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Healthcare sector 2018-04-12

We aim to become a Rs 100cr brand by 2022: Nihaal Mariwala

In conversation with Nihaal Mariwala, Co-founder & CEO, Setu, who spoke about how his brand is trying to cure diseases through natural resources like ayurveda.

Mumbai based Setu, maker of health supplements is offering a helping hand at curing diabetes through their supportive yet preventive products. Apart from Ayurvedic ingredients, it has also introduced a combination of ingredients that will combat different aspects of the disease. While currently selling online through its own e-commerce portal and leading e-retail platforms the brand will soon be expanding offline. Thus, talking about the brand, its aim and future course of action Nihaal Mariwala, Co-founder & CEO, Setu spoke to Wellnessindia.com.

How did you venture into the nutrition business?
In 2004, my father set up a company OmniActive Health Technologies which exports ayurvedic dietary supplements to the leading US brands. I spent around a year in our US office working with those brands and their teams for content support in terms of traceability of supply chain and what kind of quality of ingredients they want. Hence, I developed a lot of insight knowledge about the industry.

Nutrition business for consumers in India was something that my father and I wanted to do for a while. I didn't want to join the family business but my father asked me to try out before my visa expired.

What led you to launch your brand Setu?
We wanted to help diabetics address the problem by offering products which are supportive yet preventive in nature. Instead of just offering ayurvedic ingredients we looked at diabetes holistically with introducing the combination of ingredients that help fight different aspects of the disease. We not only use Ayurveda or vitamins or natural ingredients in our products but also formulate and workout to offer optimal combinations for consumers. 

A lot of sports nutrition brands primarily selling online are starting up in the market so we thought to carve out a niche with our own brand. We started manufacturing of our products in April 2017. We wanted to make conversation about preventive nutrition and the ingredients while being clear about the fact that this is over the counter safe food based product that consumer can pick up from the shelf and buy for themselves rather than a doctor prescribing it. 

Any further addition to the product ranges?
Currently, we have 13 products in 5 categories that address diabetes, eye, liver digestion and immunity issues. In addition to this, we will be launching five to six products in the next few months.It will be turmeric products that fundamentally address inflammation, protein products that address protein deficiencies in our diet, and also vitamin B3 and B12 products which are highly deficient in men and women.

What is your current retail presence?
Apart from selling from our own e-commerce portal, we are available on Flipkart, Amazon, Healthkart amongst other platforms. Also, we are planning offline expansion through modern trade like Nature's Basket, nutritionists channel and chemists like Wellness Forever, Noble Class while tapping gyms and yoga studios simultaneously to promote and sell our products. First, we will start with Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi.

Our target consumer is typically 30-40-year-old urban Indians having a price point of our product is still a little bit on the premium side. People from metros to smallest towns are buying our products. 

Tell us something about your online traction in terms of sales.
In terms of sales, the traction is quite good online. Somewhere we get orders of between 25-40 units a day. We have started selling on our own portal four months back. We started manufacturing of our products in April 2017. The demand has been straight up growing at least a 100 percent MOM. Primarily Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, and Haryana contribute larger to our overall demand. The beauty of selling online is its location agnostic.

We are already breaking even on platforms like Amazon. Our marketing costs are 30 percent of our sales. We have potential to become Rs 100 cr brand by 2022.  

What ’s your take on the Indian nutrition market?
Basically, India has two spaces of market. One is big pharma companies that have a long tale of dietary supplement products prescribed through doctors and sold over the counter. Then there is Ayurveda where there are thousands of smaller brands selling anything from KayamChurna to Chyavanprash among other products. There is interest in both these segment of products though there may not be as much knowledge about vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids and other elements. But there is a belief or traditional method of consuming these products, possibly right for new type of brands in the space.

The dietary supplement market is now growing rapidly in India while sports nutrition already has a big market. The market continues to be largely driven by imports. People have been shifting to supplements, health foods, and functional foods. The shift is happening rapidly in the US, India will catch up in no time.

What are the reasons causing serious lifestyle diseases among Indians?
Buoyed exposure to screens of the laptop, mobile and TV affects your eyes, brain and sleep cycle gradually leading to diabetes and cholesterol. Over the time these diseases put heavy stress and pressure on your body which results in an eventual breakdown. Our probiotic product is especially meant to protect immunization in the current age of professionals who are drinking more liquor and eat out more.

Around 78.1 mn people in India are diagnosed with diabetes. In metros, starting from age 26, one in three persons has diabetes and the age is getting younger and younger. In line with diabetes huge chunk of people are now suffering from obese and malnutrition. Heart disease rate is also increasing rapidly.

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