Phalada Pure and Sure sells more than 160 different organic products including snacks, chocolates, and spreads and has presence in 22 cities across India.
The organic food market in India has evolved rapidly over the last few years. With growing urbanization across the country, and people becoming more aware of what they consume, more and more companies have come up in the vertical with existing, established brands also making an entry.
Phalada Pure and Sure, an offshoot of Phalada Agro Research Foundation, was established in 2011 with second generation entrepreneur Surya Shastry taking charge of what has quietly expanded its presence in 22 cities across the domestic market.
Shastry, managing director of Pure and Sure, was asked to initially test the waters by his father, C.M. Narayana Shastry, who founded the organization in 1999 with an investment of INR 30 lakh.
The younger Shastry hasn’t looked back since. The brand currently sells more than 160 different products including snacks, chocolates, and spreads.
For the father, the journey started with selling organic fertilizers, pesticides and the likes to farmers. Although he had a leather business which required him to travel abroad, he always wanted to do something in farming, according to Surya.
The older Shastry’s father was a farmer and “he always had this liking and wanted to kind of look at this as an opportunity at some point in his life”, said Surya.
But the organic farming model wasn’t quite popular in India back then. So when Surya’s father travelled abroad and found that there was a market for such products there, he decided to work with farmers, getting their farm certified among other things, and started selling those into Europe. Today, the company works with 2,500 farmers and exports its products to 25 countries.
Surya joined the business in 2008 and that was when some focus shifted to the still nascent but steadily growing domestic market.
“The biggest challenge that the industry was facing domestically was that there was no government regulation in place to monitor the sales of organic produce domestically,” said Surya.
With the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India coming up with a standard framework one-and-a-half years back, Surya said the industry had benefited a lot.
However, there is still a trust factor that comes into play. “I feel that with the regulation coming in now, it can address that issue to a large extent, but then again, there should be a lot of awareness programmes that need to be done for people to understand what the logo means.”
On pricing, Surya said the government’s push for more farmers to get into organic farming with subsidies in place had worked in bringing some parity compared with conventional products at the farm gate level.
He added that retailers giving more shelf space to organic products and the advent of e-commerce giants such as Flipkart and Amazon had also helped bring the prices down.
While agreeing that the average Indian consumer is still quite price conscious, Surya said the company had observed people making a conscious decision of switching to organic, choosing health over paying slightly less for a conventional product.
Pure and Sure last year opened its first retail outlet in Bengaluru, with a store-cum-cafe model where customers can choose to experience fresh food being prepared from the brand’s products.
Having already launched a second such outlet, Shastry said they now plan to have anywhere between three and five outlets in the city by the end of 2020.
In terms of revenue, the company has seen a growth of 35-50 per cent for the Pure and Sure brand in the last three years and expects a similar trajectory going forward as well.
While they are in early talks for international expansion of the brand as well, Surya said he expects Pure and Sure to be an INR 100 crore turnover brand by 2021.