How this female entrepreneur went from starting a Facebook group to creating a market for plant-based vegan snacks
After the premature birth of her daughter, Kirti Yadav struggled with health problems. She had gained weight, her cholesterol and blood pressure were still high, and the drugs for this, in turn, caused many side effects.
Tired of seeing multiple doctors and after trying multiple medications in hopes of regaining her health, Kirti took matters into her own hands and began researching how she could treat her health issues naturally.
“The people say accha khao sehat acchi hogi (eat good food and you will be healthy) but who cares about eating a healthy balanced diet every day. It was the same with me. But when I started researching this and talked to various people, everyone was saying, “change your lifestyle.” That’s when I thought, as I’ve tried everything else, let me try my luck too, ”Kirti said in a conversation with SMBShistory.
Today, Kirti (38) is a certified nutritionist and owner of KuKClean, based in Bangalore, a marketplace for plant-based vegan snacks, foods and essentials.
The company was formed in January 2021, and within seven months Kirti claims to have earned Rs 14 lakh despite being seeded. She even showcased her label with six ready-to-eat products, including classic dried fruit granola, a premium trail mix of nuts and seeds, organic ragi laddu, dried fruit laddoo, baked wheat crackers. oven/mathri and organic peanut butter.
When asked how she got here, and Kirti is quite blunt to say – “I have realized from my own experience that every food on our plate matters. ”
Kirti’s search for healthy eating began when she decided to switch to healthy eating.
“I started exploring plant-based snacks, but it was a real struggle to find options without preservatives or emulsifiers,” says Kirti.
She spent hours at the supermarket trying to find healthy foods, but to no avail.
“Most vegan products are inspired by the West, and may not suit Indian taste buds. There is also a general lack of awareness on how to effectively use the vegan products we buy in the market. So while shoppers spend a lot of money, they end up being disappointed and the experience leaves a bad taste (literally!), Further dissuading them from repeating the purchases, ”says Kirti.
Necessity is the mother of all inventions, and Kirti began experimenting with recipes for making delicious and healthy foods for herself and her family.
And just like that, within a few months, Kirti began to witness drastic changes in her health. Her cholesterol and blood pressure fell to normal levels and she also saw her weight lose weight. It was eureka moment for her.
“Fortunately, I was back to normal, but in the meantime I also understood that the real struggle today is the lack of healthy food, which is the root of all health problems. switch to healthy eating thinking that would be boring, ”Kirti says.
KuKClean product range
To break this myth, she started a Facebook group in 2019, where she invited people from her circle of friends, and started posting photos of healthy and delicious food she cooked at home. The emphasis has always been on plant-based foods, and she was quickly joined by other women who also shared their healthy recipes.
Little by little, Kirti began to receive offers of collaboration from small entrepreneurs to launch their vegan brands on her group. The group also got Kirti to hold various corporate wellness workshops and events to promote how she adopted a healthy lifestyle without compromising on taste.
With more than five thousand active members in the group, Kirti was on the verge of a business opportunity when the pandemic hit India in 2020.
“All corporate wellness programs suddenly stopped and none of the brands offered to collaborate. I thought about offering personal nutrition classes but I was not a certified nutritionist and that was a hindrance. So during the pandemic, I finished my nutritionist course, ”Kirti recalls.
As the lockdown restrictions gradually eased, it came to Kirti’s idea to make her recipes reach people in the form of products.
“The struggle to find reliable sources of nutritious, chemical-free, preservative-free and sugar-free food products is real, and the products I was making did not contain any unhealthy ingredients. I started approaching my group and others, asking if they needed any vegan snacks, and to my luck, I got a few orders, ”Kirti says.
Kirti started developing healthy snacks at home and delivering them personally. Much to her surprise, after a month, she began to receive orders in abundance from all over Bengaluru, all by word of mouth.
Create a marketplace from a Facebook group
While Kirti was busy preparing orders and deliveries around Bengaluru, she thought about reuniting with other housewives who were also in similar businesses.
“I met people in my Facebook group who were doing really good things and wanted to empower them while helping people get healthy, plant-based foods. I saw this as an opportunity to create a market for plant-based vegan products, ”Kirti shares.
She then integrated local vendors, adding more products like sugar-free jam, ragi bread, pomegranate chocolates, vegan butter and more to the online store.
Kirti with husband Akar Misra and daughter
According to a Redseer report, an increased awareness of lifestyle disorders has led to health-conscious, health-conscious and tech-savvy individuals who are constantly seeking out various types of food products ranging from foods made from plant-based, organic and oil-free. cereals rich in protein and healthy, weight loss foods and low in cholesterol. The plant-based food industry is growing in India and will see a boom in the next 5-10 years, according to the report.
Kirti’s husband Akar Misra quit his job and joined the company full time. The duo are now selling KuKClean products beyond Bengaluru, with their online platform receiving demand from Delhi, Pune, etc. Kirti also incorporated the company as KuKClean Foods and Consulting Pvt Ltd in July of this year.
The Accidental Entrepreneur also provides personalized lifestyle and nutrition advice as part of his business to individuals, businesses, schools and colleges to raise awareness of healthy living and healthy eating. , which are also part of its source of income.
A place in the market
“Food should give you pleasure, not guilt,” Kirti says. Added to this are the company’s efforts in favor of sustainability. KukClean accepts used brown bags and empty bottles to reduce waste and promote a culture of recycling.
In competition with Urban Platter and Vegandukan, Kirti says what sets KuKClean products apart is that they don’t use any emulsifiers.
With a strong influencer marketing strategy and social media presence, the startup is seeing its profile grow and has also recently started sourcing the United States and Europe through collaborations.
It also aims to expand its reach to India and other countries in the coming months. Kirti also plans to integrate more suppliers that match the company’s own product requirements, and also to expand the product line.