While visiting his wife Urvashi Srivastava’s ancestral home, Shrey Arora got to taste some of the traditional snacks her nani made. Tangy aam papad, mouth-watering imli candy and yummy munchies made of chana sattu were some of the items she prepared to welcome her granddaughter’s husband to her Lucknow residence.
During this period, Shrey was looking for a food startup idea and his trip to Lucknow proved serendipitous. While savouring these dishes he realised how much the market needed healthy snack options.
“Both me and Urvashi are big-time foodies. But we always take care to make thoughtful eating choices as health comes first. But it’s not very easy to find brands that sell healthy instant food and snacks. Many are coming up claiming that their products are healthy but when we dig up the list of ingredients it proves otherwise,” says Shrey, the co-founder and CEO of Trick or Treat Foods, based in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
The motto of the company is to provide healthy snacking options, especially to kids, and bring back nostalgic candies for adults. “The market is flooded with candies/snacks loaded with sugar, artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and countless other chemicals. Unknowingly, we are consuming so much junk, especially kids, who are exposed to these chemical-laden candies from a young age,” shares Urvashi, the co-founder.
The brand, which was incorporated in February 2022, has the tagline: ‘No Tricks Only Tasty Treats’.
The duo admit it took them a while to come up with products which were not just healthy but had a decent shelf-life too. And the lockdowns further put a spanner in their plans.
A tribute to grandma
Urvashi, an engineering graduate, was more interested in creative designs and now manages the company’s design department. Shrey, completed both BTech and MBA and worked in the sales and marketing field for more than three years before starting Trick or Treat.
The venture kicked off in the hopes that they could sustain on Urvashi’s family’s traditional recipes. She says, “Nani was so happy when she came to know that we are starting a company that sells her snacks. She’s 78 and can’t travel so much distance but she is the rock of our startup. Her recipes were followed completely, but small changes were to be made as those can’t last long at room temperature. We took help from a food consultant to modify the recipes without changing them.”
It took 45 days and 30 trials for the team to come up with their first product – a fruit roll-up that is now available in six flavours: mango, kacha aam, pineapple, strawberry, pink guava and imli.
“No refined sugar, preservatives, sulphites, colours or artificial flavours are used in its making. Only quality, chemical-free fruits, jaggery and spices are used. In the case of candy roll-ups, lemon juice is the preservative we use which can provide a shelf-life of up to seven months. Manufacturing the candies with less moisture is another method of increasing its shelf-life,” says Shrey.
The fruits used in the making are directly sourced from farmers in South India. The founders say that only export-quality fruits are selected to ensure quality and consistency. The frozen pulp of these fruits (stored at -18 degree celsius) is used in the making of candies.
The company has around 16 full-time employees, engaged in lab activities, processing and dispatching the products. Their products can be purchased directly from the website, social media pages, Amazon or Indiamart. They are also found in certain retail stores around metro cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi. “It’s very challenging to convince the retailers. They are reluctant to take in products from new brands,” shares Urvashi.
But the founders are looking to collaborate with brands like “Flipkart, Zomato and Swiggy” to increase their online presence.
Apart from the fruit roll-ups, the brand has introduced Coco Energy Bars whose main ingredient is chana sattu, along with dates for sweetness. “Most youngsters and adults are inclined towards energy bars now. We planned to give it a healthy twist by using another recipe from our family. Chana sattu is a protein-rich item, commonly used in Indian kitchens. Almost 85 per cent of this protein bar is made of this ingredient and the remaining 15 per cent is dates,” explains Urvashi.
She also adds that the protein bars have become best-sellers. Also, mango and strawberry flavours are customer favourites. “Majority of our buyers are teenagers as well as mothers who try to provide healthy snacking options for their kids and for themselves,” she notes.
“Really loved the sweet and sour flavour of mango roll-up. The packaging is so cute and the taste is better than local aam-papad that’s filled with colours and preservatives,” writes Bhawna, a customer on the website of Trick or Treat.
“It gives us immense joy when customers share their feedback with us. It is touching to know that at least some of them remember their childhood after tasting our products. I even share some of these with my nani who absolutely loves it,” gushes Urvashi.
Buy their products here.
Edited by Yoshita Rao; Photo credits Urvashi Srivastava.
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