Harsh Batra, the fitness freak who developed the Indian equivalent of the US-based Soylent shares how he is ‘shaking up’ this brand new market.
Foodies might hate this but science has just squeezed the plate full of their favorite dishes into just a glass full of light beige color and vanilla flavored drink called SupermealX – a meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) replacement beverage (not an energy booster) that gives you all the 30 vital nutrients required in every meal.
When did you planned to launch SupermealX?
Ever since I graduated in 2006 I have been meddling with different ideas, whether it is real estate, dog food, blogging etc to figure out what I want to do. SupermealX is a meal replacement beverage similar to Soylent in the US, invented in 2013. In March 2013, when I heard about Soylent, I was so fascinated that I wanted to buy it since I have always been quite disciplined about what and how I eat. However I couldn’t get it, so I thought of making one of my own. This is apart from my job since last nine years at EthosData, the UK-based global virtual data provider, as even my CEO never stops me from doing the projects that I want to do. I am lucky that way. So, I love my job and also because there is a financial aspect of it which allows me to do such experiments.
What was the driving factor?
The idea gelled with my lifestyle as I was living alone, having a slow-carb diet and usually ordered food from outside as I don’t cook much and neither do I like shopping for food. While losing or gaining weight wasn’t the challenge for me, but you don’t know how the food is prepared and neither can you ask (from where you are ordering the food) to prepare it the way you would like for e.g. less oily and spicy. Even if you order healthy food like Chicken or a vegetarian preparation, you still don’t know how it was made as often it has oil dripping from it etc. It is still unhealthy and gets very monotonous after a certain time and above all is quite expensive for those living alone like me. So, you don’t know what different essential nutrients and their quantities are there in your meal. Even if you know, every meal doesn’t have the entire above 30 essential ingredients (14 vitamins, 15 minerals and few macro nutrients) for your body.
How SupermealX is meeting the nutritional intact of the body?
SupermealX is a nutritional insurance which means that you are making sure that your body gets everything it requires as per science. During the first month of having SupermealX, I was a guinea pig. So, I had full body check including blood test before and after the month. When I compared the two results I was surprised to see that my cholesterol was normal after one month.
What is the ideal time to have SupermealX?
Anyone can have SupermealX anytime as per his/her lifestyle. For e.g. it is my breakfast and lunch from Monday to Friday. Though there is no such ideal time or way to consume it, having it in breakfast can be a great start to the day for those who skip or prefer light breakfast, as one SupermealX works for up to four hours and satisfies at least 25 percent of your daily nutritional intake.
How do you see this trend picking up in India?
We are creating the market for such a product since it is first of its kind in India, so, the challenge is to educate people about it. This is unlike in US where people know about Soylent and hence the adoption rate of such a product is high. Most of our customers are entrepreneurs, executives, lawyers who have long working hours or people who usually have irregular eating habits.
What about your presence and expansion plans?
While we are already selling through our website, we might be available at retail stores in Delhi and Mumbai from next month and a half. We are working with our team of scientists to launch two flavors by December this year. We manufacture it in Himachal Pradesh, but import most of the ingredients as they are not available in India. This is why its price is slightly on the higher side, but we want to bring down the cost.