continued till March, before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country.“From December to March we sold over 2,000 units of our products. But, when the lockdown was announced and the manufacturing units were shut, our business took a setback. However, as we came under essential categories, we resumed the business with only two members of the staff, taking all the precautions.”
Namhya Foods is available on grocery shelves in Jammu, Gujarat, and Delhi. Online sales happen on Flipkart, eBay, Etsy, and its own website. In the last six months, it has sold inventory worth Rs 5 lakh.
Impact of the work on society and competition
Namhya Foods' instant breakfast and brain foods
While the competition is split between the healthy snacking industry, which includes health bars and snacks, and the curative products that target specific health problems, no company is really working in the preventive healthcare segment and creating meals with ayurvedic combinations for everyday life, says Ridhima.
Namhya Foods intends to shift the market to healthier, yet convenient, options of foods that blend in with people’s modern-day lives.“Our protein meal, for example, is an instant mix, yet healthy, unlike the other preservative-filled instant mixes.”
The ‘heart tea’ is a hit with people with high cholesterol and heart issues. The company also gives free nutritional coaching via personal chats, and conducts online workshops and events.
The way ahead
As a brand, Namhya Foods wants to use Ayurveda to enrich food not just in India, but internationally too. With #BackToRoots as the brand’s tagline, the company aims to create a space for itself in the preventive health care segment.
“I think a brand like ours will be more relevant in the post-COVID-19 era when health care will be taken seriously, both by the consumers and the government,” says Ridhima.
In terms of the distribution of the products, the company has been in talks with UrbanPlatter, Qtrove, MilkBasket and Grofers. Namhya aims to clock sales of Rs 1 crore by next year, and is also planning to introduce a new range of products that include PCOS tea, among others.
(Edited by Aparajita Saxena)
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