[Startup Bharat] Here’s how this Coimbatore-based pet care startup harnesses Ayurveda for food products
Since childhood, Coimbatore-based couple Prabhu Gandhikumar and Brindha Prabhu had a passion for pets.
In 2012, after their marriage, the couple’s friends sought advice on best dietary practices for their pets.
During their research, the duo discovered several fundamental gaps in the Indian pet food market, particularly in the imported super premium category.
The nutritional value of these imported pet foods is lost as they remain in transit. Additionally, the ingredients used in these products are sometimes not suitable for Indian pets, leading to serious health issues including allergies, skin problems, liver problems, compromised immunity, etc.
Ayurveda for pets
In 2021, Brindha, Prabhu, along with other co-founders – Soumya Malani and Arun Mukherjee – launched pet food startup using key Ayurveda ingredients. Given their years of research into various pet foods, the founders ventured into the super premium category to offer dog biscuits under the FiloMilo brand., a Coimbatore-based
Prabhu says most brands of dog biscuits available in the market are of poor quality and provide no nutritional value, adding, “We have found that Ayurveda is good for dogs.”
The brand makes biscuits with calcium, chicken, and Ayurvedic Brahmi powder (locally sourced), which improves canine neurological function and helps owners train them more easily.
The startup claims that these biscuits – available for Rs 350 per kg – provide all the necessary nutrients that can help improve the texture of a dog’s skin and hair, giving them an overall healthy appearance.
“Once these animals started having our cookies, they stopped eating other brands,” says Prabhu Gandhikumar, co-founder of TABPS Pets.
FiloMilo also offers products for cats. It launched two shampoos – based on neem, hibiscus and aloe vera, with a pH of seven.
He says, “These shampoos are as good as the ones we use for babies.
Enter a budget range
Over the past two years, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have adopted pets, creating a huge market for TABPS Pets.
According to Prabhu, maintaining a Labrador dog would cost households Rs 6,000-7,000 per month which is quite expensive for many.
So the couple decided to venture into the value segment under a separate brand called Purple Tail, which is still in the experimental stage.
TABPS Pets aims to introduce high quality shampoos in sachet form, available at a competitive price to pet owners.
Prabhu points out that the options for vets are largely focused on agricultural livestock including cows, goats, poultry etc. while dogs and cats do not get enough attention.
However, during their interaction with veterinarians, the couple realized that many were suggesting using ragi as the best ingredient instead of corn and adding proteins like chicken and fish. in pet food.
TABPS Pets tests different types of pet food with the help of its 10-member strong in-house research team, including nutritionists and food technologists.
She plans to launch a nutritional powder made with Ayurvedic ingredients that owners can add to their pet’s meals. Prabhu says early results have been encouraging for the startup.
The Coimbatore-based startup outsources most of its manufacturing needs.
Currently largely focusing on the needs of dogs, Prabhu explains that dogs are omnivores and cats are purely carnivores, which would require more research into their dietary needs.
“A dog usually eats twice a day, but a cat needs food at least 12 times,” he adds.
TABPS Pets has found strong traction in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Its products are available in over 390 stores across Tamil Nadu, where Prabhu says the brand sees a strong trend of repeat customers.
In addition to offline retail, TABPS Pets sells its products on e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon and through its direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel.
The pet food startup claims to see revenue growth of 45-50% every month.
In the future, TABPS Pets aims to expand beyond the two states in South India and also enter the export market, starting with Southeast Asia and the Middle regions. -East.
In addition, it wishes to equip its manufacturing plants with international certification standards.
According to TechSci Research, the Indian pet food market, pegged at $225.57 million in 2016, is expected to reach $642.66 million by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 18%.
The co-founder says that the Indian pet food market is experiencing fierce competition from domestic and global players. Additionally, several new-age startups have entered the segment including Canine India, Supertail, Heads Up for Tails, etc.
Seeded since inception, TABPS Pets raised Rs 4 crore in a seed funding round from a group of angel investors in early March.
Prabhu thinks India has the strong potential to become a top player in the global pet food market given the availability of all kinds of ingredients.
“Given the rate at which people are adopting pets, everyone is looking for quality food, and we want to position ourselves as a strong player, providing such diets,” concludes Prabhu.