Sarrah Kapasi, Founder and CEO at D-Alive Health Pvt. Ltd explains the market for sustainable food has a bright future in India
What was the vision and inspiration behind setting up D-Alive?
It had to do a lot with the environment I grew up in. Since I was 4, I would visit my Dad’s office every weekend and spend the day there observing how a business ran. I really enjoyed it. Whenever I was asked what do you want to grow up and be, I would always say I want to run a business. And, here I am! As a 25-year-old co-founder and CEO of a start-up, I want to empower people to believe in themselves and consider NOW as the right time to start something they really believe in.
All my life, I have seen my father struggle with finding solutions for diabetes in India. So, I was pretty sure from a very early age that I want to undertake a business with a cause. And, what better than seeing my father happy and a million others like him struggling to lead a normal life. That was the genesis behind starting D-Alive, India’s first company to provide holistic wellness solutions specially designed only for people with diabetes.
We are not sure about the duration but the Corona impact will remain and it may well even change things for good. The pressure on the healthcare sector is huge and COVID 19 has put the focus on it. Suddenly the populace is seeped with a realization that our health should be in our hands and our immunity can see us through these challenges and food is the means to that end. Hence, the future looks promising for sustainable food and the market seems ready for this welcome and much awaited shift.
How do you source your products and how is quality and traceability maintained?
Our raw materials are sourced from all over the country that are certified organic and true to their origin. We are USDA and India organic certified which calls for stringent procedures and quality control measures. These processes are monitored and traced by these esteem certification bodies along with APEDA who carry out regular audits to ensure the organic integrity of the raw materials sourced right from the suppliers to logistics to end consumers.
What are your product lines and what are the organic certifications you have?
D-Alive’s range of products involves building a 360 degree approach to embrace every such product that are household and health necessities. It could be low carb binge or fully cooked meals, D-Alive’s product line works towards facilitating every such requirement. To date, we have a line of sauces, salad dressings, premium sweets, snack bars, drink premixes, sweetener blends and many such incredible health solutions. All of these products are continuously audited and regulated to stay true to its USDA and India Organic certifications.
What are Your insights on the sustainable product market in India? Has Covid 19 changed the scenario?
I feel the future of the sustainable food product market in India is very bright. In many ways, COVID-19 is like a reminder from mother nature that it has the power to take some drastic correction measures when things go out of hand. I think it should come as a lesson to each and every one of us that kindness is crucial, even to our planet. As a country with some really responsible youth, I think we have a very bright and sustainable future ahead of us.
How is your business presence in the global market?
Globally we are available in reputed hypermarket chains like Mega Mart & Choithram’s (Qatar), Mohammed Mustafa (MMS, Singapore), and launching soon in Lulu Supermarkets (Saudi Arabia). Apart from this we are rapidly exploring more avenues of sale continuously.
Describe the market for sugar free organic products for diabetics in India? How do we compare internationally?
Our per capita consumption of sugar is still amongst the highest in the world. Rather than comparing sugar-free, the right comparison must be low carb, because diabetes is largely caused by excess carbohydrates consumption and diabetics have to medicate primarily for carbohydrates especially the simple carbs and starches that convert to sugars very rapidly to cause a spike in blood sugars and then are also stored as fats in the body.
At D-Alive, we are in tune with what truly works meeting and improving the diabetic health goals since one of our owners also is a Type 1 diabetic plus we have more Type 1s enrolled who test all our foods for no or as little insulin as possibly needed against consuming our Organic (100% Natural) foods.
Versus international trends, India is still very heavy on unnatural or artificial sweeteners or high carbohydrate natural alternatives viz. Jaggery, Dates, Anjeer/ Figs etc. to sweeten our sugar free foods whereas internationally sugar free foods have heavily switched to using Stevia and Coconut Sugar to add sweetness in a much healthier way. Sugar alcohols viz. Erythritol, Xylitol, etc. are also added here in far more excess quantities as otherwise termed safe for daily consumption internationally.
What are your future plans?
We want to make D-Alive a quality-standard for products that hit the market. Just like vegetarian food is marked with a green dot, non-vegetarian food with a red dot, we want to create a blue dot for diabetic food that will ensure it is 100 per cent safe for diabetics to consume. We are also in the process of exploring and finalising more product categories like snack bars, probiotic snacks, beverages, along with additions to variants in our current range. But it will happen in the long run in a phased manner. We want D-Alive to have every over-the-counter solution for diabetes / health enthusiasts who don’t want to compromise.