NutriParadise Foods is a Bengaluru-based, B2B nutraceutical startup that was launched last year. The company, incubated by CFTRI, is one of its kind that manufactures specially formulated diets using natural ingredients for hospitalized people with conditions like diabetes, renal failure etc.
The products include Kichdi for diabetic patients, ProPotion, a health drink for general patients and Omega 3 chutney powder for pregnant women as well as normal patients. Soups and smoothies are next on its list.
A tete-a-tete NutriParadise Foods founder Vijaysurya:
When did the idea to start a nutraceutical company strike you for the first time? What explains your interest in this segment?
When I was pursuing my masters in global entrepreneurship, I did my internship in a hospital in Germany. My objective was to understand the nutritional needs and problems of the patients and dietary services in Indian hospitals. I observed that in developed countries people are aware of what they are eating and prudent about their diet. They paid attention to food labels and knew how to read them. In India people are unaware of what they are being served with as food or why they are being served with that particular food at hospitals. They are not educated about their diets and healthy eating habits. Doctors abroad emphasize on a good diet for a fast recovery while in India medicines rule over food. That’s when I understood that there is a huge gap to be solved. I then came up with a convenient solution, presented it in the college competition and received the seed funding on the very same day. So basically this company was a business model I developed as a college project.
How much time did it take to convert this idea from paper to practical use?
The idea of founding a nutraceutical company was conceived in 2012 while I was pursuing my masters in entrepreneurship. We began our research for products and global trends in 2013 which is still ongoing. It was in 2015 that NutriParadise was incorporated as a company. We got going with the sales in hospitals in the year 2016. We felt the need of more advanced research for the development of convenient products and in 2017 we got incubated in India’s most prestigious research institute in the field of food technology, the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI).
To start a venture at this level require special expertise, either in health or food sector. Please share your professional background in detail.
As a child, I was exposed to medicinal plants and herbs as my father had ties with biotechnology and horticulture departments. Visiting those centres often gave me a deep knowledge of nutraceuticals. Doing my internship in a hospital made me aware of in and out of the hospital catering system. I witnessed the nutritional complications patients were going through. This made me dive into the field of nutraceuticals, which was already one of my interests. I did an extensive research on global nutraceutical and functional foods and their market to gain technical as well as commercial knowledge. NutriParadise has a team of experts who are proficient in the field of nutraceuticals and functional foods.
How easy or difficult was it to convince hospitals about your products?
At NutriParadise, before we formulate a product, we conduct focus group discussions with doctors and dieticians at specialty hospitals to know the nutritional and therapeutic requirements of the patients with a specific disease condition. Since the hospitals are involved and the products are engineered keeping the focus on their requirements we never have to convince them to buy our products. We don’t approach hospitals for sale nor do we have a marketing crew.
Are these products also available over the counter? How do you market these
We are a B2B industry. Our products are available only in the hospitals we are tied up with i.e., BIG Hospital, Excel care, SHRC, Diwakar’s, Sagar Chandramma.
How soon will the other products reach the patients? Will it be a nationwide launch?
We are planning on launching our products phase wise. We will be launching products each year for five disease conditions. We intend to go PAN India in the next 16 months.
What role does CFTRI play in the scheme of things?
CFTRI plays a big role in our research and development. It has helped us speed up the research and reduced the time required for product development. We have been given proficient scientists as mentors and provided with world-class facilities to develop our products. CFTRI also shares its extensive technical knowledge which enables us to advance swiftly through our research.
What are your future plans
In future, we aim to cater to major communicable and non-communicable disease conditions with convenient-functional-therapeutic foods to help patients in the process of recovery.
We are in talks with research institutions to aid in our research and development and also thinking of funding projects where a lot of futuristic products and technologies can be developed.
We aim to change the face and perception of hospital cafeteria and pantries making the services convenient and providing nutritious food with greater value and benefits. We aim to cure and prevent diseases to a greater extent by providing best quality nutraceuticals and functional foods as therapeutic diets.