If you are a foodie and your love for food can only be expressed by your facial expressions and not words, then I would like to board the same bus and go for a food run with you. From healthy snacks to comfort food, the universe of food is enormous, and we haven’t even explored 10% of it. Imagine a mountain that is made up of all the food items that are available in the whole world, now that’s a mountain that I would climb (if it’s possible). The thought of food brings a huge smile on everyone’s face, and your comfort food is like a warm hug from your favorite person during tough times.
However, excess of everything is terrible, and if your love for food keeps growing, then it can cause harmful effects on your health as well. None of us want to be in a toxic relationship, especially with food. This is the thought that one person followed and decided to bring a change in the market of snacks. Vijay Katta chose to break the notion of “healthy food can’t be tasty” with his startup, Omay Foods.
Combining guilt-free snacking with health benefits and flavors was a tough task, but Vijay was determined to bring this change in the food market. Vijay used to travel often for business purposes, and this included leaving home early in the morning and board the flight/train and travel cities and come back at night. This hectic life was fun in the beginning, and food at airport lounges was supporting him, but then he started taking food with him because after trying the whole menu, you do get bored. He would see his colleagues chopping fruits and veggies during office hours in the evening so that they could avoid eating junk, and that’s when he decided to introduce healthy ready-to-eat snacks. His quest included finding the right choice of food items so that people could eat guilt-free snacks while on the move, and this gave birth to Omay Foods.
Life of Vijay Katta before Omay Foods
Born and brought up in Jaipur, Rajasthan, Vijay Katta has been a brilliant student from the beginning, and this can be seen in his academics and professional life. After completing his education from Seeding Public School, he went to Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University to complete his Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com). Previously he has worked with a fast-paced Indian startup ecosystem with companies like NASSCOM, 10000 Startups, Uber, Hellow English ( by Culture Alley) in the department of sales, marketing, business development, and other roles.
Talking about his childhood, Vijay told TimesNext that since childhood, he was interested in the food industry, and he was fascinated to see how the industry worked. He was a huge fan of the famous show of Discovery Channel, “The Food Factory.” Little did he knew that his childhood fascination would one day change into a full-time business for the future years of his life.
Coming from a family in Rajasthan whose three generations has been working in the FMCG industry, Vijay is proud of his company, Omay Foods.
The healthy snacking partner – Omay Foods
Launched in 2018, Omay Foods is a line of branded packaged foods that are bringing guilt-free snacking together with the concept of living a healthy lifestyle. These ready-to-eat snacks are prepared by the roasting process where the ingredients are roasted in rock salt without any oil, butter, or other lucrative substance. The snacks made by Omay Foods are oil-free, sugar-free, and only natural ingredients are used in the preparation of the snacks.
The company has a wide range of snacks that are available on the platform from western seeds, berries, oats based trail mixes to Indian savories like Beaten Chana, soybeans, potato flakes, moong daal, navratan mix, and other mixes. The target audience for the brand is the urban population from all the age-groups that are looking for healthy alternatives for the odd-hour snacks to satisfy the sudden hunger burst that leads to mindless munching.
The tough run towards healthy snacking
Talking to TimesNext, Vijay told us that as he is still in his 20s and filled with passion for food, building the right team for the startup with the required experience and zeal to run a brand is as important as getting the funding for the brand. The whole process is carried out in the factory, right from roasting to preparing the seasonings to packaging. The task is carried out by 20+ workers, and managing so many people is a task that needs patience.
Running a bootstrapped startup in a fast-moving FMCG market is a challenge on its own. With limited resources, one can infuse into marketing the brand in the offline market space. With the right strategy and out of the box, thinking has helped us reach out to more than 100+ best gourmet stores that would market Omay Foods in their shops. Omay Foods has also moved online, which allows people from all over the world to buy products.
A healthy collaboration
Omay Foods have made their presence online with an online store as well as they have teamed up with major e-commerce platforms. To expand their market, they have also teamed up with brands like Eat.fit, Swiggy, Asian Hospitals, and many more establishing trusted networks.
The consistent communication and meaningful content around the overall health and wellness subjects have helped them collaborate with TV actors and social media influencers who helped them in promoting Omay Foods amongst millions of followers.
The first milestone for the brand
Vijay has been in love with food since childhood, and the brand is like a baby for him, so he has an emotional connection with it. Before the number of sales, the stories they create on the journey is what matters to him. According to him, the first milestone for him was when a customer suggested these snacks for her father, who was suffering from cancer. A team of doctors and food experts helped them recommend the products that would be the best for him.
The reviews were heartwarming for Vijay as the client and her father both were happy that the snacks were back in his life, and he could enjoy them despite under strong medication. Talking about numbers, he mentions that the first milestone for them would be when they completed the first 100 orders on the website as it was a challenging task for them.
The growth of the company
Launched in April 2018, the company has moved from just a few orders per month to selling almost 80,000+ units every month. The brand has served lakhs of units to people, which explains how India is moving towards healthy snacks and liking their products. In more than a year, the startup has turned into a profit-making business that has crossed INR 1.5 crore in revenue.
Working with brands like Eat.fit, Swiggy, and a lot of other SMEs have helped them grow as they consume snacks in various ways like subscriptions, retailing to employees for corporate giftings. Starting as a manually-driven unit, they are planning to expand their production capacity and move towards a scalable, automated production.
Vijay’s Vision for Omay Foods
Omay Foods is a company that is moving in the direction of changing the market for snacks and Vijay’s vision for the company is to take over the fried snacks (namkeen, bhujia, etc.) market and replace it with their healthy snacks.