Despite being a $15 billion industry, the Indian snacks industry is dominated by junk food. Our snacks industry makes us one of the unhealthiest countries in the world. Traditional players like Balaji, Haldiram, ITC and international plates like Lays and Pringles offer multiple products but few hold nutritional goodness.
Working mothers often have to rely on unhealthy foods to feed their children. This is the reason Ahana Gautam found herself binging on junk food after coming from school as her mother was away working. This caused her to be at thrice her current weight and victim to frequent illnesses. While studying at the Harvard Business School she saw US grocery stores filled with aisles offering healthy snacks. She teamed up with Udit Kejriwal of IIT Kharagpur to address the lack of healthy snacks available for kids with Open Secret.
Ahana Gautam did her B.Tech from IIT Bombay and later her MBA from Harvard. She has worked at P&G and at General Mills in the USA. Udit Kejriwal after graduating from IIT did his MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. He worked with P&G and McKinsey & Company before opening Open Secret.
Open Secrets was launched in 2019 with the aim to make healthy snacks and sweets available for children. The IIT graduates first tackled the most unhealthy segment - cookies. They then un-junked other foods like chocolate and chips. They replace sugar with jaggery and have added nuts for their immunoboosting properties. They are available on Amazon and BigBasket. They themselves do online delivery pan-India and are available offline in Mumbai.
They received Seed Capital from Matrix Partners India, Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Snapdeal Co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal and Godrej Consumer Products CEO Vivek Gambhir. In 2021, they raised Series A investment from Sixth Sense Ventures and existing investor Matrix Partners India. They have seen 10x growth in the same year. The funds will be used to scale up their venture, expand their omnichannel distribution presence and introduce more products, especially in the savoury category.
Will Open Secret make India’s kids open to healthier snack options?