I developed kesar kulfi and masala doodh protein shakes to suit Indian tastes: Samit Mehta
Samit Mehta of Six Pack nutrition, a protein drink manufacturer, had a serious problem when he set up his company a decade ago.
He had no USP. Protein supplements are easily available in India. Mehta refers to US-manufactured protein powders such as the whey isolate - where you get over 90% protein; or the whey protein concentrates - where protein ranges from 80 to 35%. “These powders are manufactured in the US,” he says.
Six Pack’s market disrupter was going about taste. Yes, protein powders with kesar kulfi and masala doodh flavours is what gave Mehta’s business just enough bulk to so some heavy lifting in the sales department.
Mehta says he knew early on that he would provide the best isolate protein powder to his clients. “Indians prefer a certain kind of taste. Imported powders come in basic flavours like vanilla and chocolate, but I developed kesar kulfi and masala doodh flavours which I then added to the protein to suit Indian tastes. I also put up a response programme where people could post their queries on our website which was answered by a nutritionist. This helped clear myths surrounding whey powder,” says Mehta.
Mehta’s big other claim is: “Ours is a natural product derived by separating whey from milk after curdling and spray drying it. Since it is natural it does not harm your body.”
The question of cost remained. Mehta managed to get fixed-rate purchase contracts with his suppliers in the West.
“Part of the major cost is the fluctuations in price. I managed to convince my suppliers to give me a fixed rate, for a fixed term. That gives me control over fluctuations.”
Surely these are short-term measures?
“Yes. While we do aim to extend our supply contracts it is important that our customers accept our quality and brand. The industry is price elastic, people still buy imported whey that can be 30% to 45% higher priced. However, despite price fluctuations I have not changed the price of my product. I have absorbed the rate hikes.”
While these short-term measures work, Mehta is aiming for greater acceptability of his brand. The future plan - a deep dive with a ₹ 70 crore investment in machinery that will allow him to produce the whey protein isolate in India.