"Reinventing Indian Breakfast: D2C Brand Gladful's High Protein Foods"

"Reinventing Indian Breakfast: D2C Brand Gladful's High Protein Foods"

About Gladful

Gladful is a startup founded in 2021 that offers protein-rich vegetarian foods with no preservatives. Its range includes high-protein cookies, soybean-based munchies, date nut bites, and roasted munchies. Since its launch, Gladful has attracted a healthy user base, selling to about 20K consumers per month and generating a revenue of INR 2.3 Cr in FY23. The startup operates in India's protein-based product market, expected to reach $150.8 Bn by 2032, and faces competition from players like MTR, ITC, and iD Fresh Food in the ready-to-eat segment.

The Protein Deficit in India

The Indian diet is rich in carbohydrates, but when it comes to protein, the country lags behind its global peers. According to several medical journals available online, the country's protein consumption is much lower than the 48 grams a day recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). This deficit was highlighted by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) in 2022, which found out that about 80% of India's population doesn't meet their daily protein requirements. The situation is further complicated by cultural factors, with a massive 38% to 40% of the population avoiding meat as the main source of protein due to religious or ethical reasons.

The Quest to Find a Healthier Protein Alternative

Parul Sharma, head of modern trade at FMCG major Mondelez, found out about her family's protein deficiency when her son was diagnosed during a routine paediatric checkup in 2020. To remedy the situation and find a healthier protein alternative for her kid, Sharma undertook extensive research, discovering that about 93% of Indian mothers were already looking for healthier alternatives. With her brother, Manu Sharma, a chartered accountant by profession, she created Gladful with a sharp focus on sprouted lentils, legumes, and grains, initially creating a breakfast range that was not only healthy but also delicious.

Gladful's Growth and Challenges

Gladful's growth aligns with emerging trends in India's protein-based market, expected to reach $150.8 Bn by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 15.8%. However, the company has faced significant challenges in convincing people to switch to healthier options while not disrupting existing breakfast habits. Gladful's solution has been to supercharge Indians' favourite breakfast items, such as upma, paratha, dosa, idli, and cheelas, with protein by infusing sprout-based protein in them. However, a critical limitation for Gladful to enter Indian kitchens has been its price point. The brand is premium to many, but its products are only slightly more expensive than others in metro cities, which Sharma believes customers are willing to pay for without compromising taste.

Gladful's Offerings and Marketing Strategy

Currently, Gladful has 18 SKUs, with 70% of the company's revenue coming from its breakfast category, with the remaining snacking categories bringing in the rest of the company's sales. Gladful's marketing strategy directly targets mothers looking for healthier alternatives for their kids, leveraging a sizable community of home chefs who review its products and make content for them, as well as publishing independent reviews. Gladful got a high-octane boost in its business after appearing on Shark Tank India's season 2 earlier this year. Furthermore, the startup got a significant boost from the social media trend "Label Padhega India," popularised by influencer Revant Himatsingka.

Gladful's Future Plans

Gladful remains a loss-making entity, with expenses totalling INR 3.51 Cr in FY23, but has raised a total of INR 13 Cr from investors like Antler India, Huddle, Tholons Capital's Ankita Vashishta, Bombay Shaving Company's Shantanu Deshpande, and the Sharks. In January 2024, Gladful secured INR 6 Cr in seed funding from undisclosed investors to fuel its expansion plans and shed the loss-making tag. The startup plans to solidify its breakfast portfolio with new SKUs and expand to new e-commerce platforms beyond Amazon, Flipkart, Jiomart, BigBasket, Blinkit, and its website. Gladful aims to pilot offline sales in Jaipur in the next 12 months and faces competition from players like MTR, ITC, and iD Fresh Food. However, its offline ambitions may be costly in terms of marketing and packaging expenses.

Originally Post From https://inc42.com/startups/how-d2c-brand-gladful-is-reinventing-indian-breakfast-with-high-protein-foods/

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