Kolkata based women entrepreneur Devanshi Somany launched Foodstree on 6 Feb 2017 as a one stop destination for every foodie’s culinary needs and adventures. It is an online curated marketplace that retails the best artisanal food products sourced from small manufacturers all over the country. In a conversation with Startup Simba Devanshi shared her idea behind starting Foodstree, future strategies and more…
What is the idea behind your startup? What is unique about your Startup? What lead to the formation?
Foodstree is a one stop destination for every foodie’s culinary needs and adventures. It is an online curated marketplace that retails the best artisanal food products sourced from small manufacturers all over the country. We specialize in products that are made fresh, in small batches, using local or unique ingredients in the most sustainable and additive-free manner possible. Foodstree now has over 80 vendors and 1000+ hand-picked products spanning a range of categories – including super foods, healthy snacks, daily staples, alternate diet foods as well as difficult-to-find niche products.
The main driving force behind Foodstree was to provide a platform for customers to discover the large number of food entrepreneurs who were producing unique, great products but were only popular in their local areas and unheard of on a national scale.
It was a win-win proposition – promoting the makers as well as bringing variety and ease to consumers.
There is a general perception that the range and quality of food products within India is sub-par compared to abroad – this is something we disagreed with and wanted to change by bringing to the forefront these smaller artisanal manufacturers. There was no dearth of products, simply a lack of visibility and awareness – which is where we decided to step in.
Please tell us about the founders and core team members.
What is the problem you are trying to solve? How are you trying to solve the problem? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem and your startup can solve the problem?
The foremost way Foodstree helps bring about change is by promoting small producers and cottage industries. Supporting these local manufacturers and their sustainable methods is key to a thriving Indian artisanal food scene and is beneficial not only to the economy but environment as well.
The second change is by transforming what we, as a society, eat. Mass-produced, unhealthy options have overrun markets. By facilitating easy access to high quality products and bringing visibility to healthier home-grown alternatives we aim to help build a culture of being more aware about food and eating better
What are the major challenges you faced while launching the startup? What is the success story of your startup in your own words?
One of the biggest challenges has been overcoming the ‘discount culture’ that is prevalent in Indian e-commerce. Due to the nature of our products, and our goal to support our vendors, we aren’t able to offer the 50% off prices that consumers have become accustomed to. We are combatting this by spreading awareness about the sustainable and socially responsible sourcing of our goods, so customers understand the reason behind our regular pricing and why we are able to give only minor discounts.
“The foremost way Foodstree helps bring about change is by promoting small producers and cottage industries. Supporting these local manufacturers and their sustainable methods is key to a thriving Indian artisanal food scene and is beneficial not only to the economy but environment as well.”
How has been the journey so far? How tough has been the competition?
We have received an enthusiastic response from our home town of Kolkata, and have been exponentially growing our vendor and customer base through social media and word-of-mouth. While there are various competitors like Amazon, Qtrove and the like, we are confident that our USP of being a sustainable, food-only haven is sure to help us stand out.
What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how?
Food has always been viewed as more of a necessity than an informed choice, for very long in India. But as there is more awareness regarding eating well and alternatives to mass-produced items the Indian consumer is opening up to the concept that “you are what you eat” and is looking are options other than their local ‘kirana’ store. This is where we come in – both by providing an easy way to access artisanal, natural options as well becoming a platform for discovery of the same. As India awakens to a new way to eating, we aim to become the one-stop store for all its culinary needs.
Where do you want to see your startup 2 years from now?1 response
Grow, grow and grow! As the average consumer grows more conscious, informed and careful in picking their food choices, Foodstree aims to become a haven for the discerning foodie
What is your plan or strategy to sustain in the long run?
We have a three pronged strategy:
Any other information about your startup that you would like to share with us.
We are firm believers that good food brings people together, and that no one should be excluded! Whatever you’re looking for, be it gluten-free to heart-healthy – we at Foodstree have a unique tagging system where you can sort products based on your needs, diet and budget, so you can see exactly what suits you without any effort. We are constantly onboarding new vendors.
We also home deliver all over India, with multiple payment options (COD for the win).You can make your selection, choose from various logistics options, then sit back and relax. Foodstree will take care of getting your cravings directly to your doorstep.
We are currently self-funded, but will be looking for investments in the forthcoming future.
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