Wednesday, Mar 29, 2023

An Organic Start

An Organic Start

India has the world’s largest tea drinking population but one of the lowest penetrations of bottled teas in the world. While China, Japan and most of Europe now spend more on cold teas, for 99.5% of Indians, tea still means hot.

Brewhouse – For the Love of Healthy Teas

“India has the world’s largest tea drinking population but one of the lowest penetrations of bottled teas in the world. While China, Japan and most of Europe now spend more on cold teas, for 99.5% of Indians, tea still means hot. We wish to change that,” says Siddharth Jain, Founder & CEO, Brewhouse, a certified organic maker of iced teas and coolers.

Jain, an ardent lover of tea, was part of the banking world in Singapore, till about 2012. But a startup dream and bringing real-brewed iced tea to the market made him establish Brewhouse. After some initial home experiments, he launched Brewhouse in 2017 after being funded by Food Empire, a global FMCG Group listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, and converted to fully organic in October 2019.

The company sources its ingredients from small organic tea farms in the Nilgiris. “Each batch of tea that we purchase is lab tasted for its genuine organic nature, absence of pesticides, etc. Tea is perhaps the only food item that is consumed without washing; what we drink is usually the first wash of the product. Therefore, it becomes even more important that the tea has no chemical residues on the surface,” says Jain.

Having sold more than 50 lakh bottles of teas and coolers so far, Brewhouse is certainly getting its brew right. It started as an offline retail brand with institutional space and then expanded to retail stores across the country. But once the pandemic hit, the company switched to online modes of selling through its website and other ecommerce platforms – now contributing to about one-third of its sales.

After the recent launch of a range of coolers, Brewhouse is set to launch Lazybones – a range of refreshing drinks to boost energy, calm and focus.

Cheers to a healthy sip. 

Pascati Chocolate – Certified Artisan, Certified Organic

“We are the only certified organic chocolate brand in India,” says Devansh Ashar, an ardent chocolate lover and founder of Pascati Chocolate proudly.

But what led him to enter such a niche segment in India is a story of its own. A few years ago while munching on a Swiss chocolate; Ashar noticed the distinct difference in taste. The chocolate not only readily melted in his mouth but even tasted better. Soon, Ashar enrolled himself for a three-month online chocolate-making course from Ecole Chocolat. Once he understood that the secret behind superior quality of chocolates lay in naturally-produced cocoa beans, he decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge.

After some experiments and encouragement from family and friends, Ashar founded Pascati Chocolates in 2015. The start-up follows a bean-to-bar model which means it controls every aspect of the chocolates’ production. It closely scrutinises everything -- from the purchase of the cocoa beans to the final bar. “There is an element of art involved along with science. The cacao is roasted, cracked, winnowed and refined with sugar and cocoa butter (which we press ourselves). The chocolate is then tempered, packed and shipped across the country,” informs Ashar.

Pascati works with a farming co-op FTAK (FairTrade Alliance Kerala) since 2018 and has impacted more than 2,000 farmers. It initially worked closely with the farmers growing cacao beans and guided them to get the fermentation and drying right.

So, what really differentiates a regular brand of chocolate from Pascati? “A ‘regular’ chocolate is made with cacao, which is not fermented and put out in the sun to dry. These are beans of poor quality and need to undergo an alkalisation process. This makes the end product inorganic and strips away the flavour profile of the beans, giving it a very soft and consistent cocoa-like aroma,” explains Ashar.

With its new factory in Maharashtra producing more than 1 lakh bars a month, Pascati Chocolates is geared up for a sweeter future ahead. Completely family funded, the brand has tie-ups with several luxury hotels apart from sales through its website and other ecommerce platforms. It offers more than 14 varieties of chocolates – the most popular being the Raspberry & Hibiscus bar and the 77% Malabar Hills Single Origin bar.

Naturally Yours – The ‘no-junk’ noodles

“My kids like most others of their kind, love noodles. But most of what is available in the market is junk. It’s time we had some healthier options,” says Vinod C, Founder & CEO, Naturally Yours, makers of 100% organic noodles and pasta.

Launched in 2020 by Vinod, an experienced marketing professional and Priya Prakash, a nutritionist and biotechnologist, Naturally Yours takes pride in its healthy nutrients. “Our pledge is no refined flour, only wholegrains and that’s also our USP,” says Vinod.

The company is 100% bootstrapped and completely family funded. The raw material is sourced from farmer groups from across India and sent to the manufacturing unit. They are then used to make the final product in small batches to ensure freshness and nutritional value. Currently, Naturally Yours offers five kinds of wholegrain noodles – multi-millet, red rice, soya, buckwheat and quinoa -- and four varieties of gluten free pasta – multigrain, quinoa, chickpea and red lentil.

“We have grown 10X and are profitable. As of now, we are not looking at any more funds as we are pushing back the profits into the company,” says Vinod. But he expresses his plan to go international in few years time once the company achieves a steady demand in India.

Naturally Yours advertises through social media handles and also invites nutritionists to write blogs for its website. “The idea is to make people aware about the true benefits of organic and healthy food,” adds Vinod. The company also had a tie-up with the Bombay International School for providing meals to students; a model they wish to go back to once the pandemic subsides.

This story is written by Pallavi Chakravorty. She is the Associate Editor of Outlook Business.