Alpino Health Foods is a peanut butter brand that was launched in India in 2016. Being started in Surat, this Made in India brand has panned out nationally in the last two and a half years and is currently one of the best-selling consumer brands on Amazon India. Alpino Peanut butter is the brainchild of 6 entrepreneurs coming together to introduce the Purest form of Peanut butter which has no added sugar, unhealthy fats, salts, hydrogenated oils and is prepared from completely natural products. Alpino Peanut Butter has an offering comprising of Peanut Butter, Almond Butter and Peanut Butter Powder. The products are available in a wide range of flavours including Honey, Dark Chocolate, Banana, Chocolate and Classic. We are publishing an interview with Mr. Chetan Kanani, Co-Founder, Alpino Health Foods:
Q.: Please tell us about the founders
Ans: Priyank Vora, Hiren Sheta, Mahatva Sheta, Milan Gopani, Chetan Kanani, Umesh Gajera are the 6 co-founders. All the 6 co-founders used to study in the same college before founding Alpino Health Foods. The idea struck them when they discovered that most of Indian Peanuts were supplied to the foreign markets for various purposes. They did thorough and detailed research to find out about the demand and supply of Peanuts in the Indian market. After enough study, they came to the conclusion of introducing a healthy snack for the Indian audience, instead of exporting it to other countries who are already aware of the health benefits of Peanut.
Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Ans: The problem we are trying to resolve is lack of awareness and inaccessibility of nutritious food. The population is not just uninformed, it’s also negligent to health problems. India has had a very poor nutritional status over the years and Alpino Health Foods is working hard to solve this problem.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: Alpino Health Foods believes in improving India’s nutrition by giving people something pure, with no added sugar or empty calories.To have a product with absolutely no stabilizers, and which literally tasted like a jar of roasted peanuts was their ultimate goal.
By offering healthy food options that are rich in protein and other nutrients, Alpino desires to offer the best quality nutritional food items to the Indian consumer at reasonable rates.
Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: Alpino Health Foods promises that it comprises of 100% natural ingredients in the entire Indian health food market and offers products with highest quality. Our Peanut Butter has no added sugar, no trans fat and no hydrogenated oils and not just that our Peanut Butter is also available in protein powder with 2X more protein and 80% less fat. We started by offering Peanut Butter at an affordable rate with premium and consistent quality so that the original nutrition of peanuts is never lost. It is easily available across the nation through e-commerce giants like Amazon, Flipkart, Healthkart and major grocery stores pan India.
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learnings that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: When we entered the market, the awareness about our products and health benefits was bare minimum. Peanut Butter is widely loved and known in the world, especially the American market but it is very new to the Indian household. On top of it, since the product falls in the premium category, it was a challenge on marketing and promotional activities front.
Our ideal customer doesn’t belong to any one age group. Since Peanut Butter is the most loved spread among all age groups all over the world. From kids to adults, there’s no one who doesn’t love a good scoop of tasty and healthy Peanut Butter. By offering flavoured Peanut Butter we wish to appeal to the audience which is not a fan of the taste of peanuts. The acceptance of Peanut Butter in Indian households and changing the eating habits of Indians can help shape a better and healthy tomorrow.
Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??
Ans: Biggest failure for us was being rejected by retailers and distributors. That pushed us in experimenting more and we learned from our mistakes instead of taking a step back.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Ans: The pricing of our product depends on the market prices as we always want our products to be affordable for all the masses. We obviously include the manufacturing costs, raw material and promotional costs and then decide on a price according to our competition.
Q.: How did you get your first customer?
Ans: Our very first customer was one of the doctors in our circle.
Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: The founders have together invested an amount of around Rs. 1 crore until now.
Q.: Is there any interesting success story? If yes, please write about it. ?
Ans: Our Success story began when we entered the market with minimum experience but our dedication helped us become the #1 selling product on e-commerce giant Amazon and we became one of the top selling Peanut Butter brands in the country..
Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: India is gradually moving towards a healthier lifestyle with internet accessibility, social media influencers and fitness oriented technology. Even after the restrictions of a desk job, people are motivated and they go out their way to incorporate a healthy diet in their lifestyle.
We are planning to expand into various health food sectors like Apple Cider Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Whey Protein because we believe that a health food brand like ours has a great scope for expansion.
Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? What is the current turnover? (From Launching till date total no. of visitors on website/persons registered/enquiries and enrollment). Please explain in details:
Ans: As Peanut Butter is one of our major products we have remarked 300% growth from the last year by reaching at INR 5.5 Cr turnover.
Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
Ans: We believe that our products are quite different from others and we have a varied catalogue, still we are at a better position than competitor brands from different sectors in a very short span of time.
Our startup is unique because we kept targeting the same consumers even though we were rejected by many retailers due to unawareness. And now the time has come that the same retailers are asking to keep our products upfront on their shelves.
Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles – How you see them evolving over time. What would be each of their Skillsets? – Elaborate also if any of the team members has a specific domain expertise.
Ans: Chetan Kanani – Nation Sales Head (North & South)
His clear focus was on the export market sales but after seeing the scope for Alpino’s products in India, he also manages nationwide distribution and Secondary Sales Management
Umesh Gajera – National Sales Head (West & East)
He specializes into Nation Sales & Distribution Sales Management
Priyank Vora – Purchase & amp; Account Management
Being a Purchase Head at Alpino, Priyank handles all the purchases of inventory including Packaging material.
Milan Gopani – Warehouse Head
Being very good at human relations, Milan handles total warehouse and inventory management.
Hiren Sheta – Online E-Commerce Department
Hiren handles every e-commerce partner channel.
Mahatva Sheta – Marketing Dept
Because of his marketing and design ideas, Mahatva takes care of the marketing dept.
Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans: Pintola, The Butternut Co. and Just Nuts are the three competitors of Alpino Health Foods currently.
The health food market was limited to a very conventional category of products. Urbanization and better standard of living resulted in Indians binging on a lot of junk food due to a fast paced life. Alpino aims to offer the Indian Consumer some healthy snacking options which are not just tasty but perfect for a healthy diet. We offer premium quality products which are 100% natural and out butter literally tastes like freshly roasted peanuts with no preservatives and hydrogenated oils. We were the first brand to introduce Peanut Butter Powder in the Indian market. It has 2X more protein and 80% less fats which helps us stand out.
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Ans: We are coming up with adding more products into our Health Basket like Apple Cider Vinegar, Total Virgin Olive Oil, Whey Protein.
Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: A message that I would like to convey to my fellow entrepreneurs is that being rejected is the first step to success and nothing can be as motivating as the will to prove everyone wrong. Don’t take a step back and instead take two steps for the future.
Q.: Any other information you would like to share?
Ans: We are adding more products into our Health Basket starting from Whey Protein which is gonna be available in the market very soon.
Thanks Chetan. Best wishes!