“Thinking About Munching Your Snacks?” – Just Keep It Healthy!
In This Exclusive And Candid Conversation, Aswani Chaitanya, Founder & CEO Of Timios (A Healthy Snacks Brand For Children) Spoke To Claus From Food Infotech, In Which He Revealed The Reasons Behind Setting Up A Healthy Packaged Snacks Brand That Aims To Solve The Nutritional Requirements Of Children, Including Briefing A Little About His Business Expansion Plans That He Expects To Materialize In The Days Ahead And A Lot More…
Edited Excerpts Below:
1. First of all, we thank you for sparing some of your valuable time for us. If you can please start off by telling us a little about the reason behind starting a healthy snacks business and what you aim to offer for your consumers?
Children today have access to packaged food more than ever. A quick stop at the supermarket can result in a number of snack packs that are mostly unhealthy. Currently, there are limited or hardly any options available in the category of healthy, age appropriate packaged food for children. Parents often find it difficult to buy trustworthy, wholesome, healthy and guilt free snacks that are suitable for children. This was the genesis for Timios, a range of healthy food products designed for children of all ages. Each product is made with natural/organic ingredients and contains zero preservatives.
The idea behind starting Timios was to create products that are natural and are designed to meet the nutritional requirements of children belonging to specific age groups. Timios has a range of healthy food products designed for children. Timios products are age appropriate covering age ranges starting from 6 months to 12 years (i.e. Babies, toddlers and schoolers). Each product is made by using natural / organic ingredients and they contain zero preservatives. With 7 categories of products, Timios offers porridge range, finger food, munchies, energy bars, breakfast cereal, biscuits, probiotic bites and much more. Each of these products is designed in age appropriate portions to provide the necessary nutrition.
2. If you could brief us a little more about your manufacturing set up and where it is located?
Timios has a production unit in Hyderabad. For our recently launched Porridge range, we have set up a ‘Cleanroom Processing Unit.’ A cleanroom unit is typically used in pharmaceutical and scientific research that requires a controlled environment with limited exposure to contaminants. Timios is one of the first packaged food companies to introduce cleanroom processing for baby food. The cleanroom used for manufacturing the porridge range is designed to maintain an extremely clean environment that filters dust, airborne organisms and vaporized particles to provide the most hygienic food products for our customers. Each product is processed only upon receiving the order from customers.
3. Can you explain to us a little more on how Timios aims to solve the nutritional requirements of kids and teenagers through its products?
There’s no doubt that all parents want their children to eat healthy and fresh food. However, with busy lifestyles and increasing double income households, it’s difficult for parents to ensure a balanced meal and a healthy snack at all times. Many children graze throughout the day eating unhealthy snacks that are not specifically targeted for their age. Snacks that are typically meant for grown-ups easily make its way into a child’s lunch box or as an evening snack. These highly processed nibbles slowly become a part of a child’s every day diet. Due to busy schedules, parents often end up allowing their children to snack on packaged food. This is because children readily say yes to any of these. At Timios, the aim has always been to create healthy packaged snacks that are age appropriate, completely natural and are low on salt and sugar.
4. Which consumer segment have you currently been targeting for your upcoming products and what’s been unique about them?
We have a lot of exciting announcements coming up. We have recently launched a new category of “Made to Order” Porridge range for infants and toddlers. Available in 12 variants, this new product line of Timios has been designed keeping the nutritional requirements of children in mind, more particularly for children between the age of 6 to 12 months. We are also looking at introducing a new range of products for Pregnant and lactating mothers, infants and schoolers in the near future.
5. Would you be able to tell us roughly how big the market for healthy snacks in India is? What according to you would be the primary reason for the market for healthy snacks to grow in India in the coming decade?
The global market for Kids’ food and beverages is projected to reach US$ 144 Billion by 2024. The major factors that are expected to drive the growth of the global kids’ food and beverages market are the rising emphasis being laid on the health and wellness of children, growing awareness about the benefits of following the right dietary habits and a few more.
The Indian snacking food industry is a booming arm of the FMCG category, thanks to the evolving consumer consumption patterns. The current generation of shoppers simply does not look at a product, but they look at the brand as a whole. There is a lot of emphasis that is being laid on using organic ingredients, so that it creates an optimal health impact by sending the right message across the board. Especially, when it comes to buying for their children, the principles that a brand portrays is definitely taken into consideration by parents.
