In today’s intoxicated world what is that one necessity item which you can name it having pure natural content amalgamated in it. From food to skincare products, everything is adulterated and the concept of availing pure products has vanished from our markets
Consumer demand for nutraceutical products is also growing rapidly because of an increase in co-prescriptions by doctors and other specialists like dietitians. Moreover, India’s population now has a higher spending power because of a rise in disposable incomes. All of these factors have played a role in market growth.
To bring about a ‘PURE REVOLUTION’ in market, Sushil Khaitan, CEO & Director of Pure Nutrition, tends to resonate with highly bioavailable products that are easily absorbed by the body to resolve the need of nutritional deficiencies present in a typical urban person. “Our aim is to cut through the chaos of the current market which is full of placebo products that do not do much for the body. We have successfully formulated and rolled out products within multiple categories that include dietary supplements, artisan herbal teas, cold-pressed organic oils, and premium quality functional foods,” explains Khaitan. Let’s hear about his venture and what light he wants to shed on his product offerings.
1.What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
Our brand is called Pure Nutrition, registered under Herbs Nutri Products Pvt. Ltd. Pure Nutrition specializes in premium nutrition supplements, protein powders, functional foods and cold pressed oils. The words Pure and Nutrition are a part of our brand philosophy that extends to our products as well.
2. Who is your target Audience/clients?
At present India’s market is just 2% of the global nutraceutical market, but we have a huge untapped population. This means that there is immense scope for expansion and we are already making these efforts. In the past, urban India, or more precisely the metros, were the only markets for nutraceutical sales, but consumption patterns have shown a dramatic shift, with a steady increase in demand from Tier II and Tier III cities.
3. Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
Pure Nutrition is based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. We have a retail presence in multiple Tier 1 and 2 cities at present and are also looking to expand our market in Tier 3 cities. Apart from conventional distribution channels, we are very strong on the digital front as well, through our website and marketplace sites like Amazon, Flipkart etc.
4. What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Pure Nutrition resonates with highly bioavailable products that are easily absorbed by the body to resolve the need of nutritional deficiencies present in a typical urban person. Our aim is to cut through the chaos of the current market which is full of placebo products that do not do much for the body. We have successfully formulated and rolled out products within multiple categories that include dietary supplements, artisan herbal teas, cold-pressed organic oils, and premium quality functional foods.
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
I have always been passionate about health and fitness, particularly the role of preventive health care in our world today. At first this was simply a subject of personal interest, but as I delved deeper, I realized that there was tremendous scope for business in the sector. Entering into the nutraceutical sector therefore satisfied my business goals, as well as my desire to promote sustainable healthy living.
6. Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Anyone who enters the preventive healthcare industry or the nutraceuticals segment is our competitor. In an ideal world, it would be a level playing field when all our contemporaries were working on superior formulations and enhanced bioavailability. Unfortunately, plenty of players today create counterfeit products just to stay competitive from a price point of view. Our biggest differentiator is product quality and enhanced bioavailability. This precise focus on creating extra ordinary, bio-active formulations has also been a huge driver as far as customer retentions are concerned.
7. How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us something about your co-founder/s.
After meeting Luke Coutinho and first discussing the idea of Pure Nutrition, I realized that we were a perfect fit and we instantly formed a connection. Seeing his passion for nutrition and wellness, I knew that there was something we can conjure, collaborate and do good work on. With my 3 decades of entrepreneurial experience and Luke’s vast knowledge of the nutrition industry, we are an ideal team with the perfect balance of knowledge, skills and experience.
8. How did you hired your first team members? What skills do you want in your employees/team?
Mr. Luke Coutinho, co-founder of Pure Nutrition is who I consider my first team member. The employee force at Pure Nutrition is made up of motivated and driven people who can multitask effortlessly and who are willing to perceive your start up as their own when it comes to putting endless hours of blood and sweat. We are currently a team of 60 people who are highly skilled and passionate spread across research, development, food technologists, nutrition experts, marketing, supply chain and operations.
9. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
In the next 2 years, we are opening stores at premium locations within metropolitan cities and are also looking to start franchises pan India so that our products are accessible to both the online and the offline consumer. Very soon, we plan on launching our own range of whey protein-rich FMCG consumables like on-the-go snack bars, cookies, nut butters and more. The introduction of new FSSAI standards have made the business simpler, clearing a lot of obstacles.
As we increase our footprint to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in the next 5 years, wellness supplements and functional foods will surely reach new sets of consumers. Although ambitious, we hope to bring about a transformation in health care, shifting the focus towards nutrition and disease prevention. We are also studying international markets & exploring possible alliances for overseas expansion.
10. What are your immediate goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
For the immediate future, we are looking forward to feedback and suggestions to strengthen our back end facilities and supply chain along with digital marketing initiatives. In the next three months, we plan to expand our product portfolio. We are looking forward to the introduction of new FSSAI standards, which will clear a lot of obstacles making business simpler. Along with it, we also are keen on expanding our physical presence in the next 12 months.
11. Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
No, we are a self-funded enterprise.
12. What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
Lack of awareness was a serious problem all nutraceutical players face within the Indian market segment. When it comes to tackling lack of awareness, the market, with time, is itself helped us overcome this challenge. With a rise of educational and awareness campaigns, especially on social media, consumers are able to bridge the awareness gap and are able to understand the place of nutraceuticals in their day to day life. Even doctors and nutritionists are more and more inclined to supporting and suggesting dietary supplements to their patients.
13. What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
One of the biggest challenges we faced is the distribution margin. Buyers often ask for higher margins as much as 50%, that’s almost double the norm in retail. This affects margins. When it comes to pricing, I understand that our consumers appreciate and expect high-quality products over counterfeit ones that are easily found in every nook and corner. A price war is not something we want to get into and we will continue carving our market share through high quality products that are made using premium ingredients and have enhanced bioavailability.
14. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I enjoy cycling, running and Yoga.
15. Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
My family is my biggest motivator to achieve and do more in life.
16. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
The major difference I feel is that when you are an entrepreneur, you optimize all your available resources, be it your time, money or energy, in creating brand equity for yourself. Just like making an investment.
17. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I am grateful for all the things that happened to me in my professional life – the ups and downs, the mistakes, the learnings, all of it. They made me what I am today.
18. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
I belong to a business family. Hence, being an entrepreneur came to me organically. I try to combine business and social life at work. Business also finds its way into dinner conversations with family. Outside work, I rarely do get time to be social.
19. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Success doesn’t happen overnight and there’s no shortcut to it. Always be patient, persistent and productive in all the things you do. Most importantly, there is no alternative to hard work.
20.Tell us something about your education & family background.
I am a B.Com graduate with an industrial family background. My Father started his business in the year 1947 manufacturing in Kolkata and being from the industrial background I ventured into Health Care after running my family business for 30 years.
21. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
Our biggest USP is products with superior formulations and enhanced bioavailability that makes it easy for the body to absorb the nutraceuticals. This is one of the primary reason our customer retention value chain is so strong today.
22. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Lack of innovation is the biggest threat to new businesses. Apart from that, I believe it is extremely important to do a thorough market recce before diving in. Thousands of start-ups shut down year after year either due to lack in innovation or simply emulating the giants from the West. Every market is unique and must be dealt with uniquely.
23. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
I believe success is a work in progress and a continued process. But for businesses in healthcare, the number of lives it affects in a positive way should be the barometer for success.