Himalayan Natives is an all-natural food brand that was started by Bhupendra Khanal, the founder, and CEO of Khanal Foods. Since its inception in 2018, Himalayan Natives has grown from a company with a few premium products to a rapidly expanding and prominent FMCG player in the food industry with 80+ SKUs. However, Himalayan Natives’ growth did not happen overnight and has been subject to many obstacles and challenges from the beginning. This article takes a look into where we started, how we overcame the challenges in our path, and what our future looks like.
How it all Started
Founder Bhupendra Khanal, affectionately known as “Bhupi” was born and brought up in Nepal, where he was surrounded by the serene mountains and crisp air of the Himalayas. Being raised in one of the purest places on earth, he was accustomed to an all-natural diet with ingredients that were sourced locally and free of preservatives. When he first moved to the big city, Bangalore, he noticed the availability of pure and unadulterated food products was on the lower end, especially in the densely populated metropolitan areas. He also noticed that the natural products that were available weren’t always of the best quality, and were difficult to source and expensive, making them out of reach for everyday consumers. His friends and family often had the same complaint of the unavailability of consistently high-quality natural food products as well.
Bhupi was quick to identify the growing gap between the demand for natural products and the available supply and he also caught on to the growing trend of people adopting healthier food practices. He decided to bridge the gap between demand and supply for natural products by launching Himalayan Natives in early 2018, with the vision of sharing his love for all-natural food with the world. Starting with a handful of food items and gradually expanding the product range, each product launched by Himalayan Natives is curated and produced using the highest quality standards and minimal manual intervention, with the goal of retaining all the original nutritional components of each food, just as nature intended.
Today, Himalayan Natives is a rapidly advancing FMCG leader, with a presence in over 500 stores in India and the United States. However, this journey has not been one without obstacles. One of the first major challenges that Himalayan Natives faced was how to stand out in a giant industry that was saturated with food companies that were all trying to differentiate themselves. The founder’s vision of supplying the market with food products that were completely natural was the first step in differentiating Himalayan Natives from other food brands. All our products are ethically sourced from partners with sustainable practices and are free of manual intervention in the form of GMOs, pesticides, and preservatives. While these USPs helped set apart Himalayan Natives from generic food brands, what made the brand unique is our relentless effort to establish ourselves as a premium health food brand.
Strategic marketing activities and a keen ability to detect the target consumer’s needs and accordingly deliver have helped Himalayan Natives tap the growing market for healthy foods. As our society, in general, is becoming more conscious of their consumption habits and slowly shifting towards healthier options, we at Himalayan Natives are capitalizing on this increasing awareness, and catering our product range to meet these consumer needs. However, having a high-quality product was not enough. The second challenge we had to overcome was to move consumers from cheaper alternatives to premium-priced natural products, and here is how we tackled it.
Focusing on quality: In the food industry, there are many players who come and go due to low barriers of entry. However, the successful ones are always those that have premium quality products. A study conducted by the International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR) found that over 60% of participants said that price was not a determining factor in the food purchase decision, rather the primary determinant was impacting on health and well-being. Observing this growing consciousness towards health and quality, we focused on improving the quality of our products such that they would appeal to our target market and sell themselves.
Building the brand: With the goal of associating the Himalayan Natives brand with health, we focused on marketing activities that informed our consumers of who we are, what we offer and the most important aspects of our products; that they are all-natural, sustainable, and ethically-sourced. We also strive to educate the consumer regarding the benefits of using our products. These activities have helped build our brand awareness.
Fine-tuning customer service: The most telling quality of a brand’s ability to succeed is how much importance is given to customer service. We rigorously worked to reduce delivery time, make our packaging more secure and increase brand transparency, which ultimately led to repeat customers due to their satisfaction with our service.
Establishing a brand as an industry leader and a household name is always an uphill battle. Himalayan Natives has strived to improve on every facet of our business in order to achieve this goal, all while exceeding not just consumer expectations but also our own in terms of the company’s growth and prominence in the food industry.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
While navigating through the customer journey, we were hit by one of the biggest challenges we had ever faced as a company. The COVID-19 pandemic has easily been one of the most challenging setbacks that has affected not only the food industry but all commercial activities since the beginning of 2020. India is still grappling with this catastrophe and the last 15 months have been a testament to the resilience of people, companies, and society overall.
Himalayan Natives too was no exception to the sudden and negative effects that the pandemic had, however, quick thinking and an acute ability to adapt to the circumstances and survive has allowed us to not only overcome all logistical and marketplace challenges but also to exponentially grow at a time when many players were forced to close shop. One of the most important steps that we took during this time was taking action to secure our supply chain through local sources and making our delivery partners in-house. These activities ensured a consistent and continuing food distribution service and contributed to the company’s overall success, allowing us to grow 500% since the onset of the pandemic. For a deeper look into Himalayan Natives’ navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit this link- Covid-19 And The Impact On The Food Industry: Lessons From Himalayan Natives
The Future Path
Himalayan Natives has been resilient through all of the challenges the company has faced, and in doing so we have built a strong foundation based on our core values and ability to strategize improvisationally in an industry that constantly demands change. We are well on our way to becoming an industry leader for natural foods with a focus on health and wellness and here are some of our future plans.
Prominence in the organic food industry: The shift of food consumption practices towards healthier and more natural foods would be remiss without the increasing demand for organic products. Himalayan Natives aims to launch an organic product range to meet this demand.
More SKUs: As Himalayan Natives becomes more prominent in the food industry, we plan to expand our product offerings to meet consumer demand and promote health and wellness.
Expansion to other markets: Himalayan Natives is a brand that is centered around health, offering natural food products. With this vision in mind, we hope to expand to the Middle East, UK, EU, and Australia.
As we as a community gradually shift our consumption practices to take into consideration our impact on the environment and our own long-term health, Himalayan Natives is the kind of brand that will surely strive to provide the right kind of products that meet the needs of this increasingly health-conscious customer base.