An organic start

Brewhouse – For the love of healthy teas

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

Jain, a big tea lover, was part of the banking world in Singapore until around 2012. But a startup dream and bringing real iced tea to market led him to create Brewhouse. After some initial home experiences, 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. “Every batch of tea that we buy is tasted in the lab for its true organic nature, its absence of pesticides, and so on. Tea is perhaps the only food 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 does not have chemical residues on the surface, ”Jain explains.

Having sold over 50 lakh bottles of teas and coolers so far, Brewhouse is certainly making a success of its brew. It started out as an offline retail brand with institutional space, then expanded to retail stores across the country. But once the pandemic hit, the company switched to online ways of selling through its website and other e-commerce platforms – now contributing around a third of its sales.

fter the recent launch of a line of coolers, Brewhouse is about to launch Lazybones, a line of refreshing drinks to boost energy, calm and focus.

Can’t wait for a healthy sip.

Chocolat Pascati – Certified Artisan, Certified Organic

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

But what led him to enter such a niche segment in India is a story in itself. A few years ago while nibbling on Swiss chocolate; Ashar noticed the distinct difference in taste. The chocolate not only melted easily in his mouth but even tasted better. Soon Ashar enrolled in a three-month online chocolate-making course at the Chocolate School. Once he understood that the secret to premium quality chocolates lay in naturally produced cocoa beans, he decided to take the entrepreneurial step.

After some experiences 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 all aspects of chocolate production. He scrutinizes everything from the purchase of the cocoa beans to the final bar. “There is an element of art involved with science. The cocoa is roasted, crushed, winnowed and refined with sugar and cocoa butter (which we press ourselves). The chocolate is then tempered, packaged and shipped across the country, ”Ashar informs.

Pascati has been working with an FTAK (FairTrade Alliance Kerala) agricultural cooperative since 2018 and has reached over 2,000 farmers. He first worked closely with the farmers growing cocoa beans and guided them to achieve the right fermentation and drying.

So what really differentiates a regular chocolate brand from Pascati? “A ‘normal’ chocolate is made with cocoa, which is not fermented and left to dry in the sun. These are poor quality grains and must undergo a process of alkalization. This makes the final product inorganic and removes the flavor profile of the beans, giving it a very smooth and consistent cocoa aroma, ”says Ashar.

With its new factory in Maharashtra producing over 1 lakh of bars per month, Pascati Chocolates is poised for a sweeter future. Entirely family-funded, the brand has ties to several luxury hotels outside of sales through its website and other e-commerce platforms. It offers over 14 varieties of chocolates, the most popular being the Raspberry & Hibiscus bar and the 77% Malabar Hills Single Origin bar.

Naturally Yours – The “waste free” noodles

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

Launched in 2020 by Vinod, an experienced marketer and Priya Prakash, nutritionist and biotechnologist, Naturally Yours prides itself on its healthy nutrients. “Our commitment is not to refined flour, only whole grains and this is also our USP,” says Vinod.

The business is 100% bootstrap and fully family funded. The raw material comes from groups of farmers all over India and is 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 types of whole noodles – multi-millet, red rice, soy, buckwheat, and quinoa – and four varieties of gluten-free pasta – multigrain, quinoa, chickpeas, and red lentils.

“We have grown by 10 and are profitable. For now, we are no longer looking for funds because we are pumping the profits back into the business, ”Vinod said. But he expresses his intention to go international in a few years once the company has reached sustained demand in India.

Naturally Yours advertises through social media and also invites nutritionists to blog for their website. “The idea is to make people aware of the real benefits of organic and healthy food,” adds Vinod. The company also had a partnership with Bombay International School to provide meals to students; a model to which they wish to return once the pandemic has passed.

This story is written by Pallavi Chakravorty. She is associate editor of Outlook Business.

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