Interview with Sattvic Innovation’s Jeetu Melwani

The health food industry is on the rise in India right now. With food production and consumption patterns undergoing major shifts all throughout the world, healthy and organic and the new keywords in the packaged food industry.

Although many packaged food producers such as Nestle and Brittania have started branding and manufacturing their products to fit the health food category, there still isn’t a primary key player in the market. This means that there is still room for a first mover advantage. Goa’s own Sattvic Innovations has just taken a leap into the scene and the future looks bright. Competing with brands such as Nutrichoice and Ritebite, Sattvic is all set to make a mark in the industry.

We sat down with the brain behind Sattvic Innovations, Jeetu Melwani and asked him a few questions recently. Jeetu is a globetrotter in his own right, who finally decided to settle down in his ancestral home in Goa and create Sattvic, combining his two passions – healthy diet and business. Let’s take a look at the conversation.

1. How did Sattvic Innovations begin?

After I ended my consulting career in the USA, I left for S. America in 2012, where I was in an Incubator programme called Startup Chile. During my time in Chile I started two tech startups and also ventured into Healthy snacks because I missed Granolas and other healthy snacks I used to get in the USA. The Healthy snacks business took off at a rapid pace and shortly I was convinced that this was the way to go. I did this under the brand name Nutrivo and our first few products included Granolas, Baked Nut mixes and energy bars. I left Chile eight months after completion of the incubator program and decided to move back home to Goa. After I came back I decided to expand on the success of the health foods and bring a similar concept to India, In May 2014 Sattvic Foods was born.

2. How did you decide to enter the (offline) health food industry after having a successful career in the IT consultancy sector?

Technology is a great line, but there is tremendous competition worldwide and also the inability to secure your IP through patents. Also Goa I believe still doesn’t have the right infrastructure to support tech startups (particularly poor domestic Internet). The ecosystem is not very strong (I know some existing companies will beg to differ, but I hold my ground) and does not compare to Mumbai or Bangalore and it is rare that you will hear of a heavily funded tech startup.

So once I had decided to move back to Goa, I wanted to start a business that would scale through the country and internationally. I felt healthy snacks would be the best choice for Goa to showcase our products and for us to leverage the traffic through Goa.

3. Do you have any co-founders? If so, how did you find them?

No, I am solo in this ventures but am open for people with a similar mission to join me.

4. What products do you currently have in the market and what do you plan on rolling out in the near future?

I currently offer my favourite product Granola (made from Oats, nuts and dry fruits) in three unique and interesting flavours. I also have several snacks from seeds such as sunflower, watermelon, lotus and pumpkin seeds. Additionally I repackage premium domestic supply of rolled oats, raw honey, cold pressed oils, seeds, nuts, dry fruits, etc. In the future you can expect protein based products, diabetic friendly chocolates and plenty more snacks.

5. What made you settle on Goa as a base for your startup?

Goa is home and has been for our family since 1909, when I decided to stop traveling and settle down with my own business I simply couldn’t think of any place else.

6. Which future markets do you envision Sattvic tapping?

Metro cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore to begin with and then grow throughout the country.

7. What are your eCommerce plans for Sattvic?

Potentially tying up with Healthkart, Flipkart, Amazon and a few others to offer our products to begin with. Eventually once we have enough products to offer online ordering and fulfilment through our own site.