“There is a huge lack of low-carb foods in the market that are tested and verified”

11 June 2021 | Opinion

Founded in early 2019 by Sudarshan Gangrade, Former Head of Marketing at Ola, Bengaluru-based startup Lo! Foods offer a low carbohydrate and keto-friendly range of packaged food products that are tasty and suitable for the Indian palate.

It has raised $1.5 million so far from a clutch of well-known angel investors, including Anuj Golecha, co-founder of Venture Catalyst, Rashmi Daga, founder of Freshmenu, Raveen Sastry, co-founder of Myntra, and Mitesh Shah, CFO of BookMyShow. In addition to the packaged products, Lo! Foods have 20+ Cloud Kitchens across India that offer freshly prepared low-carb and keto-friendly food made with their in-house products. In a recent interaction with NuFFooDS Spectrum, Sudarshan Gangrade, Founder, Lo! Foods, Bengaluru talks about his plans on how to help consumers cut down their carb intake and avoid lifestyle disorders like diabetes.

Edited Excerpts;

 

What are the current dietary challenges the startup is addressing?

We are striving to reduce the burden of obesity, diabetes, cardiac, and other key lifestyle diseases caused by the disproportionate share of carbs in the Indian diet. To deliver on this, we offer a wide range of Indian foods that are typically 60 – 80 per cent lower in net carbohydrates. Apart from a lack of awareness, the main challenge faced by the Indian low-carb diet market is a lack of food products that suit the Indian taste palate. They are either low on taste or are way different from what we regularly eat. But more importantly, there is a huge lack of low-carb foods that are tested and verified.  Lo! Foods is on a mission to reduce the incidence of obesity, diabetes, and cardiac risks. By 2023, our goal is to reduce the incidence of these diseases by 5 million. We have a wide variety of Indian foods reimagined with low-carb ingredients and superfoods to uplift and boost its healthiness without any compromise on taste or flavour. Our packaged food products range includes Atta, Namkeen, Snacks, Cookies, Indian Desserts, and Chocolates. We also have a wide variety of fresh foods ranging from Parathas, Rolls, and Sandwiches to desserts like almond halwa delivered through 18 cloud kitchens across Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Delhi NCR. Each Lo! Foods product is tested at NABL certified laboratories.

 

How did the business fare in 2020? What plans are lined up for 2021?

Our team has been constantly growing and is expanding every month. At present we are a team of over 80 members. So far, we have raised $1 million in funding and more than 30,000 customers use our products each month. The pandemic didn’t really have an impact on our business in 2020. In fact, we have grown over pre-covid levels each month, of course, except for April during the lockdown period. Our major plans for this year include the expansion of distribution channels and international expansion. We have now expanded our operations to Singapore and the US We are planning to launch a whole range of new products that address more food categories, as also are targeted towards a larger market. We are expecting a growth of 200 per cent in the new year.

 

How is the concept of cloud kitchen evolving in India? How do you foresee the integration of technology in the F&B industry?

Cloud kitchens in India have become mainstream with wide acceptance among all kinds of customers - be it fine dining or everyday wholesome food. Multi-brand outlets catering to varied cuisines from the same premise is becoming the mantra for sustainability and viability. Technology is being led by big platforms. Not only are they making it very easy to integrate into their tech platform, but they are also making it easy on the consumer side. So we expect technology to be more driven towards integration with tech platforms, rather than F&B players developing their own tech.

 

Dr Manbeena Chawla

(manbeena.chawla@mmactiv.com)

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