In Coversation With Meghana Narayan and Shauravi Malik, Co-founders, Slurrp Farm
"Our ARR has grown 300% during the last 6 months and we are looking to grow at the same rate to an ARR of $5-6mm in the next 12 months ", Meghana Narayan and Shauravi Malik, Co-founders, Slurrp Farm.
The story for Slurrp Farm began when the founders, Meghana Narayan and Shauravi Malik first began to search for high quality and nutritious food options for their own kids. Upon concentrated examination, they found a converging sentiment being shared by guardians of other young kids as well. Understanding the tremendous whole of accessible choices that passed their own investigation, they came up with Slurrp farm.
In over three years, what started as an experiment in their own home kitchens has now turned into a loved kids food brand, available serving its first 500,000 customer. The brand sells across several leading online platforms and our products are available in stores in India and the UAE.
1. Brief us about your business model like how did the idea come to start and how does it work?
We are a D2C business, selling on our own website and ecommerce marketplaces. We also sell through the traditional FMCG store channel across India, albeit that is impacted by COVID.
Shauravi: The idea started when Meghana and I met at a Diwali party in London. We got along like a house on fire from the first time we met. We had some fun business ideas, which we joked about, but we always went back to our jobs the next day. At this point, Entrepreneurship seemed too risky.
When we had children ourselves it all changed. We felt that as parents we were really short of options to feed our children, and at the same time it also felt like we really should do something about it. It was not a case of taking a business model from another country; it was literally a giant-sized gap which we felt the lack of in our own life.
A cursory glance at a supermarket shelf in any metro in India will show you a number of products that are made only with wheat or rice, and contain trans fats and alarming quantities of sugar. For a country that has such an incredible food culture of eating a largevariety of grains including millets, this lack of diversity is a gaping hole in our ready-to-eat market.
With 1 in 4 children obese or overweight, India is the third most obese nation in the world and is also ranked as the diabetes capital of the world. Malnourishment occurs at both ends of the spectrum and is not only due to poverty but also due to a diet with too much sugar, salt and fried junk food with preservatives, artificial flavours, and colours. Yes the market size of the opportunity is large, but at the heart of it, we felt we simply had to change things to be better, and be a force for good.
2. What are the unique key points of your company?
Slurrp Farm products are healthy, tasty, and convenient breakfast and mealtime options for young children and families. We use better quality ingredients in our products so that a parent can feed their children the product without thinking twice. We use better grains, raw sugars, no preservatives, no artificial additives or colours.
3. How are you different from the existing competitors?
In the broader space of children’s food – there are several players in India and Internationally. We aspire to be a company like Ella’s Kitchen or Organix. They have an entire range and gamut of products for children. We do not compete with any of them, but that is our aspiration. In India, the shelf for children is still being created. We always joke that the large format retail stores have an entire shelf for dog food, but no dedicated shelves for children’s food.
This category specialisation has happened in the personal care space, with brands like Mamaearth and Moms Co catering to the segment of products for children and their parents. In the Indian FMCG food context, there isn’t one player focussed on children. There are several players in the categories we are in: Betty Crocker, Pilsbury, MTR, Nestle.
Our key differentiation factors are that we do not use Maida, we do not use White Sugar and we don’t add Preservatives or Emulsifiers. In fact, we do not use wheat in any of our products, and we bring back the Supergrains of India in fun recipes and in our trademark branding.
4.What is the funding status and monetization model?
The starting capital for Slurrp Farm came from our savings. Our first angel round was a wonderful motley crew of people friends, family and colleagues who believe in the product; or called us on the customer service number! We have recently raised an institutional funding round from Fireside Ventures. We are genuinely excited to work with them as they have possibly the best understanding of the early stage FMCG space in India.
We are passionate about growing with Conscious Capitalism at the heart of our endeavours and looking to hire talent to join this journey. Making products that are good for the consumer (nutrition dense), good for the farmer and good for the planet (bio diverse) is core to what we stand for.
