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How brand Happilo has achieved 4x growth in the Covid era

Founded in the year 2016, health food and gourmet brand Happilo has been offering an exclusive range of nuts, dried fruits, organic seeds, dry roasted snacks, trial mixes, festive gift hampers and more. Happilo is available across all leading modern retail and general trades and is also one of the most popular FMCG brands searched for on e-commerce sites. The brand recently partnered with IPL franchise team Rajasthan Royals as its title sponsor. The deal saw the brand’s logo appear on the front of the Rajasthan Royals’ official playing kit.

Happilo sold more than 20 million packets last year, a testament to its popularity, and is entering the IPL arena with the objective of reaching out to a wider consumer base, both in India and across the world. In fact, Happilo has had associations with multiple sports leagues and its decision to sponsor the inaugural champions of the IPL, the Rajasthan Royals, marks its first foray into IPL.

In conversation with Adgully, Vikas D Nahar, Founder, Happilo International, speaks about how the healthy snacking industry has seen great traction during the pandemic period, the brand’s association with IPL franchise team Rajasthan Royals and much more.

How has the Indian healthy snacking industry evolved in the post-pandemic period?

The coronavirus outbreak has led to an increase in the consumption of healthy snacks such of nuts, dried fruits, fox nuts, protein bars, no maida cookies, etc., as concerns about health and the need for a stronger immunity is high. We see consumers include them in their diet and for mid-meal hunger. Healthy eating has become the norm and customers are more inclined to consume foods that meet progressively nuanced health, wellness and sustainability.

Global market research firms also found that many urban Indians snacked three times a day or more and there is an increasing preference for convenience food items and snacks among the consumers due their busy life style. This, coupled with the lifestyle change, has made people inclined to brands offering products that are nutritious, tasty, and delivered at their doorstep.

These factors have fuelled the growth of the dry-fruit and nuts market.

What is the difference in sales that you have observed pre- and post-pandemic?

Like I mentioned, dry fruits and nuts were not usually seen as the first choice of snacking. They were mostly perceived as a festive food or forced by mothers to consume for good health. With the pandemic, that perception changed and dry-fruits, nuts and many other new snacking options became a part of one’s daily diet. With people confined to their homes and the constant uncertainty allowed the category to expand into the main snacking category. We have grown 4x in the Covid era and this has been the momentum for us to continue to grow.

Could you share more details about the partnership with Rajasthan Royals? How is this partnership mutually beneficial?

We are the title sponsors for the Rajasthan Royals team in this season of IPL. With this sponsorship, we are the first FMCG brand to foray back in the IPL after the lull we saw during the pandemic. The partnership has been great; it helps build a great brand recall. Being a consumer brand, it helps to organically do co-branded partnerships and create content for the consumers. Today, the consumption of content is higher than ever across social media platforms.

Happilo’s growth story demonstrates how the brand has effectively promoted a healthy style among the masses. There are many synergies between Happilo and Rajasthan Royals that enable seamless integration throughout the season and year-round, which is something very important to us in our major partnerships.

What is your marketing strategy for this partnership?

The Rajasthan Royals team acts as our brand ambassador and through this sponsorship, we have been able to grab global eye-balls. We will also launch new range of healthy products honouring the splendid ethos of the team. Apart from the business aspect, we will be creating bespoke content and a TVC, which will be launched across all platforms to highlight this partnership. We are promoting the healthy snacking concept in all marketing communication platforms.

We are one of the largest dry fruit brands and the association with Rajasthan Royals will give Happilo the required share of voice in India’s high-intensity and edge-of-the-seat sporting event. This exciting RR partnership will bring Happilo’s healthy products to millions of fans. Happilo and Rajasthan both stand for Premium and Royal, #Happilove.

How is the brand leveraging digital?

Happilo is one of the most loved healthy snacking brands in India. We have recently launched the D2C vertical to provide the Happilo exotic product range to the consumers. Digital amplification helps the brand in multiplying the growth 4x in the last 3 years. The brand is generating 70% business from the online space, hence ensuring the Happilo products visibility. Continuously working on category keywords is a must-do exercise for us. The brand has presence on all leading marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, Snapdeal, Blinkit, Zepto, Jiomart, Milkbasket, Bigbasket, Cred and any more. Digital space helps brand Happilo not only in drastic expansion of the customer base, but also helps in understanding the customer feedback to refine the products and improve the tastebuds. We have more than 2 million reviews with 4.5 star ratings on Amazon and Flipkart, which helps us in selling more than 20 lakh packs online on a monthly basis.

What are the new launches that you have planned in terms of expansion or growth for 2022?

We have seen tremendous growth in the past few years and we’d like to continue with this momentum of growth. To continue growing in this category, we will be launching new categories of products and also foray into new allied segments. Most importantly, we’d also like to explore new markets outside of India by the end of this calendar year.

For a start, we will be launching healthy snack products based on nuts, starting from Rs 20. This range will include dry fruits bars, flavoured dry fruits, trail mixes, dry roasted peanuts, fox nuts, etc., in different pocket friendly sizes. Apart from this, we will also launch a range of products dedicated to fitness enthusiasts.

Happilo is coming up with Disney Marvel association in exclusive product ranges in the superfood category, to give an exceptional product experience. The brand is aiming to penetrate in more than 50,000+ store in current FY 2022-23. Happilo is also targeting schools, colleges, hotels, restaurants, travel retail, airlines, vending machines, the Metro, Indian Railways and CSD canteens to increase the availability of the Happilo healthy snacks.

All our products are currently available on e-commerce platforms, modern retail and 10,000 general trade stores across India, along with our own website, www.happilo.com.

Where do you see the Indian healthy snacking industry headed?

The changes in habits, such as growing popularity of brown bread, oats for breakfast, etc., and the surging demand for healthy beverages and drinks, particularly in the metro cities – they are all characteristics of the rise and emergence of new-age health-conscious snack lovers. In fact, bars, trail mixes, dry fruits, yogurt, and fresh fruits, too, have found more acceptance and usage among them. Lifestyle change has made people inclined to brands offering products that are nutritious, tasty, and delivered at their doorstep. With consumers becoming more health conscious, the sector has immense potential in this category, especially to make snacking guilt-free.

The love for the Happilo products has seen a phenomenal increase, because they are gluten free, full of antioxidants, zero trans-fat, non-GMO, plant-based protein and no preservatives. The healthy snacking segment will growth 3x in the coming 5 years, based upon the assumption of improvement in quality of lifestyle, per capita income, new emergence of Metros and nuclear family trends.

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