Only Earth: Disrupting the Plant-Based Food Business Scene

Asmita Mukherjee | Hyderabad

Only Earth is a plant-based milk brand started by Kunal Mutha in Singapore, in 2021 to cater to consumers who have become health-conscious due to the pandemic. Various illnesses and increasing health disorders are also prompting consumers to now shift towards Vegan based products. From a business point of view, it is a great business to be in and offers a significant export opportunity, according to Mutha. Asmita Mukherjee spoke with Mutha to understand their most focused sales channel which is HoReCa.

Elaborating on the inception of Only Earth, Mutha explained that Only Earth was launched to help consumers transition from a diet rich in animal products to a healthier plant-based diet. “3 years ago when I turned Vegan, I was looking for a new business opportunity as my first business got acquired just before the first wave of the pandemic hit the country. After an initial review of the plant-based industry, we found a huge gap in the market as the consumers were not satisfied with the taste profile of the products which the market had to offer. I believe that we got in at the right time with the right set of products.”

Only Earth’s product portfolio includes three types of plant-based milk – Oat Milk, Almond Milk and Coconut Milk. “In addition, we are launching 3 flavoured oat-based drinks in the month of March. Culinary Coconut Milk which is primarily used for cooking is also being launched in the coming months. We are actively exploring the healthy food category for future launches,” informed Mutha.

Mutha added that the pandemic has played a big role in the growth of demand for Vegan products in the country. “Vegan/Plant-based industry has seen explosive growth in the last few years. Covid induced health awareness has accelerated the pace of consumer trials and adoption of vegan products. Over 70 % of industry growth is attributed to Flexitarians who haven’t necessarily turned Vegan but have drastically reduced the intake of Meat and Dairy to live a healthier life,” he added.

The brand has not only received good consumer responses but has also gained B2B tie-ups with some of the elite A-listers in the hospitality industry. Mutha informed, “We supply our products to leading Hotel chains such as Taj, Oberoi, Leela, St. Regis etc. Starbucks, Tim Hortins and many other speciality cafeterias such as Subko, Javaphile use our products.”

Due to this appreciation, the company is now planning to focus on expanding into the HoReCa market.  “HoReCa is one of our most focussed sales channels. We have dedicated sales teams and distributors focussed on the HoReCa channel so that we can capture the demand coming in from leading hotels and cafes across the country. The consumer is actually the one who is driving the demand indirectly by putting forward the demand for Vegan food options on the Menu. The industry is gradually adapting to the changing consumer behaviour for healthier alternatives,” he added.

While speaking about the brand targets, Mutha said that they are aggressively targeting an INR 100 crore business by the end of 2026 with 50+ SKUs. Elaborating on the execution part he said, “Majority of the targeted revenue would come from the Beverage portfolio. We have grown 400% from last financial year and we wish to continue this fast-paced growth to achieve the INR 100 cr mark by rapidly expanding our distribution in the country from the current base of 1500 stores to 6000 stores.”

Within a very short span of time, the company has made its presence in the industry. Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore are the top three performing markets for the brand said Mutha.

While speaking about their expansion plans Mutha added, “When we started we set up the company headquarters in Singapore with an aim to operate in multiple markets including India, Singapore, UAE, UK and USA for which we have already filed for Trademarks. We recently got a breakthrough with our 1st export order. However, we will be an India-focused brand as the long-term opportunity is much larger than any other potential markets we have earmarked so far for growth.”

asmita.mukherjee@saffronsynergies.com

 

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