What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “snack”? Based on where you are from, you would probably have a favourite snack in mind. That is the beauty of India. There is some type of snack for every single person out there and quantifying that number is near next to impossible! We as Indians, enjoy our munchies and snacks, and having munchies while watching our favourite game of cricket with friends and family, is the classic case.
Now, what comes to your mind when you hear the term, “healthy snack”? Still thinking of “something crispy and delicious and healthy?” That is where ‘The Healthy Binge’ is revolutionizing the way we consume snacks or rather healthy snacks. Made from the indigenous ingredients of millet and quinoa, these baked snacks are more than what meets the eye!
From launching the brand in 2021 to sealing a deal with Peeyush Bansal and Aman Gupta on Shark Tank India (Season 2) in 2023, is no mean feat. The founder-cousins, Pranav Korke and Karan Korke have had a rollercoaster of a journey full of challenges with lots of valuable lessons and most importantly, enriching the lives of numerous people through employment in India.
Follow our conversation with Karan Korke on #NICEStories, as he talks about his entrepreneurial journey and building a cultural enterprise.
2 little sons defined the #healthysnacking
When in conversation with the team, Pranav mentioned how his two sons were picky eaters. He would often think of making different types of healthy snacks for them which are also tasty. The thought of coming up with an interesting snack for his kids led Pranav to jump into the food industry.
Pranav had previously worked with Saguna Rural Foundation (SRF), a Social Welfare Public Trust set up to promote and support rural India through research and implementation of innovative farming and forest practices.
With that background, and with the help of his father-in-law: a renowned agriculturist, Pranav approached farmers in Pune to learn more about the cultivation of indigenous crops such as rice, millet, and quinoa.
This enabled Pranav and the team to get a comprehensive view of the food-tech industry in India. Their professional exposure and backgrounds in diverse fields of agri-tech, finance, IT, and marketing and sales, in the past, led the founders to identify a huge gap in the Indian market for healthy and nutritional snacks.
The Real Journey
And then, there was no stopping them from hustling! They hired a food technician for expert valuation and inputs, journeyed across the country to understand what is appealing to customers, tested their indigenous flavours, and are constantly trying to impart knowledge through social media to some of the Gen-Zs about the indigeneity of millets and quinoa!
One of the most prominent parts of The Healthy Binge is that right from their days of R&D in 2019, to launching the brand in 2021, to securing investor funding in 2023; their core ideology has been untouched, i.e., at every step of their journey, the team’s vision was to introduce a high-quality product.
The FDA and ISO22000-approved machinery imported from China by the team to India reinforces the ideology of maintaining the highest quality of their products.
Innovation at the Heart of Marketing & Branding
Part of the appeal for the consumers is their packaging and the affordable price. Having had experience in advertising and marketing, Karan and the core team designed the packaging in-house! Karan was beaming with joy as he talked about the journey and how close the design was to his heart, all while being extremely modest.
The quirky packaging is especially intriguing for younger consumers, who are inclined towards healthy, guilt-free snacking and sustainable consumption of food. Anyone can pick up ‘The Healthy Binge’ chips from any of their retail stores across 13 cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, and more cities in India and/or even order these healthy chips through major e-commerce platforms Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket, Zepto, etc.
Inserting ~Healthy~ into Snacking
Are you guilty of ransacking the kitchen cupboards due to a midnight craving at some point in life? We all have been there! And after a brief regretful retrospection in the morning, you would probably be determined to quash any further cravings. Yet the pertinent question is ‘Why should one not give in to the cravings?’
The Healthy Binge is the answer that packs a nutritional punch! With the dietary fibre equivalent to 2 apples, iron equivalent to 1 bunch of spinach, protein equivalent to 1 egg, and calcium equivalent to half a glass of milk; the chips are delicious. Yes, very very delicious with quite the unique and indigenous flavours such as The Chatpata Chaat Ragi crispies, Classic Cheese Amarnath Chips, Smokey BBQ Quinoa Baked Chips, Indian Masala Jowar Moringa Chips, and many more yet to come.
This is the perfect silver lining for anyone who wants to have “something crispy and delicious and healthy.” Healthy Binge snacks are a boon for the people who want to indulge in guilt-free snacking any time of the day or those who love indigenous snacks or are midnight munchers, or can’t wait to have something before they reach home after work, and/or are probably even great conversation starters, especially in a new job.
People: The backbone of the company
What do you make of a company whose first hire from the initial start-up days is still working with that same company and has come up in the ranks through the years? It shows the integrity of the foundational team and their commitment to valuing their employees.
When asked about the best part of the journey, Karan candidly replied, “Providing our employees financial stability, especially to women who work at the factory; they come from remote areas and are probably the breadwinners of their households. The smiles on their faces on pay-days and there is not a feeling to really describe it!” The Healthy Binge is not just redefining the healthy snacking industry with home-grown grains but also empowering people.
Leading the way with Humility
Despite the national recognition, exposure, and success through Shark Tank, and even a bunch of accolades under their names, Karan and Pranav are down-to-earth and their humility is their biggest asset. They know the mark they have made in cultural entrepreneurship, yet they are practical in their thinking and are wary of competitors surpassing them.
Their idea blends so well with building a brand rooted in our country of traditional snacking with a tinge of modernism. Often, brands struggle to find their niche and even if they do, connecting the dots of India’s rich history with modernity, is a herculean task.
Maintaining the core competencies of a brand is not always easy. Yet, The Healthy Binge takes pride in uplifting the farmers, empowering women, educating the masses about the advantages of supporting indigenous snacks, being environment friendly, and sustainable (the snacks have no maida, no palm oil, and no trans-fat either), and providing the people with healthy snacking options, right from their inception.
The Bright Future Ahead
As Pranav and Karan continue to expand and are soon to launch their products in Dubai, Singapore, Australia, and the USA, they have paved the way for entrepreneurs to build on the indigenous food traditions in our country. Their grit and gumption to survive and succeed through all odds are an inspiration for countless people who believe in the power of innovation.
The Healthy Binge is making a massive impact on healthy snacking culture in India; especially at a time when people are moving towards conscious and healthy snacks. They have not just created a startup but have created a legacy for generations of people to come.
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Author: Maithili Rao
Maithili Rao is an engineer turned marketer. She is a Digital Marketing professional with more than 5+ years of experience working with various startups. Maithili enjoys interacting with dynamic individuals and writing about them, and the real-world connections; that matter the most in this day and age.