The coronavirus pandemic crisis has highlighted the importance of staying healthy and building immunity to fight microorganisms and diseases. According to a study by Harvard Medical School, plant-based diets provide necessary proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for good health, and are also higher in fibre and phytonutrients.
Akash Zaveri launched Olena in 2018 to help Indians live a healthy life by consuming plant-based diets after he realised the benefits of adopting a completely vegan diet in 2015 while he was working in California.
The Mumbai-headquartered startup produces and sells plant-based supplements and protein powder products across India.
“Olena is a plant-based nutrition brand founded with a vision to awaken the world to the potential of plant-based nutrition. With modern lifestyles and industrialised farming methods, eating high quality, bioavailable foods has become increasingly difficult. Also, finding good products that pack in the benefits of nature has become a challenge in developing countries such as India. We believe that elevating mind, body, and planet are key to living a healthy, happy life and plant-based nutrition is key to achieving this,” Akash told YourStory.
Olena’s vegan supplements
According to the D2C startup, its supplement products include multivitamins, plant proteins, supergreens, vitamins, and antioxidants. The products are shipped across India and can be bought online from Olena’s official website, Amazon, Nykaa, Wellness Forever, Cred, and Nutrabay among others.
Akash says all products have received FSSAI certification and are manufactured using good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards. He adds that ingredients are sourced from across the world to ensure rich quality of products.
“We started sourcing pea protein from France and then chose brown rice protein from the US. We source our ingredients from six to seven countries across the world to ensure that our products are made with ingredients sourced from good suppliers,” he says.
Demystifying the idea that healthy plant foods cannot be delicious, Akash claimed that flavour innovation is the major USP for Olena products.
The startup’s flagship EVOLVE Performance Plant Protein is available in six flavours while its Supergreens and Multivitamins product provides nine organic supergreens and 13 antioxidant superfoods in a flavoured juice.
Business and more
The company says that while ingredients are sourced from across the world, all products are developed in-house. Olena products are priced between Rs 350 and Rs 4,500, depending on the type and pack size. The products are sold directly-to-consumer via Olena’s official website, third-party channels, and retail and international distributors.
Akash claims that Olena has over 20,000 customers as of now. The startup is on track to clock Rs 20 crore revenue this year and claims to be growing 5x year on year.
The bootstrapped startup is also looking to raise funding and partner with people who would align with the startup’s vision
Speaking about the COVID-19 crisis, the founder says the company had to face complexities amidst the pandemic, but it also tapped the opportunity to adapt and innovate. In April, it launched a natural Vitamin C immunity effervescent product.
The founder and CEO says plant-based nutrition is an emerging market in India and Olena competes with notable players such as Oziva and Big Muscle. But he says Olena has an edge because of its flavours and the fact that it provides complimentary diet consultations.
According to a report by ResearchandMarkets, the plant protein market in India stood at $374.1 million in 2018. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.6 percent and become a $565.1 million market by 2023.
“Our primary focus is building our product portfolio in multiple verticals within plant-based nutrition and leveraging interesting delivery formats and flavours. This October, we will launching a host of women’s plant-based wellness products focusing on the theme of beauty inside out,” Akash says.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai
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