In a world where fast-paced lifestyles often clash with the desire for healthy eating, the founders of Natturano (Khadyam Speciality Foods) are on a mission to bridge the gap between traditional tastes, nutrition, and convenience. Madhavi K, Founder and COO, and Sitaram K, Co-Founder and CEO, have combined their unique backgrounds, passions, and experiences to create a social enterprise that not only delivers nutritious, ready-to-eat foods but also empowers underprivileged women and small farmers.
Madhavi K, the driving force behind Natturano (Khadyam Speciality Foods), is a woman on a mission. With an illustrious career, she could have chosen any path, but her passion for healthy food and a desire to contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment led her to a different journey. Madhavi recognized the need to empower underprivileged women by equipping them with skills to produce healthy food ingredients and transform them into modern, convenient forms for everyday consumers.
Sitaram K’s journey to Natturano (Khadyam Speciality Foods) is marked by a transition from the pharmaceutical sector to the world of agriculture and healthy food. Growing up with a deep-rooted love for agriculture and a commitment to providing nutritious food to a wider audience, Sitaram pursued a career in microbiology. After a decade in the pharmaceutical industry, he realized his true calling lay in agri-biodiversity and providing convenient, healthy food options. He recognized the pressing global issue of lifestyle disorders caused by unhealthy diets and decided to take action.
A Solution for Modern Lifestyles:
The problem Natturano (Khadyam Speciality Foods) addresses is all too familiar in today’s fast-paced world. Urban consumers often struggle to balance their desire for healthy eating with time constraints. The market lacked options that bridged the gap between time-consuming traditional cooking and instant but often unhealthy alternatives. Khadyam’s mission is to provide convenient, nutritious solutions that cater to the needs of busy professionals, parents, and health-conscious individuals.
Their vision extends beyond just providing healthy food. They aim to alleviate poverty among small and marginal farmers, support sustainable agriculture, and build a nation of healthy citizens. Their core values center around caring for the earth, good health, the environment, and the community.
The company’s product range includes 100% millet ready-to-eat foods such as pre-cooked idly with sambar/chutney and pasta & noodles, all with a shelf life of nine months. What sets them apart are their ancient grains, traditional flavors, zero preservatives, low glycemic index, gluten-free ingredients, and quick preparation times.
The Evolution of Natturano (Khadyam Speciality Foods):
Since its inception, Natturano (Khadyam Speciality Foods) has experienced significant growth. Their sales jumped from 47 lakhs in 2018-19 to a remarkable 171.48 lakhs in 2022-23, despite initially having a limited product range. They’ve served over 35,000 customers, with a remarkable 40% repeat purchase rate. Beyond sales figures, they’ve integrated 1350+ small farmers into their network, converting 4000+ hectares of land into sustainable agriculture and establishing two village-level processing units now owned and managed by community members, resulting in the conservation of 13.5 lakh kiloliters of water.
In 2019, Natturano (Khadyam Speciality Foods) successfully raised 50 lakhs from IIMCIP-Kolkata as part of the Invent Fund, followed by an additional 20 lakhs secured in 2023 from A-IDEA NAARM through the BIRAC Seed Fund.
The path to success wasn’t without its hurdles. Natturano (Khadyam Speciality Foods) had to build its supply chain from the ground up, which included integrating small and marginal women farmers into climate-resilient crop cultivation. They also faced the challenge of creating millet value-added products that offered both convenience and nutrition.
Adapting to Change: The COVID-19 Impact
The COVID-19 pandemic forced Natturano (Khadyam Speciality Foods) to adapt quickly. Initially operating in both B2B and B2C markets, they shifted their focus to D2C platforms during the pandemic. The disruption caused by the virus impacted day-to-day operations and posed challenges in reaching customers and recovering payments. However, their resilience and commitment to their mission allowed them to pivot successfully.
Influence of Experience on Entrepreneurship:
Madhavi and Sitaram’s corporate experiences have played a significant role in shaping their entrepreneurial journey. Madhavi’s dedication to gender equality and social impact, combined with her career expertise, has guided Khadyam’s mission to empower underprivileged women. Sitaram’s background in team management and product development has enabled him to lead and grow the company effectively.
Natturano (Khadyam Speciality Foods) is not just a food company; it’s a testament to the power of entrepreneurship driven by a vision for social change and a commitment to providing healthier, convenient options for consumers. As they continue to evolve and expand, their impact on both the food industry and society at large is set to grow exponentially.