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Nutrition brands aimed at kids are gaining traction – Mint

The founding principles of Adthera, which raised 3 crore from Anicut Angel Fund earlier this year, were to create nutrition supplements and foods for children that are fun, delicious and healthy, said Anand.

Anand’s isn’t the first startup in the children’s nutrition segment. There are several. In 2016, Shauravi Malik and Meghana Narayan launched Slurrp Farm that makes organic and nutritional food for toddlers and children. It includes multigrain baby cereals and breakfast products. Over the years, the company has expanded into 32 products, which it sells in India and the UK, Singapore and UAE.

“We address many categories—traditional breakfast cereal options, ready-to-cook dosa, pancake, cake mixes, ready-to-eat snacks. We want to create a children’s food shelf in India. Many companies abroad—Ella’s Kitchen, Plum Organics, Earth’s Best—have done what we are trying to do here,” said Malik.

And, traction for these has been heartening. The brand has grown 3x since the pandemic, in the past 12 months, mostly via its D2C (direct-to-consumer) platform and e-commerce marketplaces.

Though covid-19 has pushed people to relook at their health and immunity afresh, Slurrp Farm was founded earlier when Malik and Narayan saw a yawning need-gap in children’s healthy foods category. Their family and friends, too, clamoured for imported foods and requested them to pick them from the UK when both were working there.

Health and nutrition have been top of mind of urban Indians as people realize that harmful substances affect later life outcomes, said Malik. Since mothers cannot control the quality of air or water for their children, they are focused on nutrition. Slurrp Farm, which shuns white flour and white sugar in its products, has children eating chia and fruits instead. “We have made millets cool for kids,” said Malik.

During the pandemic, Naturamore, a direct selling nutraceutical brand launched by Netsurf Network more than 15 years ago, has also seen its business grow in value.

The company’s chairman and managing director, Sujit Jain, said Naturamore for Kids, the protein powder, was relaunched last year in chocolate cookie flavour with added Ayurveda herbs. After the initial production constraints of last year’s lockdown, the product has taken off.

“It’s not just the pandemic that is pushing sales. Consumers are now researching products well before buying,” said Jain.

Children-focused nutrition brands also seem to be doing well as new-age mothers increasingly obsess about their health.

“For new-age mothers, children are like a project. Living in nuclear families without any help from their parents, young couples are fending for themselves and are stressed. They are constantly looking for solutions,” said Malik.

Consumer behaviour expert Sraboni Bhaduri agreed: “Parenting has become a science of deep study… a lot of thought and investment goes into it. With the trend of having kids late or having a single child, there is a sense of preciousness to it.”

She said, over the years, consumers have taken to mindful eating. “Nutrition brands may be gaining traction as immunity is the final frontier today. However, it remains to be seen how much repeat purchase does a millet pancake get,” she added.

Adthera’s Anand said startups like his are getting tremendous push from the accelerated adoption of online shopping.

“It began with sales of mobiles and electronics, moved to apparel and is now breaking the final barrier with groceries and food being purchased online,” he said.

Riding the current health wave and consumer proclivity to shop online, Anand, too, is working on Zingavita’s portfolio to include south Indian breakfast—dosa and idlis—made from healthy grains. Slurrp Farm, meanwhile, has millet-based noodles in the making.

Shuchi Bansal is Mint’s media, marketing and advertising editor. Ordinary Post will look at pressing issues related to all three. Or just fun stuff.

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