The organic way of life
Briefly describe your company and its business operations. What was the idea behind setting up your own shops?
Being a mountaineer and an avid traveller, I have come across a number of people occupied in the agricultural industry growing the most salubrious produce in multiple regions of the country. Even subconciously, I have noticed a large majority of farmers practising organic methods of growing and organic cultivation. My inspiration to open an allorganic neighborhood grocery store in the heart of a metropolitan city stemmed from the idea of localizing the tradition of organic living in city dwellers.
Tell us about the product range at your store across various categories.
As a full-fledged retail outlet, we cover a number of conventional categories that are important to today’s buyer. The idea is to provide fresh organic produce to consumers looking to buy healthy items for everyday use. The product range includes organic fruits and vegetables, superfoods such as brazil nuts, cacao nibs and goji berries, staple dairy and grocery items and organic meat including turkey, prawns and duck, apart from other staple meats. Nature’s Soul is an organic and sustainable grocery outlet that caters to consumers who are looking to incorporate healthy buying habits into their lifestyle. With an extensive product range consisting of gluten-free and vegan variants, the enterprise aims to bring back traditional and chemicalfree methods of farming. Founder and Director Arjun Sahni speaks to Nimisha Gautam of Progressive Grocer about modern purchasing trends in organic and his outlet’s sourcing strategy.
Who are your major clients and what demographics do you target?
We see an equal mix of Indian families and foreign nationals shopping at our store. Our most loyal customers include those who are organic and responsible consumers looking for the right price and the best quality in the organic market.
Which are the best-selling products in your portfolio?
The maximum contribution comes from fresh fruits and vegetables. Even as we see a rise in consumerism and the popularity of processed, ready-made consumables, nothing can replace wholesome vegetable laden meals rich in vitamin. It also helps that a number of consumers now think of fruit as a healthy snack.
Consumers now have enough information on chemicals, additives and insecticides/ pesticides used in growing to make an informed buying choice. — Arjun Sahni Founder and Director, Nature’s Soul
How have the company and its products grown and evolved over the years?
Even though the company is a year old, there is a huge potential we are yet to tap into. We have tried including the best, most healthful products in our offerings. A customer can stop by at our store to pick up basic everyday items as well as exotic and
unconventional goods belonging to the organic foods segment. We also offer instant delivery and are focused on satisfactory customer service.
What have been the consumption trends for these products and what is driving their growth?
The consumption of organic products is drastically increasing in the Indian market. We have already seen an influx of locally grown, organic concepts in the Western grocery landscape and we too are moving in that direction. Food safety concerns are discussed openly and a lot more people are conscious of the quality of food they’re consuming. Consumers now have enough information on chemicals additives and insecticides/pesticides used in growing to make an informed buying choice. Health problems are also on the rise in addition to lifestyle-related ailments caused by unhealthy eating. In my opinion, the tendency of the modern consumer to eat organic is a driving force.
What is the sourcing strategy for your products?
We only source from growers who adopt ethical standards in the farming industry and are committed to supplying all-natural produce with no traces of chemicals. We source our products at a price that enables them to be consumed by the masses at a reasonable market rate.
Are there any interesting concepts or innovations you have introduced at your stores?
There is a growing demand for gluten free and vegan products as consumer awareness and product specializations increase. However, there are a limited number of local retail stores that these product variants are available at. We understand the growing need of the consumer and offer a multifarious product line of such products. In addition to the introductions made to the product line, we have also contracted some land to grow our own organic produce on.
To procure fresh produce, we visit farms personally to inspect the entire cultivation process before we set up a supply chain.
What are your criteria for identifying new products and categories and your benchmarks for tying up with new vendors and suppliers?
We primarily look for certified goods matching our quality and hygiene benchmarks when it comes to packaged items. To procure fresh produce, we visit farms personally to inspect the farming methods employed and the entire cultivation process before we set up a supply chain.
What is your expansion strategy and what does the roadmap for the future look like?
The future of retail lies in making use of omnichannel mediums and strategies. We are looking to employ the same agenda in our business plan as well. We are also looking to foray into online retail, increase customer outreach and supply our organic products on a hyperlocal scale.