5. What challenges are you facing in running your business?
Our biggest challenge has been to find a way to make what tastes delicious in a home kitchen, taste the same on a shelf when it reaches your hands, without adding anything to it.
At the onset, we didn’t know that this would be such a challenge. But we also didn’t know we would have so much fun on the journey and meet so many cool people along the way who would help us figure it out. Another challenge is this feeling that it is all taking far too long. But when you look back on each and every year, the evolution is immense.
6. How has been the people's response so far?
We went to market in October 2016, with a mission to provide healthy snack and mealtime options for young children and their parents. And in just over four years, what started as an experiment in our own home kitchens has now turned into a loved kids food brand; available at 600 stores across 8 cities in India, UAE and Singapore.
We have tried our very best to understand our customer (the parent) and consumer (the child) the very best we can. At the heart of Slurrp Farm has been a dogged persistence to get this right.
We are now also available on all online marketplaces in India, and through Amazon in several countries. What makes us happiest, is that we have a 40% repeat rate on leading ecommerce sites.
Our ARR has grown 300% during the last 6 months and we are looking to grow at the same rate to an ARR of $5-6mm in the next 12 months. All these data points only point in one direction - that our existing customer-base is happy and we’re also acquiring new customers along the way.
7. What are the traction details (like users & other achievements of the company)?
We’ve grown from 100 to 1000 to 7,00,000 customers over a period of time.
Some of the external awards, accolades/recognition we have gained through the awards we have won:-
- Digital Women Awards 2020 - SheThePeople
- Times She UnLTD. Awards - Women Entrepreneur Awards 2019 | Food
- Gurgaon Moms - Mom Achievers Summit 201
- Kid Stop Press - One Cool Thing- Now In India | KSP Award 2016
- The DSSC- Power Packers 2017
- Women Economic Forum - Exceptional Women of Excellence
- Harvard Business School Venture Competition - Asia & Middle East winner 2017
- Mens XP Award
8. How do you look at expansion?
By moving inch by inch closer to the target of taking millets to the world is the real expansion of our endeavour. Our products are made using a diverse range of superfoods like ragi (finger millets), jowar (Sorghum), foxtail millet, lentils, oats, amaranth, nuts (such as almonds, cashews, and pistachios) combined with real fruits and vegetables, raw sugars and natural sweeteners like jaggery.
More and more people around the globe are waking up to the need to consume a healthy diet - and the pandemic has accelerated this choice.
We plan to take Indian millets to global shelves. We’re working on product innovation with their RD team, nutritionists, and pediatricians, to launch 5 more SKUs in the coming months, taking the existing portfolio to 30 SKUs in all.
9. What are your marketing plans?
We market to our consumer primarily through the digital audience during covid. Our marketing consists of increasing awareness amongst our target audience by storytelling and educating consumers on what the brand stands for. We plan brand campaigns and these are then disseminated on Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Whatsapp and Affiliates Marketing sites. And also through influencer marketing. A significant proportion of our business is repeat customers. We reach out to all abandoned carts and provide timely nudges via email, whatsapp and a phone call.
Beyond a very heartfelt narrative which is the brand voice of two mothers, we are building out a small community – our own Tribe of key opinion leaders and at the right time a celebrity who will build on this narrative to continue to build trust. Slurrp Farm has some mothers who are evangelical adherents of the brand. Often in little remote pockets of the country. This year we have decided to formalise that as a digital initiative to build a thriving community. Food brings people together!
10. What has been the biggest learning so far?
Some advice we got and we’d recommend to entrepreneurs in general: A great idea is one that has been executed well. The journey of building a brand and products that endure is a long one - get yourself a Partner for the trip and a band of people who are on board with your mission. It is harder alone!
11. What is the market size and opportunity?
Currently in India there are 3 broad product ranges that cater specifically to children: 1. baby cereals, 2. malted drinks and 3. snacks which include biscuits and on the go extruded snacks. Most of these products are from large multinational companies which have not innovated on product (towards cleaner and more nutritious) or increased SKUs to grow the category. There is room to grow for everyone, and it is a large sized opportunity.
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