You’re not yourself when you’re hungry’. That’s the tagline of a popular snack brand. What do you do when the hunger monster strikes? For 27-year-old Ankita Mendiratta Mehta, who worked long hours at a consumer goods giant, this meant choosing between skipping meals and eating an unhealthy samosa, a cheese grilled sandwich or some potato chips. When she wanted to switch to healthy eating, Mehta realised there were no substitutes available within easy reach of her work desk. She wasn’t alone.
"Many of my friends also wanted to give up unhealthy snacks, but didn’t know how," she says. So, in October 2014, Mehta and her partner Vinayak quit their lucrative corporate jobs to start Snackosaur, a subscription-based snack-delivery service.
Now, they ship snack boxes to offices and homes in over 55 cities. Once you subscribe to the service – starting at Rs 598 a month -- a box of curated snacks arrives at your doorstep; enough to last you a fortnight. From regular fare such as granola bars and nut mixes to specialty items like barbeque edamame and strawberry wasabi peas (the spice hits you first, followed by a sweet aftertaste of strawberry), Snackosaur is reinventing snacking.
Two-year-old company The Nibble Box, too, is trying to kill that 4 pm hunger with offerings such as fig flaps (that use sorghum flour) and pumpkin spice latte granola bar (a rich mix of honey, oats, dates and flax seeds), among other things. The Nibble Box is also based on a subscription model; they even have a renowned nutritionist and lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho, on board, to help create the snacks. "People want food that’s healthy, but also tasty. We try to add nutrition to that equation," says fitness enthusiast and marathon runner Ishita Sharma, founder The Nibble Box. Mehta agrees that while making healthy food tasty has been a challenge, the constant improvisation and customer feedback helps. "We had a seed mix that included pumpkin and sunflower, but once we added jalapeno flavour to it, the product sold better. From simply being healthy, it was now a snack people looked forward to," says Mehta. Smart innovations like these are making more people open to the idea of healthy snacking. No wonder the company’s social media pages are flooded with eloquent testimonials.
The Green Snack Co – based in Mumbai is revolutionising the approach towards healthy eating. It has turned kale – a hipster favourite – into kale chips, a healthy snack. By dehydrating the leaves at the right temperature over long durations, the flavour and nutritional value of this super food is retained. Available in variants such as cheese onion and Thai sweet chilli, kale chips are perfect for those trying to lose weight, or those allergic to gluten.
With increasing awareness, people are gravitating towards products that suit their requirements, feels Suku Shah of Olive Tree Trading, who supply organic gourmet ingredients for healthy products. "The current trend is all about going back to grassroots with organic and natural products. There are a lot of people who are looking for vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free products," he says.
"Indians have been quick to adopt healthy eating compared to the west," says Sharma. But is this trend here to stay? We think yes. It is a known fact that Indians love snacking. According to a study conducted by Neilsen, sales in the snacking category have grown more than six fold in the last decade. And with increasing disposable incomes and need for convenience in our busy schedules, services like these will continue to enjoy popularity.