Aashnee and Sandhya transformed their shared love for sweets into a homegrown clean candy brand called Niblerzz. They make vegan, sugar-free, guilt-free gummies.
Does your heart ever ask you to nibble on all the candies that your tummy can handle, but your brain flashes the words ‘sugar’, ‘calories’, ‘gluten’, and ‘added preservatives’? If that’s the case, then this Mumbai-based startup will help you win this war once and for all.
Niblerzz was founded by Mumbai duo Aashnee Gajaria and Sandhya Seshadari in April 2022. They quit their respective jobs to make sugar-free, gluten-free vegan candies from 100 per cent natural ingredients like fruit pulps and natural colours.
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In about eight months, they have already attracted a large number of customers and sold hundreds of packs, yielding revenue in lakhs per month.
The seed to start sugarless candies
When Aashnee started her career in 2015 in an advertising company, she met Sandhya who was her senior at the time. They both instantly became friends while trying to understand what it takes to build brands.
But, Sandhya soon found herself at crossroads as she did not find her advertising work fulfilling enough.
She says, “I had worked in the marketing/advertising industry for more than 13 years, but I found it very restricting. I realised that I was not learning anything new. So, I decided to take a break and started to bake at home. I enjoyed my time doing that and decided to take up a pastry course.”
Two years later, their paths separated as Aashnee went on to study marketing at Cass Business School in the United Kingdom, and Sandhya enrolled to learn the art of baking pastries from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
Meanwhile, Aashnee started a medical travel company in 2017 that assisted people outside India to travel to the country to get medical treatments but found herself looking for more.
“Although my travel business was going well, I knew I wanted to do something more. I was an ardent candy customer. In 2021, I realised that India does not really have a clean candy brand, and the ones we have contained tonnes of sugar. So I decided to pursue my interest in the FMCG industry,” she says.
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Sandhya adds, “While people abroad are very conscious of what they eat in terms of sugar and salts, Indians don’t really do that. While there are some places where you can find sugar-free confectionery, they still use sugar alcohol that affects your gut in the long run. So we decided to remove that issue altogether and make something completely different. We knew this area was untouched and we hopped on.”
The duo’s love for confectionery and the realisation of how badly the Indian market needs a clean candy brand prompted them to start Niblerzz.
Niblerzz serves vegan and gluten-free candies and gummies made of natural fruit ingredients. They currently have three varieties — mixed fruit, mango and orange. While the co-founders’ personal favourite is their orange gummies, the mixed fruit gummies are their bestsellers.
What makes the gummies guilt-free?
The duo’s self-made recipes give their adult consumers a nostalgic ride back to their childhood in a healthy way, while the children enjoy it without parents worrying about their teeth.
“The process of creating a regular candy is fairly simple — add sugar, flavour and artificial colours. But we had to find healthier alternatives to make our candies natural and guilt-free,” says Sandhya.
“Jaggery was on the list but we did not use it because the body absorbs and converts it into carbohydrates. So, we researched more alternatives. The sweetness of our gummies comes from a root called chicory, which the body does not absorb; it goes directly out of the system. The entire composition of our gummies is from real fruit like the pulp of oranges, mangoes and different fruits. The concentrated fruit flavour is also naturally done and not by using any chemicals,” she explains.
She adds, “As an alternative to artificial colours, we use ingredients like turmeric, paprika and black carrot powder. As far as gelatin goes, we use pectin as a substitute, which is extracted from apple peels, lemons and oranges.”
“The ethos of our homegrown brand is always going to be making clean products,” says Aashnee. “Whatever other snacks we venture into, we are going to ensure that they are healthy and natural.”
With only eight months into the business, Niblerzz is now a fast-growing brand, available at stores in 19 states and 25 marketplaces such as Amazon and Swiggy Minis.
The gummies can be purchased on their website and will be delivered to your doorsteps.
Edited by Pranita Bhat
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