While these challenges delivered shattering blows to many brands – including established businesses – one emerging startup that has managed to weather the storm and even use the opportunity to learn valuable lessons is Karma Bites, a London-based producer of popped lotus seed snacks.
The snacks are based on an ancient Indian snack that is on point with current consumer demands, being vegan, gluten-free, clean label and a guilt-free snack. Lotus seeds – called makhanas in India – are grown by farmers in Bihar, India, where they are sustainably grown and harvested, and provide a living wage for many of the poorer families in the region.
The seeds are a low calorie anytime snack, a better-for-you alternative to popcorn that is abundant in fibre, protein, calcium and essential minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium. They are also low on the glycaemic index and help keep blood sugar levels under control.
Marketing specialist Ashwin Ahuja launched Karma Bites just seven months before the pandemic sent the world into a spiral. Topping the challenges was Brexit, which came into effect on 31 December 2020; both events forcing him to completely rethink his marketing strategy. However, Ahuja has seen his startup thrive, generating a five-fold increase in turnover in the past year, as well as securing a presence in 15 countries.
BakeryandSnacks chatted to Ahuja to find out how he did it.