Evolving from mere all-natural fruit snacks to new product lines of indulgent snacks pairing pure chocolate with pure fruit and vacuum-fried vegetables crispies, natural healthy nibbles from fruits and vegetables
Phalyum is a line of tasty and crunchy fruit, veggie snacks and chocolate-covered fruits, developed by Salutaris Food Technologies Pvt Ltd, a Bengaluru-based food start-up. Made with real fruits and vegetables, these snacks have no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
Launched in September 2018, Phalyum aims to offer an alternative to ‘unhealthy snacking habits’. The director and co-founder of Phalyum,
Murari Narayanan is just 28 years old and has in-depth knowledge in food processing technologies and has sheer passion for innovations in F&B. We are publishing an interview of Mr. Murari N.
About the founders
The founding team includes Narayanan S, Raghavan R, Prakrithy N, Akshay Ural and Murari Narayanan, a perfect blend of three young engineers with a background in Chemical, Bio-tech and Computer Engineering and two experienced professionals who have more than 50 years of combined experience.
The idea struck Murari when he was travelling with a couple of friends on a vacation. Once when he was on a road trip with his friends, they realized that they had exhausted all their snacks and fruits. While cribbing about the shelf life of fruits, they laughed it off that it would be great to have packaged fruits that lasted more than a week. The thought lingered on in Murari’s head and evolved into a snack with a difference.
When Murari proposed the idea, the other co-founders were convinced in the viability of the project and this was the beginning of the Phalyum journey. Salutaris Technologies diversified into Salutaris Food Technologies in 2016 to create Phalyum. Salutaris Technologies is a manufacturer and distributor of herbal extracts, neutraceuticals and essential oils that was founded by Prakrithy N in 2007.
S Narayanan is the CEO of the company, while Raghavan R, Prakrithy N, Akshay Ural and Murari Narayanan serve as directors. S Narayanan oversees operations while Murari Narayanan is in-charge of R&D, quality control and production, Prakrithy N oversees manufacturing and Akshay Ural and Raghavan R look after marketing.
Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Ans: The problem with traditionally dried fruits is that the taste is lost in the process. With the superior technologies that we use, Phalyum is able to retain the flavour of the fruit. Also, this helps in creating a product that is consistent in its quality. The Indian food market is gradually catching up with global standards and we want to be a part of the change.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: We feel most healthy snacks available in the market lack flavour and nutritional value. With the cutting-edge technologies we use, we are able to retain the flavour and nutritional value of the fruits and vegetables. This we think is the biggest differentiator for Phalyum. This is the gap in the market that we are trying to fill with the fruits snacks and vegetable crispies.
Chocolate is something that has stayed close to our hearts, no matter how old we grow. The industry has seen a steady growth for more than a decade now. Manufacturers continue to innovate around the flavours and ingredients. We have tried to innovate with Fruit Chocs with a combination of pure chocolate and pure fruit that is not found in the market. These pure chocolate chunks with fruit can be added to waffles, cookies, Ice cream, cakes, pudding and many other food items to make it interesting.
Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: The company is self-funded and with contributions from the co-founders themselves.
Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: What makes Phalyum different from other snacks available in the market is its flavour retention. It is like carrying real fruit in your pocket – real fruit that stays ripe for snacking anywhere, anytime. A portion of Phalyum is equivalent to almost 350-400g of the fruit. FSSAI-approved, these snacks have a good shelf life of 12-18 months for the fruit snacks and six months for chocolates and veggies.
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learnings that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: Professionals who indulge in healthy snacks at work, mothers who are particular about their kids snacking on healthy foods, home bakers and commercial chefs (for garnish, desserts, etc) are our target customers. Ours is both a B2B and a B2C product. Our product is available at super markets in Bengaluru, Chennai and Kochi. Phalyum is also available online on Amazon and Big Basket.
Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??
Ans: I am still in the early part of my entrepreneurial journey. I have not encountered any major failures yet.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? Explain your thought process.
Ans: Phalyum is a premium product. It is priced at Rs 99 for 50g. A portion of Phalyum is equivalent to almost 350-400g of the fruit and hence we have priced it accordingly. With almost 12-18 months for the fruit snacks, the shelf life of Phalyum is an added attraction for consumers.
Q.: How did you get your first customer?
Ans: Our first target was the neighbourhood supermarkets. After we established our presence in the supermarkets, we are now focusing on the online channel to ensure that people can order the product for door delivery.
Q.: Is there any interesting success story? If yes, please write about it. ?
Ans: Phalyim is still in its nascent stages. Any small milestone is an achievement for us. Having ensured our presence in supermarkets across Bengaluru was our first milestone. Extending the brand to Kochi and Chennai was the second one. Availability of the product online is another success.
Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: Our objective is simple. We want to create alternative snacks without artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. We want to place ourselves as a healthy alternative snacking brand that plays with a lot of flavours to offer numerous options to customers.
Our biggest achievement has been our ability to launch something new to the market. The next step for us is to take to our customers. We will do everything possible to ensure that. For instance, we realised that heat can have an impact on these products in the summer. The best example is fruit chocs that can melt. Cold chain logistics will ensure that our products are served to the customer in the quality that we want. So we plan to invest in logistics as well.
Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
Ans: Quality of the product is key to the success of any F&B brand. With Phalyum, there are no two ways about quality. We maintain absolute consistency with our products, while retaining the flavor of the fruits and vegetables we use. We do this by using superior technologies and hence tech has been a major part of our innovation.
Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles – How you see them evolving over time. What would be each of their Skillsets? – Elaborate also if any of the team members has a specific domain expertise.
Ans: The team members include Narayanan S, Raghavan R, Prakrithy N, Akshay Ural and Murari Narayanan.
- S Narayanan, CEO: He has 35 years of experience in the field of networking. He has finance management experience, running a successful Public Ltd company.
- Prakrithy N, Director: Specialized in Bio-tech Engineering, she also runs a herbal-based product company in Mysore.
- Murari N, Director: Specialized in Chemical Engg, Murari Narayanan, running an Herbal based Products Company at Mysore, is one of the men behind Phalyum. Although Murari is just 28 years old, his in-depth knowledge in food processing technologies and sheer passion for innovations in F&B motivated him to choose the path of entrepreneurship. Murari’s chemical engineering background helped him in understanding and developing Phalyum. The idea of combining food and technology is something that excites him the most. An eye for details and bringing in continuous improvements in technology with his thorough knowledge in Continuous Improvement Programme are some of Murari’s traits that help him succeed in the business.
- Akshay Ural, Director: Specialized in Computer Engineering, he has vast experience in the areas of marketing.
- Raghavan R, Director: An alumni of BITS Pilani and an MBA from Mumbai University, Raghavan has more than 25 years of experience in software and successfully ran a software company.
Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans: At present we do not see any competition for our products.
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Ans: Phalyum is available at more than 200 stores across Bangalore, Kochi and Chennai. We slowly planning to expand to Mumbai and Pune in the next six months. Phalyum also aims to add new range of innovative products.
Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: Entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted. While it is exciting at so many levels, it involves a lot of hard work. You have to be passionate and patient to take it forward.
Thanks Murari. Best wishes.