Being friends since high school, Mr. Anish Rauniyar and Ms. Akanchha Joshi took separate paths in different countries for their college degrees. However, the recent pandemic and their experiences with 9 to 5 jobs, brought the two friends together to explore a unique idea in the Nepali market. The concept of healthy snacking is quite challenging in an economy where the majority of people snack on instant noodles from early childhood. Nevertheless, with the aim to raise awareness of healthy alternatives and bridge the gap in the market, SnackOn Granola Bars was established in February 2021. Read our conversation with the two founders below!
Tell me about your motivation to start your own enterprise.
We have both gained experience working in a 9 to 5 job. We realized that we want to create something ourselves. Even though it may not be a big idea, we wanted to challenge ourselves and bring something new to the Nepali market.
How did this concept come about?
Nepal is a tourism-based economy. Through our initial research, we realized that although we promote tourism, we have limited high-quality healthy snacking options in our country. It forces the tourists to bring their own snacks as they cannot find alternatives at ease in Nepal. This led us to explore this market and conclude that we aren’t providing a holistic experience for tourists if they cannot find basic foods for their travel and trek plans.
Additionally, our idea also stemmed from the concept of healthier alternatives to local people. We have been brought up with instant noodles and biscuits as our main snacks; hence, we wanted to introduce other snacking options which provide better health benefits to the local consumers.
Can you tell me more about the company?
The concept of SnackOn started with the initial idea to make such healthy snacks rich in nutrients in Nepal. But, with the market assessment and available resources, we soon realized that our emphasis will be on the best quality products for our consumers which is at par with any foreign brand. For our basic ingredients like rolled oats and almonds, we couldn’t find good organic produces in Nepal; hence, we import most of our raw materials from India. It was disappointing to not use local produces, but a majority of our ingredients available in the Nepali market were also imported. The final production and packaging are done in Nepal. Our product is free from any preservatives and added sugar. The shelf life is about 3 months.
Right now, people have appreciated the quality of our products and there have been higher market awareness now regarding such snacking alternatives among local people.
What are the products currently being offered?
We currently have three different granola bars. The first one is Cocoberry Therapy which has dark chocolate; the second is Peanutberry Party with peanut butter and the third is Trekker’s Paradise. All of our products have rolled oats, almonds, jaggery, and honey as basic ingredients. Currently, our bars are priced at NRs. 100.
Who are your allies in running the business?
We are the founders of the company. We have an additional three staffs to run the operations. We also have placements in fitness centers and gyms. However, we don’t have any partnerships with other businesses at the moment.
Who is your target market?
We see different types of consumers for our product. Our products are predominantly targeted to fitness enthusiasts and people who like physical activities such as hiking, trekking, and cycling. Additionally, as we are based online, we are also targeting people who are intrigued by new concepts.
When we initially planned our products, we have imagined the target market to be between 18 to 35 years old. However, we have received demands from different age groups and people who want to explore healthy snack options.
What are the main challenges in starting this venture?
The major challenge was the pandemic and the inflexibility created by it. We had to be careful about the health of friends and family over the expansion of the business. There were several delays that led to goals being pushed back. It was a challenge for a new business to set the groundwork and expand due to COVID. In addition, the decision about procuring raw materials from another country was also challenging. It took a lot of planning.
Where can the customers find your products?
We currently take orders from Instagram and Facebook. We are also available in different gyms and fitness centers like Jasmine Fitness, Workout Station, and Divine Fitness. In terms of retail stores, we are available in Ratnapark Pau Bhandar and Every Mart in Gwarko.
How has this entrepreneurial journey been so far for you?
Akanchha: Nothing is like a straight line in life. There is always ups and downs that happen. Establishing my own company, I now feel that if I was able to do that, I can take up any other challenges. It has definitely been a confidence booster. There is also an additional sense of responsibility that comes with it. Overall, there has been positive growth both personally and professionally.
Anish: Since it is a newer concept to the Nepali market, it has been an exciting experience to tackle the challenges. It also allowed us to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses which we didn’t realize before. It has been rewarding to see people enjoy and appreciate our products.
Is there any additional suggestion you would like to give to other emerging entrepreneurs?
If you have a passion for something, you should just go for it. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to start. You might start finding several reasons why it might not work. Although you will find reasons such as market, capital, etc. as major issues, they are all secondary. You will learn and tackle challenges as you go. The most important aspect is to avoid the delay and get started.
COVID has taught us to live in the moment. It doesn’t have to be big. It is better to avoid the regret that someone else came up with the same idea in the market. The execution matters more than exhausting oneself to come up with a big plan. Just follow your passion and you will make it.
Want to try yummy bars without feeling guilty about your health and diet, order SnackOn now!