In talks with Sushant Kalra, Founder at Samasta Foods Pvt. Ltd.
Q: What motivated you to step into the health food business?
A: I think it’s the way we’ve been brought up, we were always taught to put health before everything else. I’ve always been conscious of the type of food that I eat and that is not to see that I am not an absolute foodie because I am. I love eating healthy. I’ve also been a fitness freak; very particular with my work out routine and my diet plan. And I think that entire obsession with health and fitness motivated me to step into the health food business because I felt health was something that I know a lot about. Being a foodie and a food nerd, I always have an in-built desire to create innovative recipes with the best of taste without compromising on the health benefits. Getting into the health food business was an opportunity to serve those recipes and the purest organic food to the people; improving the quality of living and eating all over the world. They say, “You are what you eat” & I agree. The healthier you eat, the healthier your body and mind become.
Q: What kind of research you did before jumping into this business and what findings made you sure it is the way to go?
A: We did an extensive research on the subjects like changing consumer behavior, consumer awareness and consumer psychology which helped us a lot in deciding our product line and the future of our product portfolio. We made a lot of important decisions based on this research - What product categories to add down the line, what product categories to not add in our range as of now, what product categories are expected to perform more than some others, etc. The past 3 years have been tough on the entire owing to COVID but it has brought a revolutionary change in the health food sector. Consumers have become a lot more aware & lot more health conscious due to which they are making healthy choices & switching to healthy alternatives in their daily lives which should have been the case from the start. But better late than never so
Q: Millets are a superfood which have made a comeback in recent years. What innovation and strategy went into designing your line of millets-based products?
A: While we were researching to finalize our organic product range, the one thing that we realized was extremely high in consumer demand and had a wide range of utilities was Millets. Millets are ancient Indian Grains known to be amongst the most nutritious & healthy grains. And the recipes that can be made using millets are too much to count. So, we thought of combining these ancient Indian grains with the latest technology to match today’s choices & preferences. We are making millet pancakes, millet soups, millet cheelas, millet dosa, millet extruded & baked snacks, millet porridges etc. as of now we have created a wholesome millet processed range. And when it comes to millets, we don’t want to stop experimenting so we’re likely to add more millet specific recipes in our range.
Q: You have an exhaustive line of millets-based products. What are the growth patterns and market acceptance for these products?
The millets industry is growing at an exceptional rate, consumers are choosing millets over maida, corn and wheat now. Millets has become a healthier alternative for the consumers and we are so on board with this change. Millets have revolutionized the food trends. We can now see millets in breakfast cereals, binge snacks, desserts, full course meals, etc. This is just the beginning. It’s an opportunity for manufacturers & exporters like us to not only serve millets to Indian consumers but to overseas consumers as well. There’s such a big market for millets alone which has a lot of exploring to do by people like us and we’re very excited to do that.
Q: Tell us about the opportunities and the challenges in the Indian health food market
We are a country of 140 billion people and food is the need of each one of these people. And, there has been a massive change in consumer needs and demands post COVID. Never before has the consumer paid so much heed to the health benefits of everything they consume. It’s a crucial time for the Indian health food market and we should make the most of it. We are an ocean of opportunities with such diverse population with so many consumer preferences & choices. Accessibility & affordability have been the greatest challenges in our supply chain system, but accessibility is getting resolved at a very fast pace by some very prominent startups in the industry. We’re also working on both of these aspects.