#NICEStories – Healthy Snacking at NuttyFox with Founder Subhashish Bharuka

Chitra Aiyer 6 April, 2021

detail

NuttyFox is a healthy snack enterprise that offers clean snacking options using Indian crops for the global audience.

NuttyFox was a finalist at the NICE Aarohana Business Plan Competition (BPC) – Early Stage. 

Featuring the NuttyFox story on NICE Stories

Why was the founder motivated to start a healthy snack brand and enter an already competitive Indian retail space? How has his experience been as a single founder? What is the NutyFox commitment? Read on.

Meet the Founder

An alumnus of the University of Leeds, Jain University and Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Subhashish Bharuka’s academic pursuits were in marketing and advertising. 

With multiple years of corporate work experience including the food & beverages industry, Subhashish had founded and led a Public Relations consulting firm with clients such as Alcatel Flash, Reado Audiobooks, Chef Vikas Khanna, Penguin Books India among others.

NuttyFox Founder Subhashish Bharuka

This is Subhashish’s story.

Realizing a Dream

At the age of 18, I had planned to introduce a first in India concept coffee chain called Coffee & Wine. However, that did not take off but the dream lingered on and in February 2019, while working at a boring corporate job, I registered the domain nuttyfox.in but wasn’t sure if it was going to be a health café or a healthy snack brand. 

My Motivation to Start NuttyFox

The motivation to start NuttyFox was to create a ‘Made in India’ global brand offering healthy snacking options of the highest quality. 

I realized that my kids had been munching on unhealthy snacks. We all know that adults indulge in all sorts of unhealthy snacks such as deep-fried potato chips at work, home and get-togethers. This issue bothered me, so much so that I felt compelled to solve the problem! To offer healthy snacking options became my calling.

Choosing the First Snack

Healthy Snack Makhana

Growing up, I had seen my grandmother have makhana and a glass of milk for dinner every day for many years. She went on to live for 92 years! That got me thinking … why not introduce makhana as the first NuttyFox product?! … for its high nutritional value and as a plant-based snack.

So I decided to deep-dive into understanding makhana, aka Water Lily seeds. Over the next many months, I explored its health benefits, machinery choices for roasting, flavoring options, supply chain, packaging et al. And in December 2019, NuttyFox was introduced on Amazon!

NuttyFox Snacks

Healthy Snacks at NuttyFox

Our current offering includes Gourmet Makhana in 4 amazing flavors with the best crunch in every pack – Chilli lemon, Peri-peri, Salt & black pepper, Sour cream & onion. We are working to introduce other flavors as well.

High in protein, calcium, magnesium, our Gourmet Makhana has zero sugar and is the perfect anytime snack for all age groups.  

We are also in the process of sourcing the best raw materials directly from the farming community to create 2 unique healthy snack options for Indian and global consumers. 

Our Commitment

Nuttyfox Healthy snacks

At NuttyFox, we are committed to best-in-class products that are unique, free of artificial preservatives & chemicals and offer a ‘Smart Snacking’ experience. 


Current Market

Online: We sell on our website and across leading e-commerce platforms including Amazon India, Big Basket, LBB, Qtrove, Vegan Dukan, One Green.

Stores: We also sell in select premium & organic retail stores such as The Organic World chain in Bangalore, 5 premium stores in Chennai and the Saukhyam premium store in South Goa.

NuttyFox Snack Retailers

Our customer base is predominantly urban health-conscious women and office-goers. We have a repeat purchase of 12% and are seeing increased demand from Tier 2 & 3 cities through Amazon and our website in the last many months. 

Curated Gift Hampers

We also offer curated gift hampers in partnership with many premium brands. 

We cater to corporate, wedding clients and curate hampers for all occasions with a variety of options.

Gift hamper NuttyFox

Our Christmas hampers shipped out to a large team at Apple India were highly appreciated. We partnered with 3 homegrown Bangalore-based brands, Purple Hippie, Ausum Teas, and Bunpai.

During the Covid-19 Lockdown

We utilized the Covid-19 lockdown period in 2020 to drill down the finance to a point of knowing the unit cost of a single piece of the product in a pack. 

  • We realized that our shipping cost was our highest cost. So, I brought in AI-driven delivery partners for hyper-local and national delivery. 
  • We also streamlined the cost of raw materials as well as the cost of customer acquisition (CoA).

The Indian Retail Space 

Creating a high-quality snack product is an arduous task in itself and on top of that the Indian retail space is extremely competitive. To establish a brand means to burn cash! However, the market opportunity is huge and there’s space for everyone! 

The global plant-based snacks market was valued at $34.69 Billion in 2019 and is forecast to reach $73.61 Billion by 2028

The biggest challenge to date has been offline retail. Therefore I’m reworking a Direct-to-Consumer strategy to solve for that. 

My Experiences as a Single Founder

As a single founder, my entrepreneurial journey has been extremely testing, to say the least. To single-handedly handle every aspect of the business has been overwhelming

It is essential to have a co-founder who will work in tandem not only in building a rock-solid founding team but also through the long-drawn journey of entrepreneurship.

My advice to entrepreneurs starting out – Have a Co-Founder! 

Building a Lean but Strong Team

At the outset, it’s not easy to build an FMCG brand. In such a scenario, while it is easy to find employees who are keen to work for pay, it is a struggle to find people who are committed to building a brand.

At NuttyFox, we are working towards building a lean team with expert members. Currently, we are looking to onboard finance, retail operations and sales specialists who are passionate about building a brand.

A ‘Never Give Up’ Attitude

An entrepreneurial journey has a multitude of challenges! Due to operational setbacks, I’ve hit rock bottom twice. However, I pulled myself up simply to realize my vision of building a healthy snacking brand. 

Giving up is not an option! 

Shout-Out to Fellow Cultural Entrepreneurs

Right now is the time to build a global Indian brand as the post-pandemic world has renewed the outlook of consumers across the board. We see an increasing demand for healthy products. Given the upward trend, we plan to scale with multiple healthy snack offerings. 

Let’s all collaborate and build an ecosystem together. The opportunity is big NOW.  

At the NICE Aarohana Business Plan Competition (BPC)

I was thrilled to be in the top 10 from among 100+ applications. It was quite an interesting journey from the first mail to the final pitch day.

Team NICE is awesome. The mentoring sessions were insightful and a great learning experience

Chitra, my buddy for the BPC, as a guide is simply amazing! She was helpful and motivating throughout the pitch process. 

Kudos to Team NICE for such a thoughtful initiative and Congrats to all the winners. 

I truly hope to have a long-standing association with NICE. 

———

Calling Cultural Entrepreneurs

Have a cultural enterprise? Tell us what you do. Write to us at namaste@niceorg.in.

To feature your cultural enterprise on NICE Stories, write to me at chitra@niceorg.in.

 

 

Images from NuttyFox

author
Chitra Aiyer