Suhasini Sampath, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Yoga Bar, talks to us about the brand's journey so far
Yoga Barrecently entered the children's nutritional snackingsegment, a move that Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Yoga Bar Suhasini Sampathis confident will help take the Rs 200 crore brand to Rs 1000 crore within the next 2-2.5 years.
- We speak to Suhasini who walks us through the brand's journey so far and how they plan to achieve their goal.
The brand that started out by selling energy and protein bars has now also expanded its portfolio to Muesli, Peanut Butter, Whey Protein and Gluten-Free Oats. In fact, it recently entered the children’s nutritional snacking segment, adding a much wider segment to its overall portfolio, a move that Suhasini is confident will take the brand to touch the Rs 1000 crore mark within 2 years.
“Historically, we have grown 100% year-on-year. We are at Rs 200 crore currently and at this rate, we expect to reach Rs 1000 crore in 2-2.5 years,” she said. She is confident that the brand's entry into the children's segment will help take it to its target soon.
Yoga Bar comes under the umbrella of
The brand came into being in 2014 when both the sisters were still students in the US. They felt the need of a brand like Yoga Bar when they would get hungry after a yoga session and picked up a bar. “Anindita took a bar from a Trader’s Joe after our Yoga class and said ‘I wonder why thee aren’t such products in India. She also said, “If I had a product like this, I would name it Yoga Bar, and that’s how the brand was born,” shared Suhasini.
After coming back to India, for the first few years, the duo only sold energy bars, but a lot of their consumers started asking for natural protein bars. Then came the breakfast bars because a lot of consumers said they were busy in the mornings with no time to make food. Once the breakfast bars were in the market, the next step was to go deeper into the breakfast category with the launch of muesli and oats.
“After the breakfast portfolio, we wanted to focus on the children’s segment because most of what is available for children is loaded with sugar. I am the mother to a two-year-old and am very conscious of what I give her to eat, so we went into infant porridges and kids’ cereals. We also advocate a ‘No-Maida’ policy, unlike other brands, ensuring that kids are not consuming maida-filled snacks,” shared Suhasini.
Suhasini also explained that the brand is very particular about the quality of the products they sell and the fact that they have they have their own manufacturing facility helps them keep a strict control on what they put in their products. The brand has also been very transparent about the ingredients it uses in its offerings, something that has worked in its favor, considering there has been a strong movement in the last few years of eating healthy and more natural food products.
What is also interesting is that the brand spent hardly anything on marketing in the initial years. So I asked Suhasini what helped them win over consumers in those initial years? “There was inherent trust because the products that we entered with had very clean labels. That's something consumers always appreciated us for, because they could see the ingredients they were consuming. I can say with a lot of confidence that if your mother was making an energy or protein bar for you, she would do it the exact same way we did it, and that’s not a claim that a large company can make. Our process of creating our products is very different from a large-scale MNC. Simply putting some products into the market is not how we do things. We only sell products that we will feed our own families, which is a big difference between us and larger brands. Also, we don't think we will replace homemade breakfast dishes like paratha or poha. But on the days where you feel like you're in a hurry, our products are a good alternative.” Millennials and GenZs are the brand’s primary target audience.
So without spending on marketing, how did the brand make its presence felt? “We did not spend much on marketing in the initial years and focused a lot on sampling, and a lot of it happened through word-of-mouth. We do some performance marketing within our channels but we have never run an ATL or BTL. campaign. It was the strength of the product which led to the word-of-mouth,” she added.
Yoga Bar’s products are currently available in over 10000 outlets across the country. Currently almost 60% of its sales comes from offline stores. “For our next phase of expansion, we will focus on expanding our distribution, putting our products much wider. We might also run one strong marketing campaign. In terms of getting into newer segments, we might look at coming up with salty and savory snacks using dry fruits and makhanas etc,” said Suhasini.