6. Please tell us briefly about your business expansion plans that are expected to come up in the near future.
To cater to the increasing demand, we have introduced D2C channels to explore newer categories of consumers, strengthen communication and easily connect with our existing customers. Our WhatsApp store has made it all the more convenient to help us provide our customers with a smooth and seamless experience. This in turn is widely anticipated to help D2C to catch up quickly.
We are planning the launch of quite a few products in the coming months starting from Teething Sticks to Rusks, including a lot of exciting announcements that we are planning to come up with in the near future.
7. Have you adopted any eco-friendly measures for packaging your wide array of food products? If you can brief us a little more on the same?
Most of our packaging is done using paper, which is recyclable and environment-friendly. The residue packaging material is also recyclable. We are in the process of adapting to environment-friendly packaging in the near future.
As a brand, we are highly cautious about our contributions towards protecting the environment and are also constantly working towards achieving the same in the days to come.
8. Please let us know more about the steps taken by Timios in ensuring that your products are healthy, safe and hygienic, particularly after the outbreak of COVID-19. With the pandemic, health and immunity had become the top agenda items for us. The need of the hour is to make available healthy and hygienic foods for consumers, particularly for kids because it had been the toughest challenge faced by parents, when it came to changing the food habits of their children. Timios’s food products are designed in such a way to ensure that these products that are consumed by our customers are tasty as well as healthy. This pandemic has actually played a major role in helping our company during this major transition.
The launch of new variants in our existing product line has given our consumers a wide range of options to choose from. All our products are made using 100% organic/natural ingredients which are processed in a cleanroom environment, so that we are able to offer the best hygienic products possible for our customers. We also undertake orders on a “made to order” basis, so that our products are able to maintain their quality as well as stay fresh to the maximum extent possible.
9. Please tell us what Timios has been doing on the technological front? Can you explain a little more on the same for us?
We had started by launching a D2C WhatsApp store to directly reach out to our customers. Selling directly to consumers has become increasingly popular among retailers, brands and consumers. For a customer, ordering products on WhatsApp is easy, flexible and quick. On the other hand, for brands, it is a great way to build stronger relationships with their target audience as well as to engage with newer categories of customers.
Moreover, we have recently tied up with TraceX Technologies, a blockchain powered agritech platform, in order to provide end to end traceability for our launched porridge range that is specifically made for infants and babies.
10. Can you brief us a bit about your geographical presence both through the retail stores as well as on the online platforms?
Timios has served 2.5 Lakh+ customers. Our products are available on our website, in addition to being made available for consumers from various online platforms such as Amazon, Bigbasket, FirstCry and Flipkart. With 500+ orders every day, Timios has also been selling its products in over 350 stores (organic stores and kids/baby stores). In addition to this, Timios has recently launched a WhatsApp store to sell directly to the consumers.
11. Have you planned to reach out to any other consumer segment other than children and teenagers, who have been your target audience as of today?
Currently, we are looking forward to launch new products for pregnant and lactating mothers in the immediate future. Apart from that, we would continue to focus our efforts towards our primary target segment, which have been babies, toddlers, kids and teenagers.
12. Do you have any plans to raise additional funds for expanding your business in the near future? If yes, please share a little on the same with us.
Timios had been originally funded by MTR Foods Private Limited at the time of inception of its business. Moreover, we had raised seed funding only recently in order to help fund our business expansion plans. These funds had been raised by us as a part of our Pre-Series A round of funding led by Rangsons Technologies LLP, which is a part of NR Group. This round had also seen participation from Paipal Ventures LLP.
13. Do you foresee any real challenge that you expect could arise in the near future for the Food and Beverages industry in India? If so, can you let us know more on the same?
We foresee a few challenges for the Food and Beverages Industry which are listed below:
• Availability of 100% organic and natural ingredients;
• The increasing requirement for Plant-Based nutrition among individuals;
• Managing the supply chain during times of increased demand, especially during emergency or during exceptional circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
14. Finally, please tell us what plans you have for Timios in 2021 or for the near future?
With 2020 passing away as a challenging year, we are now geared up for an eventful 2021. Professionally, we are looking to acquaint every parent with Timios, by making the parenting journey a lot easier with the saying “You take care of the child, and we take care of the food.” We are also planning to launch quite a few products in the coming months.