In talks with Saandiip Jaiin, Founder of Susy Foods – Dietola

Q: What motivated you to step into the health food business?

A: Real motivation came when I saw snacks came at our home or available in roadside streets were majorly fried food & not healthy. However, it was the taste which induced us to eat that junk food. Also, there was a perception that healthy food is expensive & not tasty as well. So that triggered me to make something in snacks which is not only healthy but tasty as well & affordable for common man.

Q: What kind of research you did before jumping into this business and what findings made you sure it is the way to go?

A: So, I googled healthy snacks at that point, there were only few brands who were making healthy snacks or there was organic food which were healthy but were way expensive for middleclass. Also, in that companies only, few were doing Millets snacks. So I saw lot of opportunity in Millet based snacks which were healthy but awareness was little in newer generation. So once decided, talked to various food technologist, consultants, visited various exhibitions to jot down on machinery & space needed.

Q: Millets are a superfood which have made a comeback in recent years. What innovation and strategy went into designing your line of millets-based products?

A: I made a conscious decision of not making snacks made out of corn & rice which were flooded in market. I had a fascination about Millets & its nutritional benefits. I was pretty much sure of not making my product only for premium class. So did lot of trials & material wasted to make something out of Millets which is niche, healthy as well as affordable to common man. But every Millets has its own technological barrier to get desired output. So, lot of mix tried & finally came up with portfolio as per my vision. For e.g. my Millets Kurmura is very unique product which gives another healthy alternative to only Rice Kurmura currently available in market.

Q: You have an exhaustive line of millets-based products. What are the growth patterns and market acceptance for these products?

A: Growth has been slow but steady majorly due to lack of awareness about this product availability in market. Post covid, people are looking for healthy snack option but it requires lot of marketing budget to create that kind of awareness at fast pace which an SME company finds it difficult to invest. So currently all our sales are through B2B platforms, referrals & mouth publicity. There is no challenge in market acceptance of this product.

Q: Tell us about the opportunities and the challenges in the Indian health food market

A: Opportunities is huge with awareness going multi-fold with 2023 being an "International Millets Year". Seeing lot of opportunities in Exports, Domestic market, Government Institutional sales etc. One needs to capitalise, expand, invent new products all at fast pace to fulfil market needs. However, challenges for small scale industry are to handhold & mentor them, showcase opportunities about various avenues of sales channel & above all need financial support to marketize their product through online/offline channels which is major hindrance due to limited budget.