Eating right: COVID-19 pumps up sales for India’s protein bread maker

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Health Factory's high protein bread.
The Health Factory's high protein bread.

Related tags: India, Bread, Protein

An Indian start-up specialising in making protein bread and cookies saw online sales go up by 15% in mid March, with the firm believing consumers are increasingly making more healthy food choices as COVID-19 continues to spread.

According to India’s first high protein bread maker, The Health Factory, consumers are also starting to “eat right”.

The company currently has seven product SKUs, consisting of two high protein bread and five high protein cookies. The protein content in its protein bread can go up to 48g per loaf and 6.77g per serve for its cookies.

The two-year-old start-up currently sells its products on Amazon, its own website, via a four-week subscription order, as well as physical retail stores such as Foodhall and Nature’s Basket.

Although COVID-19 has led to a sluggish retail scene, the company had however, saw its products going out of stock in certain stores as well.

“Not a lot of people want to get into the retail market and pick up products, because you don't want to get expose to people coming from different places, you don't know who's coming into the stores,”​ MD Vinay Maheshwari told NutraIngredients-Asia.

“However, what we have seen in the couple of retail stores that our products are available, is that the products are going out of stock. We realised that purchase is due to its high protein and high fibre content.

“And so, a lot of people are starting to pick it up, thinking that they need to start eating right.”

As for its online business, he said that sales were up by 15% to 20% in the second week of March.

He attributed the growth to two other reasons besides the desire to eat rmore healthily, namely consumers’ preferring to purchase items online and the company’s recent marketing efforts.

“It has been a week since we have seen the good online response that we are getting from our own website, from Amazon, and from our other online partners. We are 15% to 20% better in online sales,”​ he said.

He remains optimistic of continuous online sales growth in the upcoming days.

“We see that it will only grow further, because we are very optimistic about people not walking into the retail stores, but at least calling for their daily essentials online and since we are in the space of bread, that is something that you consume daily.”

India has 553 active cases​ of COVID-19 as of March 25. 

The origins

The Health Factory’s first product – the multi-protein bread containing 48g of protein per loaf was launched two years ago. The range subsequently expanded to include protein cookies and vegan protein bread.

Maheshwari said the idea of protein bread came about when he realised that there was a market gap in the types of nutritional bread present.

“Every morning, I was eating six slices of bread and half a can of beans or vegetables. That was like my staple every morning. 

“One day, I walked into the kitchen to get my bread and there was no bread because the family has decided that we are not going to buy bread anymore because its packed with calories, carbs, and has no nutrition value.

“That's when I realised that there is a big gap in the market.”

He then left his job in a pharmaceutical firm and develop his own version of nutritional bread via a partnership with a Netherlands food tech company.

The team took about half a year to complete the R&D, sourcing ingredients from worldwide.

A search on Amazon shows that there are a number of brands selling protein bread at present, including Mestemacher from Germany, which contains 10g of protein per serving, and US brand – Pro Therapies’ high protein brown bread, which contains 15g of protein per serving.

Choosing proteins

The Health Factory uses proteins from six different sources based on their amino acid profiles. They are namely whey, peas, soy, wheat, rice and wheat, and milk.

These were also the popular protein sources according to a survey that the company has conducted.

“We took those six essential ingredients that they will like to have, and we used the concentrate and isolates of these ingredients to make the bread so that the bread could now become holistic in its nutrient profile,”​ Maheshwari said.

For everyone

As bread is a daily staple, the target audience is essentially everyone, according to Maheshwari.

At present, the company’s bread and cookies are available in Mumbai and Pune while only cookies are available in Delhi and Bangalore.

Its next step is to establish a presence in the whole of India and there are also places to go overseas.

Currently, it has received queries from countries such as the US and Dubai.

Related topics: Nutrition, South Asia, Bakery

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