We are living in a time where unhealthy lifestyle and food choices are easy to succumb to. Consumers are exposed to unhealthy food and harmful substances, if not willingly through unhealthy choices, then unknowingly through adulteration in food products, especially in a huge market like India. Add to this problems such as pollution and stress-related lifestyle diseases, you can see why fatal diseases are on the rise today.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified non-communicable diseases — including diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases — as one of the ten threats to global health in 2019. The major factors attributed to the rise of these are the increase in the use of tobacco, lack of physical fitness, abuse of alcohol and other substances, unhealthy diets and increased air pollution. These diseases are collectively responsible for over 70% of all deaths globally.
Such threats have, in turn, led to the inception of several startups working to meet the goals of the WHO and the United Nations (UN). In India, most startups are focusing on providing fitness or workout solutions for weight loss, providing nutrition tips and recipes, but there are also some that are trying to bring all-natural, ayurvedic alternatives to Indians to enable healthier living. Mumbai-based Kapiva is doing exactly that with its range of products developed on the principles of ayurveda.
Kapiva was founded in 2015 by Ameve Sharma, who was later joined by Shrey Badhani as a cofounder, owing to the major role that ayurveda has played in both their lives. While Badhani got introduced to it owing to chronic health issues since the age of four, Sharma is the scion of the 100-year old Baidyanath Group, a renowned company in the ayurveda space. Kapiva’s vision is to not only to provide ayurveda-based nutrition products, but also to bring balance into consumers’ lives through these products.
Kapiva Believes Ayurveda To Be The “Mother Of All Healing”
The name Kapiva is derived from the three doshas or faults in the human body according to the principles of ayurveda – Kapha, Pitta, Vata. When these doshas are in a balanced state in the body, it results in holistic health and wellness for an individual. “People see ayurveda as a curative solution, but in reality, it is more about keeping the body in balance,” says Sharma.
The startup aims to provide a healthy alternative to all people’s needs, be it through food or beauty products. With manufacturing in Jodhpur and Kolkata, Kapiva sources ingredients for its products from various locations, depending on the product itself.
It focuses mainly on the metro or Tier 1 cities in India for sales, which have a higher incidence of ailments from air pollution and adulteration. Kapiva products appeal most to those who take pride in the Indian traditions of food and wellness, and are willing to experiment with products that are natural or sourced in line with ayurvedic principles.
There are a lot of names in the market for natural ayurvedic products and all of them claim to have the most authentic products. There is, thus, a lot of confusion among consumers as to which products are best suited for them.
Kapiva sets itself apart due to the unique sourcing and manufacturing story of all its products. Its links to Baidyanath Group have ensured that it has access to the best farm produce and organic ingredients. Its main focus is on quality control and sustainability. Its strategy for the former is manufacturing products in small batches, while it ensures sustainability by tying up directly with small farmers and offering good credit terms.
“In our entrepreneurial journey so far we have learnt that having the right team with the right focus is very crucial. We have consistency in our execution, and our customers admire that Kapiva’s focus on purity and quality in sourcing of ingredients has not deterred at all,” Badhani adds.
The Industry Landscape
With growing urbanisation and changing lifestyle, the ayurvedic market in India is already seeing a lot of growth and investment opportunities. This segment is poised to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of around 16% over the next decade. With the market for pure, natural products expanding rapidly, a lot of startups have started entering this space, such as The Ayurveda Experience, The Vaidya’s etc. Then there are of course giants such as Dabur, Patanjali, Himalaya, and Sri Sri.
Having a strong customer base not just in India, but overseas as well, Kapiva too has become a popular brand both online and in the modern trade.
To be up to par with the market’s growth, Kapiva follows an omnichannel sales strategy with its products available in over 2000 outlets in 10 cities. It also has a very strong presence online through its own website and marketplaces such as Amazon, Big Basket, 1mg, Medlife, Q-Trove and others. The startup is further working on expanding its distribution through all channels is a challenge which Kapiva is still working on.
“In today’s world when fake claims are put forward so easily, customers take comfort in Kapiva’s strong quality practices and rich heritage. People are willing to pay a premium to ensure that their family consumes only natural and authentic products,” explains Sharma.
Need Of The Hour: Health And Care
Nutrition and organic products seem to be the need of the hour for the ailing population in the urban context. Kapiva is aiding this section of the population and has seen great response so far. Kapiva has more than 500K customers since its launch and is seeing a good traction from both India and international geographies. Taking the baton of health even further, Kapiva wishes to expand to the Canadian and European markets in the coming months.
Major health issues such as malnutrition as well as obesity in India are a result of unhealthy eating habits, reliance of junk food in cities, and the image of healthy food as being plain and under-seasoned. It is also one of the major contributors to growth stunting, cardiovascular issues, anaemia in women of reproductive age, etc. There are various organisations and publications that are trying to warn us regarding pollution and unhealthy lifestyle being a major threat to us.
According to UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, in 2017 alone, more than 600 Mn people were classed as obese. Air pollution is also a grave environmental risk to health in 2019, by the WHO, killing 7 Mn people prematurely every year from diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart and lung disease.
The distinguished medical journal ‘The Lancet’ has also issued warnings regarding the food more urban residents are eating. According to the journal, the modern western diet is highly damaging and the report suggests a complete removal to save humans from potential ecological and epidemiological catastrophe.
Kapiva was a gifting partner at Inc42’s tech event — Pulse42.