Today, 24 Mantra Organic brand ships more than 2.5 million units of its products to over 1 million consumers in India and another 1 million consumers in over 50 countries, worldwide. In an exclusive interview, N. Balasubramanian, CEO, 24 Mantra Organic shares information about brand’s journey with BW HOTELIER.
According to Expert Market Research, the India organic food market stands at a value of USD 849.5 million in 2020. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of about 20.5 per cent between 2021 and 2026 to reach a value of about USD 2601 million by 2026.
The growing inclination towards organic food products is being catered by brands like 24 Mantra Organic. In 2004, Raj Seelam, and his colleagues, founded Sresta Natural Bioproducts Private Limited and started supplying organic food products in the market under the name, 24 Mantra Organic. The company has navigated over a decade long journey, creating a sustainable livelihood for farmers and sustainable lifestyle for consumers. BW HOTELIER interacts with N. Balasubramanian, CEO, 24 Mantra Organic to understand the making of this brand.
Sresta Natural Bioproducts Pvt. Ltd is the brainchild of Raj Seelam, who while working in an agricultural products company noticed alarming use of pesticides and chemicals on farms and the deep impact it had on rural indebtedness. Farmers borrowed money for investing in pesticides and synthetic fertilizers which in turn was affecting sustainability of the farmer’s life and standard of living. This sowed the seeds for Raj and a few of his friends who set out on a lifelong journey of passion and commitment and thus was born Sresta Natural Bioproducts Pvt. Ltd.
Balasubramanian underscored, the journey that began 16 years ago, is a behemoth with 50,000 farmers across 15 states cultivating 2,25,000 acres of farm land today. All agricultural produce is sourced directly from the farmers, processed in the company’s units, packed and sold under the brand name of 24 Mantra Organic.
Farmers – Core of 24 Mantra Organic’s journey
Commenting on the role of farmers, Balasubramanian expressed, “Right from the beginning farmers are the cornerstones of Sresta. It has been our core belief that Organic farming begins with good, well-meaning farmers. For Sresta, it means partnering with them in a way that benefits them and sustains their lands and longevity.”
While on the one hand, the pandemic handed them the hardest of times, it also opened the envelope of safe, healthy and pure food consumption. “The silver lining to the dark cloud is that as people started staying at home and cooking at home, they began to look for healthier and safer produce. This enabled us to work with the farmers to meet the growing demands of consumers; while also ensuring the farmers sustainability is taken care of.”
They continued to work with the farmers even in the hardest of times through education, knowledge enhancement, sensitising them about the need for safe and pure food. Their community of 50,000 farmers and growing, bears testimony to this.
Unique approach to farming and processing
Appreciating the farmers’ contribution to their brand, he said that right from inception, farmers have been the backbone of Sresta. “One of the key aspects that sets Sresta apart from the others is its organization of the community of farmers. The farming is currently organised into more than 40 projects. Each project is spread around 15-20 kms, covering a few 100 to 1000 acres. Typically for every 150 – 200 farmers 24 Mantra has a trained field associate. Procurement is done in the procurement center at the project site itself and farmers are contacted directly, thereby ensuring the farmers earning is enhanced and he grows to lead a better standard of life,” he elaborated.
“Another significant differentiator is its wide range of products. Sresta currently sells everything that a household requires from cooking essentials like lentils, pulses, rice to packaged foods like cashew, jam, ready-to-cook food products and beverages like tea and infusions. Yet another element that makes Sresta unique is its farming and processing approach. It follows a robust 7-step process to ensure top-of-the-line quality products are on the kitchen shelves of consumers,” he added.
He explained that the minimal processing of the produce ensures that nutrition levels are maintained at their maximum levels. The absence of chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers in organic produce aids in the retention of nutritional values. Products to boost the immune system
Considering the current pandemic situation that requires one to be precautious, the brand provides organically grown products that are rich in antioxidants, giving much-needed immunity to ward off diseases. Almost all 24 Mantra Organic products give much-needed protection to the immune system.
24 Mantra Organic’s range of organic teas come in a variety of flavours like Tulsi Ginger Tea, Tulsi Ginger Turmeric Tea, Tulsi Green Tea. Ginger, for instance, has powerful antiviral and antibacterial properties. It is also known to combat inflammation and keep the immune system healthy.
Studies have shown the inhibitory action of turmeric extract against several pathogenic microbes. In addition to these, 24 Mantra Organic’s product portfolio comprises of Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Fennel, 7 grain methi atta and a host of other products which not only aid in immunity boosting, but also aid in safeguarding health.
Marketing the product
Over the years, Sresta has continuously expanded the geographical presence of its 24 Mantra Organic range of products. To ensure the products are well within reach of the consumers, products are available in over 10,000 outlets across the length and breadth of the country.
Additionally, 24 Mantra Organic products can be purchased at its company owned and operated stores in Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru. With e-commerce gaining popularity, 24 Mantra Organic has made it easy for consumers to have access to the products from the comfort of their homes.
All products are available in all leading e-commerce sites like Flipkart, Amazon, BigBasket, MilkBasket, Jio Mart, Grofers and also at hyper marts like Spar, Star Bazar, Spencers and also at nearby Kirana stores.
The brand is also engaging with consumers sharply targeting health and wellness conscious ones across all platforms and digital channels. It has engaged with over 10 million consumers through various social media vehicles.
Talking about their consumer base he concluded, “With consumers becoming more health conscious, a trend accelerated by the pandemic, 24 Mantra Organic’s consumer base comprise of middle-class and upwards. Today, 24 Mantra Organic brand ships more than 2.5 million units of its products to over 1 million consumers in India and another 1 million consumers in over 50 countries, worldwide. As far as the geography is concerned where Organic products are popular and widely consumed, it is Bangalore. The statistics are no different for Sresta too. Among the other cities that contribute a sizeable portion to the revenue Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Chandigarh, Kerala, Ahmedabad.”