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By TPCI | August 20, 2019

The ubiquitous mania for healthy making and healthy eating has become the cornerstone of the global food sector today. Where long-time giants in the sector are switching their interests to organic and are caring much more for nutrition in food, the nascent players are also taking a plunge with new innovations in the health-food domain.

IPSO Agro Foods, under Gold Star Trade Link, is one such Indian start-up, which is reshaping the conventional food that we eat.

Talking about the company’s hot selling products and her plans for expansion, Ms. Shobha Prasad, Director and COO, Gold Star Trade Links and IPSO Agro Foods, conversed exclusively with IndusFood. Here are a few excerpts from the interview.

Q1. What triggered the idea of IPSO Agro Foods?
Shobha Prasad: We started our operations 6 years back under GOLD STAR TRADE LINKS when we ventured into personal hygiene products especially for ladies. Meanwhile health concerns borne by packed foods constantly kept nagging us. One of the biggest segments in packed foods, which is prone to health hazards is chips and snacks. People are in the habit of munching and they love it. We thought why not replace the snacks with healthy stuffs which taste similar and still remain healthy.

Globally oats, flax seeds, quinoas are considered super foods for their health benefits. We use these healthy ingredients in our super-food chips, Nutri Sense, manufactured by IPSO Agro Foods.

Q2. There are a lot of super-food chips available in the market. How is Nutri Sense unique?
SP: In different parts of the world, you will find oats or quinoa chips. So a logical question is how we are different. Most of them contain a small percentage of oats, but in our case, it’s between 45-55% depending on the product. It’s roasted and the oil percentage is less than 9%. Further we have not added any preservatives, additives or colours. We have tried to be natural. So practically you are eating oats or flax seeds. In fact, due to the health aspects attached to the product, we have named it as Nutri Sense.

Q3. What is your current market reach and plans for expansion of the business?
SP: We are a startup with an aim to reach out to consumers with healthy products. We did sampling of our products in USA, Canada, Singapore, Australia, and Germany other than in India. We have received tremendous positive response. All have liked the product as well as the concept. Further, we are expected to ship our goods to Australia and Canada very soon. We have a lot more health-based products in the pipeline. Owing to this fact, we decided to have our food business separate from our basic business. Thus, we have set up IPSO Agro Foods, which will handle our food business under Gold Star Trade Link.

Q4. What are your main product lines and target markets? Please highlight your USPs.
SP: As I mentioned, we have ideated a range of super-food chips and snacks named “Nutri Sense”. These nutritious chips offer you a healthy amalgamation of super-foods such as oats, flax seeds, and quinoas with a tinge of subtle salty savour.

We came up with Nutri Sense owing to the fact that people have a general longing for munching some titbits during their snack time. One’s hunger can be satiated by Nutri Sense’s super-food chips which are salubrious yet delectable. Thus, through Nutri Sense, we make those snacky shots a healthy affair all-together.

We are targeting USA, Canada, Germany, France, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, South Korea and UAE. Ours is a premium product, so we are targeting developed countries where people are looking for healthier products and at the same time are willing to spend.

Q5. Have you participated in IndusFood earlier? Please share your experience.
SP: No, I have not participated but heard a lot about IndusFood from friends who have visited the fair earlier. IndusFood is really a very good platform. As an enterprising exporter, one can’t ask for more. One gets targeted buyers at a single platform and that too back at home. Even the cost is much lower than participating at an exhibition overseas. I feel that the pre-arranged B2B meetings are an added advantage.

Q6. What is your take on IndusFood launching Indus Food-Tech and Indus Food-Chem as brand extensions? How will they help the industry?
SP: Definitely it’s going to help the industry. Focus always helps to standout. It would be great to find equipment and food ingredient suppliers at one place. Even people like us are always looking for better ingredients and equipment to make production easy and faster.

Q7. How do you see the food and agro processing industry growth in the current economic scenario?
SP: Food is the most basic product and it’s based on agriculture and food processing sectors. In terms of sheer volume, food exports bring in huge economic value to the sector and generate employment for millions, apart from supporting the farmers. Also, with increasing population, the food processing industry is set to grow. Moreover, the food sector is driven by a bigger factor, which is the basic needs of humans. This renders the industry with another important role to be fulfilled. It is the responsibility of ensuring healthy foods to the masses, apart from creating financial traction in the trade market.

Also, its (India’s) contribution to world food trade is only increasing every year. In fact, the food sector in the country has emerged as a high-growth and high-profit sector due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry.

Ms. Shobha Prasad is a graduate in Home Science and has been involved in the business of IPSO Agro Foods for the last few years as a Partner and founding member. She has been taking care of end-to-end roduction and packaging of the products.