Alumni Ventures: Troovy Foods – Mansi Baranwal, PGP 2012

Driven by a profound concern for childhood malnutrition in India, Troovy Foods stands as a testament to Mansi Baranwal‘s entrepreneurial vision and commitment to social impact. With a background in consumer goods and a deep-rooted dedication to addressing nutritional deficiencies, Mansi founded Troovy not just as a business venture but as a mission-driven enterprise aimed at revolutionizing children’s nutrition nationwide. Grounded in rigorous research and firsthand experiences, Troovy strives to provide wholesome, nutritious products accessible to all children, irrespective of their economic backgrounds. This interview delves into Mansi Baranwal’s journey with Troovy, exploring its origins, mission, future aspirations, and the impact of its innovative approach to nutrition.

After graduating from IIM Bangalore in 2012, I joined Bain & Company, driven by a deep interest in the consumer goods market. During my time at IIMB, I was particularly fascinated by consumer products, and I was determined to join a company in this sector. However, the team at Bain convinced me of the unique opportunities I would have to work with some of the best consumer products companies in the world. They highlighted the chance to be part of the core teams, work closely with top decision-makers, and gain extensive, hands-on experience.

This proved to be true. Over my seven and a half years at Bain, I worked with numerous multinational companies in various capacities, including product launches, distribution, supply chain optimization, digitization, and organizational restructuring. These experiences provided me with a profound understanding of the field.

From very early on, I was clear that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. My passion for entrepreneurship was evident during my pre-IIMB days when I was part of an organization called Head Start, which provided a platform for startups to pitch, present, and share their ideas.

The concept of Troovy is deeply rooted in my time at Bain. I became involved in two significant social projects with Tata Trust and the Akshaya Patra Foundation. These projects, focused on nutrition, revealed the alarming extent of malnutrition among children in India, even among wealthy families. Many children were not reaching their optimal height or weight due to nutritional deficiencies. As parents of a three-year-old, we decided to create a brand that would address these issues by providing nutritious, wholesome products for children across the country. Thus, Troovy was born. We consider ourselves a health company rather than a food company, dedicated to improving children’s nutrition nationwide.

The motivation behind Troovy stemmed from a profound concern over childhood malnutrition prevalent in India, affecting even affluent households. Poor eating habits and a lack of protein-focused nutrition were identified as primary issues, compounded by deficiencies in the food supply chain. Many commercially available products lacked essential nutrients due to inadequate processing and storage practices, focusing more on shelf life and cost efficiency than nutritional content.

Personally driven by a commitment to solve this critical issue, I delved deep into understanding nutritional deficiencies, even developing a nutrition calculator to assess dietary intake. The stark findings reinforced the urgency to act. Troovy was conceived not just as a business venture but as a mission to provide wholesome nutrition solutions accessible to all children, regardless of economic status. Through strategic partnerships and a dedicated ecosystem, Troovy aims to address and rectify the nutritional challenges faced by Indian children, contributing positively to both health outcomes and societal well-being.

We’re incredibly excited about Troovy’s future. Our upcoming milk mixes aim to be among the healthiest and most delicious options available. For instance, our collaboration with Paw Patrol, a leading children’s property worldwide, promises a product that not only tastes great but also includes high-quality proteins, essential amino acids, and 23 essential vitamins and minerals. This product embodies our commitment to nutrition, meticulously developed with input from pediatricians and scientists. For example, despite conventional wisdom, we chose not to include vitamin C in our milk mix. While common in the market, vitamin C can actually inhibit milk’s nutritional benefits. This decision underscores our dedication to crafting the best possible nutritional solutions, free from chemicals and processed sugars, and enriched with wholesome ingredients like jaggery.

As for growth, Troovy is already experiencing significant traction, primarily through direct-to-consumer channels. We believe we have a genuine opportunity to become the leading provider of clean nutrition for children in India. The market is substantial, with the potential to make a significant impact on children’s health and nutrition across the country. Our strategy, particularly in leveraging e-commerce, has been pivotal in our rapid growth trajectory.

Our approach is centered on deep customer engagement right from the outset. We view our customers not merely as buyers but as integral partners in our journey. Prior to our official launch, we actively involved a core group of 100 parents in co-creating our products. This collaborative process ensures that we uphold our commitment to delivering products with exceptional taste, optimal nutrition, and free from harmful chemicals. Every decision, whether refining our logo or selecting flavors, is guided by direct input from our customers.

This dedication to transparency and co-development has been pivotal. It has empowered us to make informed decisions, such as shelving products that didn’t resonate with our community’s needs even before they hit the market. By prioritizing customer feedback and embracing a philosophy of building in public, we’ve not only crafted products that our customers love but also fostered a deep sense of trust and loyalty within our community. This customer-centric approach forms the bedrock of our strategy, ensuring sustainable growth and meaningful impact in the market.

FoodPharmer’s recognition of Troovy and our mission was a significant validation for us. Their focus on uncovering the reality of what consumers actually consume versus what they perceive is crucial in today’s food industry. When FoodPharmer highlighted Troovy in one of their blog posts, it created a viral impact, amplifying our message.

Beyond Troovy, I see similar discrepancies across various categories where consumers may not fully grasp the true nature of what they’re consuming. This spans every sector, underscoring the need for greater transparency and education about nutritional content. At Troovy, we’re committed to bridging this gap by offering nutritious solutions that are accessible and honest, without unnecessary premiums. Our aim is to empower consumers, especially in price-sensitive markets like India, by delivering value-conscious nutritional products that meet their needs and expectations.

I believe the most pivotal factor in entrepreneurship is your driving force. Ask yourself, what problem are you determined to solve? Your passion for addressing this challenge will propel you towards your goals. Entrepreneurship demands multitasking and perseverance, but it’s your unwavering passion that sustains you through it all. As long as you believe wholeheartedly in your mission, success will inevitably follow.

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