There is almost one organic brand every month popping up to serve the growing demand for organic products in domestic and international. People around the globe are getting more conscious of what they are eating. The urban middle class does not want chemicals in their food and is switching to organic products. From fruits and vegetables to cereals, spices to tea and coffee, people prefer organic products.
Organic produce may prove to be the next big thing in the domestic market. Even by conservative measures, the Indian organic food market is expected to grow in the short-term at a compound annual growth rate of 20 percent – taking it above the $2 billion mark by 2024. Along with a lot of others, Praakritik is one brand that is dedicated to selling Organic products. Praakritik which translates to “of the nature” was launched by Dharmishtha Goenka in 2016 with an aim to promote healthy living, improvising sustainable farming practices, and inculcating organic living amongst an increasingly discerning audience that was getting disillusioned and disconnected with the food they eat. Dharmishtha was joined by Sachit Subramanian and Aghalya Ramasamy after getting by the work and ethics of Praakritik. Meghana Harikumar for The Balcony Stories spoke to Dharmishtha about the brand and the word ‘Organic’ being misused. Below are the excerpts…
What’s your career background?
I am part of the IIM-A alumni and also have a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Leadership from Kings College, London. I live my life with the mission of refining the lives of farmers and consumers. Team organization and leadership come naturally to me. The passion for getting the job done with kindness and a smile and empathy is the culture I have set within my team.
What is Praakritik?
Praakritik translates to ‘Of The Nature’. It started in 2016 to promote healthy eating, improvise sustainable farming practices and inculcate organic living amongst an increasingly discerning audience that was getting disillusioned and disconnected with the food they eat. We wanted to bring back that special and almost sacred connection that the human body has with food. Hence Praakritik was born. The brand is a D2C (Direct to Consumer) brand that brings you organic food to your doorstep directly from the farmer. On the other end, we also help farmers go organic and meet the growing demand.
What was the inspiration for Praakritik and how did you go about it?
It all started with supporting one gaushala and one woman – my aunt Richa Bagrodia. She has championed the benefits of Desi Gir Cow’s A2 milk products. I strongly believe that every kitchen should have at least ‘One’ natural product that our bodies can benefit from. She started by supplying hand-churned Vedic processed ghee and increased her circle of knowledge by educating everyone on the importance of cow milk. Her passion inspired me. After her demise in 2014 at the age of 34, I took up the mission and decided to create a brand Praakrithik that could reach out to more people and benefit them.
Is the word ‘organic’ overrated and misused?
Yes. Consumer awareness of what constitutes ‘organic’ and what does not, is essential in ensuring the word is not misleading.
How different is Praakritik from the other organic companies?
The quality, availability, authenticity, packaging, and service we deliver are inimitable. We sell organic products which are grown from the land it is native to so that it is not just delicious as it is meant to be but are also environmentally sustainable. And all our products are obtained by using traditional organic farming practices and it is certified by several organic farms.
What products do you sell?
We sell 97 products that are divided into rice and flour, spices, sugar and salt substitutes, superfoods, and dry fruits.
What are the challenges you had to overcome to start and survive in the business?
The biggest challenge we faced when we started the business was from customers when they asked ‘How do we know this is truly organic?’, ‘Why is this more expensive than others?’ etc. Customer education and awareness was the largest challenge we faced.
What’s your proudest moment to date?
Oh, yes, there is. A Pomegranate farmer from Satara, Maharashtra got in touch with us as he was in trouble because of untimely rains. He did not have a buyer and his crops were decaying. A simple message from Praakritik on Whatsapp went viral in Mumbai and helped him sell three tons of the fruit in just two days. His happiness was what we looked forward to.
How do you balance your business with your family life?
I have applied the same principles of work at home. Discipline, time management, and expectation setting are a part of my life. They work in both circumstances though it differs in the tone you set them with.
Where do you see Praakritik in the next five years?
In the next five years, I want Praakritik to be the GO-TO organic brand.
How many people did you start with and how many do you have now?
I was joined by Sachit Subramanian and Aghalya Ramasamy who were inspired by the Go Organic Concept and the mission I was on. As of now, we are 25+ Employees and I am sure we will have a massive team one day.
How important is Organic food these days?
Post pandemic, more and more people are becoming aware of the quality of the food they consume. Consumers are looking at moving to organic food that is healthy and chemical-free and good for their bodies. Increased consumer awareness about Organic products has helped a lot of them shift to a healthier lifestyle.
Which is the best-selling product at Praakritik?
Some of our best-selling products include grains, coconut sugar, honey, and Desi Gir cows A2 Ghee.
How has COVID 19 impacted business? Is it a boon for online sales platforms?
All online sales platforms benefited from the pandemic, including us. It provided ease of delivery, convenience, and availability across categories. We saw the acceptance and awareness of Organic food increase, as customers chose healthier options inevitably.
Praakritik farms are spread across the villages of Maharashtra and Gujarat where they create systematic strategies with the farmers to cultivate a variety of organic produce which is local and chemical-free!