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Can A D2C Brand Be Retail-First? How Forbidden Foods Is Playing The New-Age FMCG Game

Can A D2C Brand Be Retail-First? How Forbidden Foods Is Playing The New-Age FMCG Game

Gurugram-primarily based Forbidden Foods is stated to be pioneering ‘Popped Chips’ category inside the united states of america which might be neither fried or baked, but popped

Taking a retail-first method, BRB Popped Chips presently is gift throughout 500 stores in Delhi NCR location, and its income has multiplied upto 2X instances compared to pre-Covid-19 instances

In the following 3 to four years, Forbidden Foods looks to be extend in 50K retail shops across 10-15 towns, which include Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru among others

Also Read:- How Josh Talks’ Vernacular Upskilling Product Gained 1 Lakh Subscribers In A Year

It’s India’s D2C second, and an increasing number of manufacturers are realising the strength of going immediately to the consumer. For some brands even though, the D2C route isn't feasible to preserve inside the initial run, due to challenges starting from rules to the retail stranglehold on positive categories. But but, these new-age era-led groups are D2C in nature thanks to the ethos and emblem identification espoused. 

For Forbidden Foods, the challenge isn't always about going D2C or now not, due to the fact, in a category such as snackfoods, there’s little or no incentive for the customer to buy at once from the agency. Instead, Forbidden Foods has chosen to go the retail and aggregatory route for its BRB Popped Chips. 

Founded in 2018 by former BIRA ninety one professionals Anuj Krishan and Tanmoy Mukherjee; ex-Coca-Cola, Hector Beverages (Paper Boat) and Mobikwik exec Apurva Anand; and Abhishek Agarwal, former operational supervisor at petrochemical giant Schlumberger, the corporation is targetting the missing elements within the the packaged snacks space in India — product innovation and brand identification. 

(L-R) Tanmoy Mukherjee, Abhishek Agarwal, Anuj Krishan & Apurva Anand, cofounders at Forbidden Foods

With their collective enjoy inside the FMCG sector, the founders have taken the fitness and layout as their USPs. Created using specialized system in Germany, the popped chips are neither baked nor fried and are said to have 60% lower fats content material than ordinary chips or wafers. 

As for the emblem identification, Forbidden Foods has gone the quirky path calling its merchandise ‘smartphone-friendly’ because of the no-grease element, which ties into the fitness factor as well.

“At the cease of the day, no packaged meals can be healthy. However, we firmly accept as true with that that is an indulgence class, and when humans are eating this, they're happening a responsible pride,” stated Krishan, highlighting its products’ substantially healthy characteristic. 

Of route, Forbidden Foods and BRB chips are a long way from the only emblem to have taken the health snack path. The likes of Guiltfree’s Too Yumm (RPSG Group), New Tree, Snack Attack and To Be Honest among others have emerged nowadays. 

How Forbidden Foods Grew Into A Retail Brand 

Launched in January 2020, BRB Popped Chips is the first product from the Forbidden Foods strong and commenced with availability in Delhi NCR. Currently, the distribution is performed thru 500-plus stores. 

Backed through crowdfunding funding platform Globevestor and early-level assignment capital firms like Secocha Ventures and First Cheque, along angel traders, the agency has counted on the traders for marketplace get right of entry to. “The network of investors and marketers not handiest supported us from a capital, mentoring and advice, however also helped us in constructing the right connections within the marketplace to further amplify our enterprise,” Krishan delivered. 

With Covid-19 inside the photograph soon after BRB become released, Forbidden Foods speedy determined to partner with aggregators such as Amazon, Big Basket, Milkbaset and Supr Daily. Kishan claimed 40% of the sales throughout this era came from retail channels, at the same time as the identical became visible through ecommerce and grocery shipping platforms, at the same time as the remaining 20% got here thru vending machines and other channels.  

“Unfortunately, the pandemic and lockdown hit all and sundry, but now, we are slowly starting to see a recovery in retail within the final couple of months,” Krishan told us. 

Pricing wise, the BRB chips are priced between INR 30 to INR forty, that is steep in comparison to the ocean of alternatives available in the market at a inexpensive fee factor which also declare to have the proper wholesome qualities. This is in which Forbidden Foods’ social media engagement is trying to make a difference and trying to collect users online in a manner much like D2C brands, even though the purchase may not appear on line. 

The Tech Behind New-Age Retail Distribution

Despite its D2C ethos, Forbidden Foods is a retail-first emblem in the intervening time. However, past its significant frontline force of sales executives and merchandisers, it's far the usage of mapping call for, fulfillment and extra using salesforce automation (SFA) tools and distribution management device (DMS). 

“The complete sales and success manner is accomplished the use of these apps and there may be no manual intervention. This additionally permits us to have a reasonably decentralised org structure with a actual time dashboard for top control to display,” Krishan said approximately the tech backend that keeps a retail-focussed logo going in the D2C technology. 

Technology will of direction play a crucial role in making sure extensive outlet coverage as the corporation scales to greater towns, in particular for excessive order fill charges and to dispose of out-of-inventory situations, that is a large flip off for new adopters. Krishan feels that this tech-pushed method offers the organisation an execution moat which not many competition are inclined to do, or able to do. He delivered that there is lots of heavy lifting required to build one of these ability even earlier than the era takes over. 

Another vicinity where Forbidden Foods does a D2C-like job is in branding and advertising and marketing , which includes memes and contests on social media. “This builds a devoted following and engagement, and most importantly, reinforces the brand thru a bodily product that consumers can use of their day by day life,” brought the cofounder. 


It additionally runs several beneath-the-line sports via partnered networks. For instance, the organisation currently tied up with Milkbasket and Chaayos to do large scale sampling, where it gave away chips with each order. This helps construct a buzz and gets human beings tasting the products, that's the primary and largest adoption barrier. “We are so confident with our merchandise that we need to steer with it. Once humans attempt it out, there may be repeat clients.” 

To measure overall performance and RoI of its online campaigns, the organisation analyses the direct income, uplift in offtakes (margins) in retail stores, reach and engagement, and brand bear in mind this is constructed measured thru surveys. 

The ‘Make In India’ Move

“This technology is so new and precise that nobody in India has the equipment or knowledge to make those merchandise,” said Krishan. 

As indicated in advance, the business enterprise makes its chips in Germany and raw fabric is sourced from round the sector. For instance, potatoes are sourced from France, sweet potatoes from the USA and seasoning and spices from India. The organization will quickly be bringing this manufacturing facility to India. “We are already within the process of setting up this unit, and this facility of ‘Popped Chips’ manufacturing could be first within the country,” he introduced. 

Naturally, this will result in decrease production fee and the organization plans to skip at the cost savings to the customers by means of lowering the fees inside the future. This, in a manner, will fortify the lower priced top class positioning of the snackfood as well. Krishan claims the producing facility will allow Forbidden Foods to innovate on new product improvement extra hastily and get them to marketplace faster. 

From a product perspective, currently, Krishan claims that the employer has evolved over 50 flavours, each in-house and in partnership with research labs, out of which handiest 4 are launched within the market. “In the subsequent three to four years, we purpose to be present in 50K retail shops throughout 10-15 cities, along with Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru amongst others.”

“With this upcoming facility, we are absolutely devoted to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, wherein we can be bringing cutting area meals processing era to the united states of america.”

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