The CII Food Summit showcased a few start up ventures that were promoted by 60-somethings who are not yet ready to retire from work. The start ups offer solutions ranging from affordable short eats to business analytics for the food sector.
Brahma Indic, a startup by Ramesh Menon and Jothish KU, got inspiration to produce and market wholesome food after observing children and youth getting addicted to packaged junk food. Their venture aims to provide gluten-free eatables by substituting maida with ethnic and nutritional ingredients.
In order to attract youth, Brahma Indic has started by offering pasta and noodles without maida, but with ingredients that are protein rich. E Rajagopalan decided to launch a startup at the age of 61, and for the past two years has been running Ra Technical Services which services machinery in a range of food product companies. Ra has a turnover of roughly Rs 2 crore after two years, and Rajagopalan feels a Rs 100-crore turnover in 10 years is achievable.
Saleel Abdul Kader who runs the startup In Business Management Consultants helps companies with data analytics and has helped a US retail company to increase efficiency as much as 76 per cent. Kader says demand prediction is crucial for food companies, and data analytics offers ideal solutions for this.
Naturup, a startup that has launched coconut water in powdered form, uses a manufacturing facility in Pondicherry for its production, and claims its specialty is that it is free of artificial flavours and colours. Naturup managing director Antony S Pathadan says his products are now being sold in the UAE and Australia and is the category topper on Amazon.
Andrine Mendez moved from the advertising field to launch a startup named Pling, which offers short eats that cost as low as Rs 5 and Rs 10. In only 10 months of operation, Pling has a turnover of Rs 1 crore, and 60 distributors.
Startups in the food sector say that they consider the future bright, given the fact that the processed foods sector in India is still in infancy. Statistics show that in contrast to 80 per cent food consumption in western nations being in the processed foods category, in India it is less than 5 per cent.
At the startup pitching competition held in connection with the CII Food Summit, Naturup Consumer Products, Brahma Indic and In Business Management Consultants won the top three awards, in that order, among the food sector startups.