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HomeNewsFrom New York to Mumbai to India's heartlands, Natch mission is healthy...

From New York to Mumbai to India’s heartlands, Natch mission is healthy snacking revolution!

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The snacking sector in India is undergoing substantial transition, with a clear shift towards healthier options. Established in 2017, a homegrown healthy snacking brand Natch is spearheading the mission of making people munch healthy. The brand has effectively carved itself into a position in this dynamic market by focusing on quality and knowing client preferences. Last year, it secured INR 3 crore in seed round funding led by Artha Venture Fund (AVF) along with participation from the financial services company DSP Group’s family office.

Continue Exploring: Snacking brand Natch raises INR 3 Crore in seed funding round led by Artha Venture Fund and DSP Group

In a one-on-one conversation with Snackfax, Matthew Taff, the Co-Founder of Natch, takes us on a journey through the birth and rise of this unique Indian snack brand. Natch isn’t just a snack company; it’s a story of love, adventure, and a quest for healthier munching options, he says.

Matthew and his wife of Indian origin, both met during college days and worked in Manhattan, found themselves drawn to India, the land of spices, colors, and vibrant flavors. Their journey wasn’t just about relocating; it was about creating something truly remarkable.

“We wanted to start our own thing. It all started with a simple idea: healthier snacks for the Indian market,” Matthew reminisces. “We were snack aficionados ourselves, and we noticed a gap in the market for clean, natural options. We thought there’s lot of potential for new brands to emerge.”

Their initial foray into the snack realm involved a whirlwind trip to Thailand, where they scoured through aisles of exotic treats, seeking inspiration for their own brand. “While in Thailand, we attended a Thai expo. Sampling hundreds of products, we deliberated on preferences, feasibility, and market appeal. This rigorous process led us to a pivotal question: if we were to establish a brand, what would define it? We wanted to bring the essence of natural goodness to every bite,” Matthew explains. Thus, Natch was born, a name that echoes its commitment to all things natural.

Every product they offer is unequivocally 100% natural, comprising clean, straightforward ingredients. While Natch position it as a healthier snacking option, they refrain from overstating it as a diet or health food. Also, their product labels are comprehensible, devoid of cryptic jargon that necessitates a chemistry degree. “As we expanded our range, we decided that all of our imports and developments must meet strict standards, including gluten-free, vegan, preservative-free, and non-GMO. This ethos has been ingrained in our brand since its inception and remains the guiding principle for future endeavors,” he says

Continue Exploring: Healthy snack brands see explosive growth amidst health-conscious consumer trend.

However, building a brand from scratch isn’t without its challenges. In a market dominated by giants, Natch had to find its niche. “We realized early on that we couldn’t compete head-on with the big players as it’s not financially prudent,” Matthew explains. “Instead, we focused on offering something unique, something premium.”

And thus, Natch carved its path, offering a range of products that boasted not just taste but quality. “From Thai-inspired rice chips to protein-rich chickpea puffs, every Natch snack is a testament to our commitment to better ingredients,” Matthew declares proudly.

Natch

According to him, considering the evolving socio-economic landscape in India, with the middle and upper-middle class projected to swell significantly by 2030, there’s an emerging appetite for novel experiences and products. “Establishing a strong presence in a niche segment allows us to capture the attention of discerning consumers seeking something beyond the mainstream,” he says.

But launching a brand isn’t just about creating great products; it’s also about getting them into the hands of consumers. “We took a different approach,” Matthew reveals. “While many brands start online and then move to stores, we went offline first.”

Natch’s offline journey began with Nature’s Basket in Mumbai as the first retail partner. However, stepping into this arena was a steep learning curve for the brand, making the initial years a period of trial and error. “The most valuable lesson we’ve learned time and again is the importance of assembling the right crew. I firmly believe that each person in the room should excel in their role far beyond my own understanding—that’s why I hired them,” he says.

Since the beginning of this year, Natch’s expansion efforts have intensified. They’ve entered markets in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai, bolstering their presence in modern trade channels. Notably, in Delhi and Bangalore alone, Natch has penetrated approximately 100 new stores marking a substantial increase in the market reach. “As for the quarter’s performance, we’re pleased to report that we are on track to meet our projected budget. In fact, this month has surpassed expectations, signaling promising growth and momentum moving forward,”

Continue Exploring: Natch partners with Swiggy Instamart to deliver healthy snacks across Mumbai, plans expansion to major cities

Interestingly, despite growing their digital presence, a significant portion of sales—about 65-70%—still originate from Mumbai, underscoring the power of offline brand building. However, with increased VC funding, Natch is now poised to bolster digital marketing efforts, leveraging platforms like Google and Facebook to amplify the brand message.

“We’re ramping up our online presence, partnering with platforms like Amazon and Swiggy Instamart,” Matthew reveals.

“The goal now is to replicate the success we’ve achieved in Mumbai across other tier one cities. This entails establishing a strong retail presence, backed by a robust sales force, and supplemented by targeted online advertising. Our aim is to forge the same deep connections with consumers in these new markets, fostering brand loyalty and driving sustained growth,” he adds.

Matthew also addressed pricing concerns by outlining a two-fold strategy: competitive pricing for imported goods and strategic positioning for domestically made snacks. While recognizing the need for price adjustments as they scale, he emphasized Natch’s dedication to quality and natural ingredients, appealing to discerning consumers.

“As we continue to scale, we anticipate the possibility of adjusting our price points downward, making our products more accessible to a broader audience. However, we remain steadfast in our dedication to maintaining a premium position in the market. Our customers value quality ingredients and nutritional transparency, and we aim to deliver on those expectations,” he says.

Regarding product development, Taff emphasized a balanced approach, combining innovation with strategic resource allocation. Natch’s foray into new flavors and product lines was guided by market insights and a disciplined evaluation of consumer preferences.

Looking ahead, Taff outlined Natch’s growth strategy, encompassing four key areas: expansion into new cities, bolstering online sales, exploring export opportunities, and leveraging quick commerce platforms.

Continue Exploring:  Snacking continues to rise: Mondelēz International’s latest report reveals global surge in consumer snacking behaviors

“We’re expanding into new markets, launching in 50 stores this month. We’re also strengthening our online presence, boosting sales on platforms like Amazon and our website. Exploring export opportunities in the Gulf, North America, Europe, and beyond is our third focus. Lastly, our debut on Instamart initiates our push into the quick commerce segment, he reveals.

With a focus on meticulous execution and strategic partnerships, Natch aims to capitalize on emerging consumer trends and solidify its position as a leading player in India’s snack market.

“Looking ahead, we’re optimistic about our trajectory and growth prospects. While we’re currently in an aggressive expansion phase. Maintaining a prudent approach to resource management, we aim to not only fuel growth in the present but also secure our financial stability for the future,” he says.

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