We interviewed 25 year old Aditya Sanghavi, the brainchild behind Snackible a snack subscription business delivery service which serves tasty and healthy snacking alternatives. Aditya has a degree in business management and finance from Cardiff University, United Kingdom. We speak to him about how Snackible started off and what are his plans for the future.
1. What inspired you to start this business?
The idea for Snackible was conceptualised while I was working with Themis, a consulting company in Bombay. I noticed certain eating patterns that I now realize are fairly common at all workplaces. What I understood is that a couple of hours into the much awaited ‘lunch break’, sometime between 4:30 PM and 6 PM, a lot of people in my office would find themselves compulsively snacking on various kinds of rather unhealthy snacks ranging from fried snacks delivered by road side hawkers to highly processed and packaged snacks that are available over the counter.
I realized that while most of us and especially the working people had made a resolve to start eating healthy and change their eating habits for the better, when it came to mid meal snacking, there was a sheer lack of choice of healthy, nutritious and tasty snacks. What we were all facing can be best described as a ‘Snack Crunch’.
I tried to understand whether there was any plausible solution to this Snack Crunch. In one of my usual rounds at a supermarket, what became evident is that although there were a few healthy snacking options available at select supermarkets such as Nature’s Basket and Food Hall, these snacks were mostly priced at what most working people may categorize as relatively exorbitant rates. The more I spoke to others, the more I realized that the biggest problem to getting a good snacking regime on track was that there was a clear trade-off between health and taste.
Finding healthy snacks almost always meant foregoing good taste. High fibre cookies tasted nothing like my favourite chocolate chip cookies. Multi grain diet khakra was nothing close to our much loved tea-time khakra. What this meant was that we would inevitably reach out for the tastier (read unhealthier) snacks when the snack pangs came to visit us between meals. Additionally, since healthy snacking options were available at limited stores and supermarkets, the kirana stores down the road were of no help and not many of us had the time to visit these select supermarkets and put good thought into selecting the right kind of nutritious snacks.
This made me realise that there was an evident gap in the market for tasty and healthy snacking alternatives which are both reasonably priced and easily accessible. After doing some in-depth market research, it became clear that the ‘Snack Crunch’ was somewhat a global phenomenon. Therefore, the need for good and healthy snacks was prevalent across the country. The solution was almost an obvious one. It made me wonder why there weren’t such snacking options already available. What if we could log onto a website that listed out a variety of snacks meeting our taste and health requirements and that allowed us to select our choice of snacks? And what if this website made our lives easy by delivering these snacks right to our doorstep? I wanted to take this solution a step further.
Having studied in the U.K, I was aware that there were subscription models that allowed you to pre-order snacks for a recurring and continuous period just by clicking a few options on the website. I decided that this website would also offer a subscription model which would ensure that our customers get a box of unique, healthy, tasty snacks at affordable prices delivered to their doorstep every week or month. This was how Snackible was started. What was started in the April of 2015 as a humble snack delivery service, has now grown at a rather aggressive pace with over 3500 customers across 26 cities.
2. How many orders do you get per day?
Our website was recently launched and at this point the orders are growing at almost 75% a week. But as of last week we are processing anywhere between 20 and 25 orders a day.
3. What’s the average cost per snack?
Our snacks range from Rs 50 to Rs 80 per snack for the small size.
4. What are the most popular snacks?
We have received a tremendous response for all our snacks but obviously certain snacks have been the most popular ones:
- Jalapeno Peanuts
- Himalayan Black Salt Apple Chips
- Dark Chocolate Ragi Cookies
- Whole-wheat Chocochip Waffles
- Seedy Trail Mix
5. What’s the profile of people who order from you?
Our customers are generally between the age of 23 and 50. A majority of our customers are people who are working. A lot of the audiences are parents buying snacks for their family as well. Another part of our audience, which is constantly rising, are people who are fitness and wellness enthusiasts. What came as a surprise is that our snacks have also been welcomed by homemakers. I guess the Snack Crunch is not restricted to the working population and is a problem faced by all profiles of people who essentially find themselves snacking. For a country like India that takes it’s snacking to a ritualistic level, this means almost all segments of the population.
6. Were there any obstacles you faced when starting your business?
Any business cannot be built without overcoming obstacles. In fact these obstacles only lead you to improve and improvise ways of serving your customers better. An online food business demands a robust supply chain, efficient inventory management and quality control systems, impeccable product innovation, building the right technology for a great online experience and providing a an overall brilliant experience to the customer. Getting all these ingredients in place can be challenging and requires round the clock effort from all our teams- our product innovation team, our logistics and operations team and of course our management team.
7. How is the delivery of goods done and how do you make sure the goods are fresh?
The delivery of the snacks is done in our signature Snackible boxes anywhere in India within 2 to 3 days. We use national courier agencies to deliver our products outside Mumbai and hyper local on demand agencies to deliver the boxes within Mumbai. Most of our Mumbai orders reach the customer within 48 hours of placing the order.
All our snacks have a shelf life of above 2 to 3 months. We package all our snacks in zip lock air tight packets to ensure that even after the first serving, our customers can retain the freshness of the products by zipping the packet. We also have intensive quality control measures.
8. How do you create publicity about your business?
The advantage about being in the food business is your food speaks for itself. A lot of our initial customers were organically acquired through word of mouth and social media presence. We also participated in some of the biggest food and lifestyle events across the country to make people try and understand the products. We were lucky enough to be recommended by some of the leading bloggers on their social media and blogs. Now we are focussing on all the conventional and unconventional marketing methods to reach out to our customers including online advertising, SEO, email marketing and some offline advertising channels.
9. Do you market online or on social media?
We do both.
10. How does marketing online and on social media help it?
When you are running an e-commerce business which caters to customers across the country, the power of online marketing and social media is insurmountable. It is probably the most valuable marketing tool available to a start-up from a return on investment perspective. We have serviced orders in over 34 cities across the country and it has only been possible through social media and online marketing.
11. Is there anything specific you do to make your product stand out?
Every product in our menu is focussed on three characteristics: (a) healthy, (b) tasty and (c) unique. Any product which doesn’t fulfil these criteria is not taken. We have a team of food technologists and nutritionists who help us innovate exemplary products, which stand out in taste and health. Most of our products do not even have competitors. For example, we are one of the only vendors in the country who sell 100 percent wholewheat belgian waffles, baked apple chips and other such unique snacks. Such a stand-out menu automatically creates a strong brand recall in the market.
12. What are your future aspirations for this business?
We want to focus on growing our online business and are also in talks with distributors to enter the retail market soon. Another focus is to build a portfolio of innovative products. At present we are adding about 3 to 5 products each month.
We would be launching our mobile app soon and also focussing on creating a personalized experience for the user online. We are working on an algorithm to curate a box based on customer preferences so that the customer doesn’t have to make an effort to even choose items for his subscription if he likes.
Overall, we are bidding to revolutionize the snacking industry by creating a brand which sells healthy, innovative and tasty snacks across the country using multiple channels.