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INTERVIEW

“Hidden hunger is a prevalent issue in our country”
Monday, 05 June, 2023, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Superfoods Valley is a Bangalore-based nutrition and food-tech start-up working towards ‘Making Nutrition Easy’ is now concerned about hidden hunger. This is a prevalent issue in our country, as many people suffer from a deficiency of essential micronutrients. We are on a mission to build greater awareness about understanding your health, food, and nutrition gap & offering unique product solutions that aid in solving micronutrient deficiencies, said Amarpreet Singh Anand, founder and CEO, Superfoods Valley, in an email interview with Nandita Vijay. Excerpts:

How has Superfoods Valley fared so far since its inception?
Ours is a company that emerged from a personal journey experienced by its founders, Amarpreet S Anand and Sahiba Kaur. Our goal is to simplify nutrition for the average consumer by providing an array of services and products ranging from research-based tech to shelf, all geared towards equipping consumers with nutri-packed knowledge.

Currently, the company is on the 0 to 1 journey and has developed a unique product and technology that is gaining exciting traction. They have brought in a world-class scientific council of experts, including academia, nutritionists, and dieticians, to ensure that their products and services are based on the latest research.

The company has received orders from 130+ cities nationwide, showing the growing demand for their services and products. Their focus on transparency and accessibility makes them a promising player in the nutrition industry. We are  committed to helping consumers make informed decisions about their health and nutrition. With our innovative products and services, we are poised to impact the industry and significantly improve the lives of many.

What are the strengths of the company?
Since its inception, the company has introduced two distinctive products. The first one, Good Monk, is a nutritional mix that blends modern science with traditional wisdom. Scientifically designed and tested, this mix contains 13 nutri-herbs that can help fill the daily nutrition gap for modern Indian families.

The second product is What's Your NIQ (WNIQ), India's first personalised food recommendation app that aims to assist consumers in making smarter food choices and enhancing their Nutrition Intelligence Quotient. Additionally, the app helps users evaluate the nutritional value of commonly purchased and consumed food items, considering the nutrition information provided on the packaging. As part of our mission to simplify nutrition, we are committed to curating unique products that address hidden hunger, a prevalent issue among modern Indian families.

What kind of research the company conducted to study hidden hunger?
To support our company in its pursuit of wholesome nutrition, we conducted extensive qualitative research within different Mom groups, analysed government data, made 300+ family visits, and conducted Focused Group Discussions with other age groups.

The scientific council at our company has identified the benefits of essential nutrients like Lysine and emphasised the need for accommodating such nutrients in daily consumption. The company recently collaborated with the Indian Dietetic Association, Bangalore Chapter, to combat hidden hunger and gut health issues.

How is the Good Monk brand faring?
We launched Good Monk in December 2022, and we are currently focused on building awareness about the product. We are thrilled that existing customers are returning for more, and we have received orders from 130+ cities across the country. Our growth has been consistently good month-on-month.
 
Are there any more products in the pipeline?
We are constantly striving to develop unique products that address the nutrition gaps prevalent in modern Indian families and provide easy, transparent, and accessible nutrition to our customers. Our product range caters to the nutritional needs of different age groups, between 18 and 50 years old. There are a diverse range of innovative nutrition mixes in the pipeline, each targeting specific age groups.
 
Would the company look at funding? If yes, can you share the details?
We recently secured a $1 million investment from Multiply Ventures, along with support from distinguished angel investors such as Anand Kripalu (MD, EPL Limited), Bharat Puri (MD, Pidilite), Naveen Kukreja (co-founder, Paisa Bazaar), Manoj Sinha (co-founder, Husk Power Systems), Chella Pandyan (COO, HealthKart), and Navin Talreja and Kawal Shoor, founders, The Womb Communications, to name a few. This investment will enable us to expand our product line and further our mission of providing easy and accessible nutrition to Indian households.

How receptive are private equity and venture capitalists to such startup ventures in the space of nutrition?
The health and nutrition sectors are rapidly growing. As more people become health-conscious, there is a lot of interest from venture capital firms, resulting in significant investments in this industry.
 
As a nutrition and food-tech startup, what is the key differentiator going by the number of similar companies in the space?
Most of the players within the market are taking the medicinal route approach. At Good Monk, we wanted to Make Nutrition Easy and be a part of the Namak Dani in the household, which is as simple as adding Good Monk to your regular cooked food without altering its taste, colour, and smell. As a part of our mission to promote nutritional transparency, we have also launched the WNIQ app, which empowers users to make informed food choices based on the nutritional value of the food they consume.

What are the likely plans for the company?
Our primary focus is to raise awareness about hidden hunger, a prevalent issue in modern Indian families, and address it through our flagship family nutrition product, Good Monk. In addition, we have several new and innovative products in the nutrition mix category currently in development.

What are the visible trends?
Personalised nutrition is emerging as a significant trend that will shape the future of the nutrition industry. As people become more health-conscious, they seek suitable and convenient products tailored to their needs. Functional foods and dietary supplements are gaining popularity as people seek ways to address specific health concerns, such as immunity, digestion, and energy levels. This trend is driven by a desire to improve overall health and well-being and the growing availability of these products in the market. The trend towards personalised nutrition reflects a shift towards a more holistic approach to health and wellness, where people take a proactive role in managing their health through nutrition and lifestyle choices.

What are some of the challenges that companies like yours face?
Hidden hunger is a prevalent issue in our country, as many people suffer from a deficiency of essential micronutrients. Still, they need to be made aware of it and take steps to address the issue. At Good Monk, we see this challenge as an opportunity to create awareness about hidden hunger and drive the adoption of preventive measures. Our unique product is a blend of 13 nutri-herbs that has shown promising results in improving gut health, building immunity, increasing energy levels, and supporting mental development. We are committed to building awareness about our product and driving consumer adoption. It is alarming to note that 8 out of 10 people in our country are micronutrient deficient, and we aim to address this issue through our products and initiatives.

As more and more Indians prioritise their health and wellness, we anticipate an increased demand for products that are convenient and tailored to individual needs. In addition, personalised nutrition is a key trend we see in the coming years. There is a significant interest in functional foods and dietary supplements that address specific health concerns such as immunity, digestion, and energy levels. These trends reflect the desire of consumers to improve their overall health and well-being, and we strive to cater to their needs through our innovative products and initiatives.
 
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