No more junk: This Delhi-based duo is putting health on children's menus
Snacking smart is easy now. Shauravi Malik and Meghana Narayan are trying to put nutrition and nourishment on your child's plate with Slurrp Farm.
The back-to-back advertisements on TV would have you believe that children in India are bonny, bouncing babies. But not quite!
A report by CRY, one of India's leading NGOs, reveals that most children under two years of age in India do not have access to good quality food and lack adequate nutrition. The report, based on recent data released by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), 2015-16, highlights that nine out of 10 children in the age group of six to 23 months do not get an adequate diet.
The co-founders, Shauravi Malik and Meghana Narayan, like to call Slurrp Farm "a brand started by two mothers, for their children and yours".
Shauravi, who has a master's degree in economics from Cambridge University, and Meghana, who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, quit flourishing careers and chose to embark on their entrepreneurial journey.
The duo, friends for a while now, identified the gap of healthy eating options in the children's food market in India when they failed to find high-quality packaged food for their own children. Somewhere along the way they decided to follow a business idea "close to our heart".
The health food startup, which was launched in 2016, currently offers two products - cereals (made from whole wheat, rice, ragi, fruits, vegetables and milk) and cookies (with whole wheat, ragi, oats, raisins, banana, chocolate and cheese).
Shauravi says: "We officially launched the brand in October 2016 but we invested time, energy and our own money into extensive R&D for three years before that. We understood the A to Z of conventional packaged food production and what Slurrp Farm could do differently."
Slurrp Farm products are available in around 50 stores across New Delhi and will soon be stocked in other metros too. Apart from brick-and-mortar outlets, their products can also be bought on online platforms such as Amazon, Bigbasket, FirstCry, BabyChakra and Paytm.
The co-founders have plans to launch 16 new products by the end of this year and are hopeful of achieving a turnover of Rs 3 crore in the next one year. By August 2017, this bootstrapped venture also plans to embark on its fundraising journey.
Focus on healthy eating
Shauravi and Meghana are clear that the main goal of their brand is to encourage children to "eat healthier, without compromising on quality".
"We realised that there are other concerns - bad fats, excess sugar, lots of preservatives and additives," Shauravi says.
A Ken Research report reveals that Nestle, Wockhardt's Farex and Heinz Breakfast Creamy Oat Porridge Cereal are the three most popular brands in India's baby food market, with Nestle India maintaining the lead in 2015.
Slurrp Farm feels that it is at a very nascent stage to worry about competition with the big players.
"We are too small at this stage to have any real competition. The ones in the segment we are in are all stalwarts and giants of the food industry; we really aren't there yet," Shauravi says.
Slurrp Farm is now working intensively on developing a range of breakfast and snacking options for children, all made from traditional ingredients. They are experimenting with millets-high in calcium-as the core ingredient and aim to launch four new ragi-based food products soon.
"Millets were an important food group in our own homes when we were children, and we wanted to practice the same with our children," Shauravi says.
Earlier, the co-founders had also outlined plans to increase their line to include products for the elderly along prenatal, postnatal, and weight-watching products. But children will continue to remain the focus and the brand may enter other children's categories besides food.
Packaging is another element that is intrinsic to the brand. Slurrp Farm products are packaged in colourful, recycled cardboard with bold images of Indian farm animals such as a tiger, a monkey, a crocodile, a bear, a rhino and a parrot. The idea is to attract young consumers with bright colours and storytelling narratives.
Will Slurrp Farm pack meal time-testing time for most parents-with nutrition and fun? Shauravi Malik and Meghana Narayan are betting it will.
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