If you are an animal lover and savour non-veg food, the irony of that equation is quite a killer. You brainstorm hard to come up with an explanation to self and others but the struggling attempts always seem to fall flat.
One of the many self-created reasons by meat-loving people, who continue to enjoy that tag, is scarcity of vegetarian choices. In fact, that happens to put vegetarians in despair too at times.
So if at all you are undeterred to convert or find vegetarian varieties, VegaLyfe is for you.
VegaLyfe.com is India’s first online store for Vegans, Vegetarians to support healthy living. The online vegan store offers over thousands of pure vegetarian, organic & herbal products, right from chemical or pesticide free and naturally grown pulses, rice, wheat, spices, cereals, vegetable oil to latest non-leather fashion collections to radiation resistant maternity wear. Every single product here is handpicked.
“We offer our products for sale once we are sure that food items are naturally grown without use of pesticides or chemicals”, informs Kanika Kohli, Founder, VegaLyfe.
Kanika’s VegaLyfe journey dates back to 2012 when shopping for vegan products was a task in itself for her. That time there was not even one (online) shop dedicated to Vegan and 100% vegetarian products that she could conveniently shop from. And therefore, she decided to solve the problem once and for all, launch her vegan startup and is bootstrapping till date.
“VegaLyfe is a self-funded project. We have raised money from within our family and network of trusted friends. The vision that we carry for VegaLyfe, getting large scale funding will be important from investors who believe in the concept”, shares Kohli.
The set corporate life for Kanika was never the answer to her calling to do something for the world, animals and future generations. Thus, she quit and turned an entrepreneur. But wasn’t she apprehensive? Kanika smiles and says, “It’s funny that you ask this. I remember telling a friend as an answer to this question about what’s the Plan B. I told her there’s no going back. We are a success. We have the heart. We have the soul. We have a purpose. We are the solution. Business strategy can see a course correction. We can go back to the drawing board. There is no plan B should this not succeed.”
However, it hasn’t been an easy ride for her. She did want to shut down the venture a number of times but continues to hold the fort as the trends appear to be in the right direction.
“The products have always been in demand. Frankly, people want to make good choices that are compassionate and also healthy. In the food category oil free foods and snacks are gaining popularity for diabetes reversal and curing hypertension”, explains Kohli.
VegaLyfe works on a drop ship retail model where in certain cases the supplier ships the order when VegaLyfe gets the order from the customer. But the business of foods is never an easy one. There’s always a possibility of wastage and loss incurred on perishable items. “There are strict principles we follow for the operational efficiency. We operate on just in time inventory. We have strong analytics to estimate the inventory levels for products with varied shelf life.”
“Food products nearing expiry are used either for immediate consumption via feeding to the poor, amongst family & friends or used for event sponsorship for Vegan outreach activities. The idea is nothing gets wasted and gets consumed”, she adds.
Talking of vegan consumption, what crosses one’s mind is how well does the concept of vegetarianism goes down with the youth as when it comes to the population of India, 50% of it are below 25 years of age and more than 65% are below 35.
Kanika thinks youth today are more aware and connected individuals. But she has a more interesting take on it.
“Paul McCartney had said, if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian. I take it a step further and says if dairy farms had cameras, everyone would be vegan. We are only a click away from truth. The day the eyes open, the transformation is inevitable.”
India has world’s largest population for vegetarians, nearly 30-40% of Indian population is lactose vegetarian, i.e. they don’t eat meat and egg but takes dairy products.
A study done by Assocham and TechSci Research in 2014 reveals that the organic food market in India is growing at 25-30 per cent and projected that the domestic organic food market would touch the $1.36 billion mark by 2020.
Thus, riding on facts that signal a bright future and leveraging it for her thoughtful venture, Kanika is determined to make veganism a new way of life and initiate brand’s offline plans.
“The future only promises more convenience, more information, awareness and many more alternatives for our customers. A physical store and a concept based marketplace is the coming soon plan.”