Sonali Kocharekar: Ensuring The Amalgamation Of Taste And Nutrition In The Traditional Indian Snack Food Space | CEOInsights Vendor
Sonali Kocharekar: Ensuring The Amalgamation Of Taste And Nutrition In The Traditional Indian Snack Food Space

Sonali Kocharekar: Ensuring The Amalgamation Of Taste And Nutrition In The Traditional Indian Snack Food Space

Sonali Kocharekar,    Founder

Sonali Kocharekar


Rapid digitization, rising consumer health consciousness & the post-pandemic revival in India’s online food services, has created a growing demand for innovative food choices that are not only aligned with modern dietary trends but are also healthy, nutritious, preservative-free, and imbued with immunity boosting super ingredients like Basil (Tulsi), Ginseng (Ashwagandha) & Spirulina. Also, as a part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat program, the government is incentivizing & creating an ecosystem that encourages young entrepreneurs making a foray into the food industry to create Indian companies that can be highly competitive on the global stage. Before embarking on her journey as a full-time entrepreneur and Founder of Appetite Food, Sonali already had as a hobby, curated healthy versions of traditional snack foods, and shared the same with her colleagues, friends and extended family.

The amazing response she received from them, encouraged her to quit her cushy middle management role in the pharma industry to follow her passion and fulfill her dream of starting her own venture in the health food space. After qualifying for seed funding from the state, in the form of a CMEGP Loan, she commenced her journey as a firstgeneration entrepreneur, and despite the hurdles she faced as a single mother & woman entrepreneur, Sonali stood her ground to become an inspiration to many women who are in need of a little nudge to come out of their shells of self-doubt.

Sonali engages in an exclusive interaction with CEO Insights.

What inspired you to establish Appetite Foods and venture into the food industry? Also, what drives you today?
Growing up, I’ve also always been a conscientious eater, and my parents also instilled in me, the role of good health & nutrition in leading a happy and fulfilling life. I discovered my passion for healthy food and nutrition early when I started my professional career about 12 years back and I was always interested in exploring for healthier versions of the oily snacks & unhealthy processed food that were the only options available to me at my workplace. This prompted me to
look at the Indian food industry through the lens of nutrition & I discovered that there was a niche but definite & growing space for healthy food options that do not compromise on nutrition or the taste/ flavors that our Indian palates are familiar with.

While almost all entrepreneurs have risk taking abilities, that may lead them to bite off a little more than they can chew, the successful ones quickly learn how to chew it

After a great deal of thought, I decided to quit my job to follow my passion and plunge myself 100% in starting a venture whose primary aim would be enhancement of overall health and well being through healthy and nutritious food choices, and this ideology drives me even today. We are proud of the fact that not only do our products more than satisfy Indian standards of food and health, but are also gaining widespread acceptance in a marketplace that has not always been ideal for promotion of healthy food options

Define Appetite Food as an organization and its position in the market. What makes it stand out amongst its competitors?
Rapid global urbanization in India has resulted in traditional, largely plant base diets being replaced by processed food diets that are high in sugars, artificial preservatives, and animal fats and low in starches, dietary fiber, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. This nutrition transition in turn has resulted in the rapid rise of obesity, depleted immunity, increase in lifestyle diseases and early onset of chronic diseases/ conditions. APPETITE FOOD basically under stands and addresses these issues, with an approach that differs from the other Food Manufacturing companies.

The right foods promote sattva (purity), detox the body, and rejuvenate it as well, leading to an overall increase in immunity physical/ mental strength, and digestion. To accomplish all of this, instead of indulging in popular & temporary crash diets we advocate consumption of ayurvedic super foods such as ginger, ginseng, gooseberry, turmeric, ghee, basil, spirulina moringa, nutritious whole grains, lentils & nuts/seeds that are an integral part of Appetite Food’s healthy food portfolio.

In summary, we’re able to infuse maximum nutritive value in our product without compromising on taste. We eliminate or minimize use of any ingredients that are artificial
or contain preservatives, but still offer an average shelf life of 3 months for our products, under normal storage conditions. We’re one of the select few brands that have been able to infuse super-ingredients into our product while still maintaining their nutrition benefits, and retaining the great flavors offered by traditional food systems.

What are the challenges you faced while establishing yourself as a first gen entrepreneur? How did you overcome them and what did you learn from them?
We faced several challenges at the initial phase that included, creating awareness, product visibility, managing customer expectations, managing channel expectations, financial management, and hiring the right candidates to execute our vision. We have always tried to communicate with the prospective end consumer that healthy food is not necessarily bland food and can be tasty. Our efficient & highly motivated team, has however been mostly successful in overcoming these challenges, and our success this far has been thanks to their innovative & dedicated approach..

What is the roadmap that you have planned for Appetite Food?
While our current revenues from the B2B business are larger than the B2C or D2C business, we see this changing as we go forward & build/consolidate the Appetite Food BRAND. Geographically we’re currently present primarily in the Mumbai market. Being an on-panel nutritionist for Krishi Dhan – Swami Samarth Math, allows me to engage and address potential audiences in places like Nagpur, Nashik, Satara, Jalgaon, etc., and create avenues to extend our business to these regions. To grow our Brand & our business, we will continue to stay true to our purpose (differentiate), invest in emotional branding (create loyal communities), ensure consistency (for brand recall), maintain versatility (product innovation), and deliver Value (to our customers). We eventually see ourselves reaching a position where, we’ve created a BRAND which consumers shall trust when it comes to nutrition, quality & great taste.

Sonali Kocharekar, Founder
Equipped with a degree in Pharmacy, and as a practicing dietician/nutritionist, Sonali has had more than 12 years of expertise in the pharmaceutical domain as a data research analyst, before transitioning to the food industry as an entrepreneur. Although she’s faced numerous challenges as an entrepreneur and single mother, Sonali owes her success to her patience as well as confidence, and encourages other women entrepreneurs to inculcate the same notions.

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