New-Delhi-based Kancha Cheena Foods invented Myints 3-min veggies - the snacks of good times over an evening party with friends. While enjoying cocktails, the company's founders realized that the existing frozen ready-to-eat snacks such as french fries, shami kebabs, and cheese nuggets are high in calories with almost no variety except deep-fried potatoes maida, and cheese. Ashok Bansal, co-founder and chief executive officer of Kancha Cheena Foods, recalls, "Everyone in that party realized the need for delicious options in vegetarian snacking and decided to explore commercialization of the same. It was a challenging journey with many complex "What Ifs…", however, it took only a little while to have the core passionate team."
Myints 3-min veggies decided to be in the frozen vegetarian segment of snacks and mini-eats, which according to Bansal, had maximum scope. He thinks, "It's a pity that India having more than 100 crore vegetarian people, does not have many options of delicious gourmet snacks. We wish to be the brand-of-choice of ready-to-eat snacks for smart households looking out for delicious and nutritious snacks."
Currently, the brand offers 5 SKU, including herbed baby potatoes with tomato sesame seeds dip; grilled veggies with special Thai dip; paneer mix cigars with honey mustard dip; stuffed mushrooms with sunset red dip; and paneer pesto fingers with chef's special sauce. In addition, Bansal informs that there are about nine products at the R&D stage. He says, "Within two years, we will launch about 15 to 18 products. Moreover, we have plans to launch organic and Jain vegetarian range."
USP - Convenience, taste, hygiene coupled with robust R&D
Speaking of the USP of Myints range, Bansal highlights three main differentiators - convenience, taste, hygiene, and health; Premium dip or dressing with each Myints product; and strong R&D team. He explains, "We had around nine dishes in our 1st round that proceeded for mass sampling. For these nine dishes, our team prepared almost 26 different dips – and each product was then coupled with unique dips."
For processing, the brand has tied hands with Jubilant, which offers ISO-22000 certified production facilities in Greater Noida, Kashipur, Nashik, and Bangalore. Bansal says, "We have strict control over the entire supply chain, sources of procurement, quality control, and hygiene. Jubilant's team is a perfect partner in helping us produce world-class products under standardized conditions."
The brand worked relentlessly last year during the Covid-19 pandemic and successfully brought products to the stores within 9 to 10 months of ideation. Bansal mentions, "When we launched in April 2021, we were at almost 60+ stores within the 1st fortnight. We started getting repeat orders from many retail outlets within the 1st week of products' placement. However, our initial focus is on achieving a minimum threshold of 100+ physical outlets and online presence with Big Basket and others. Unfortunately, while our physical stores have seen great traction, online channels are facing massive congestion and supply chain issues."
Speaking of the expansion and reach, Bansal says, "For the first six months, we plan to be in around 150 retail outlets, and within a year, we are targeting our presence in about ten cities. Entry, penetration, and presence in every city require upfront capital concerning sales and marketing staff and other expenses. Therefore, we are looking at the correct relationship for our growth partners."
According to Bansal, diversification in the HORECA segment was on the cards within the 1st year of operations. However, analyzing the current situation, the brand plans to postpone it for now. On the other hand, the company has plans to enter the export market as well in the second year of operations as it is fully export compliant in ISO-22000 and BRC (British) code certification.