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CoLab Showcase 2023 Brings Together D2C Stakeholders To Discuss The Future Of F&B Brands In India

SUMMARY

The CoLab Showcase, presented by Mondelez India, in association with Inc42 and programme partner Huddle was held in Mumbai on October 31

The event gave CoLab India’s five selected startups an opportunity to present their business ideas to an exclusive audience

It also featured sessions by industry experts such as V3 Ventures’ Arjun Vaidya, Rage Coffee’s Bharat Sethi, Lahori Zeera’s Nikhil Doda and Prasun Agarwal of A91 Partners

The world of snacking, brimming with options from delectable sweets to savory treats that combine flavor with nutritional value, is increasingly appealing to modern consumers who crave indulgence alongside health-conscious choices. This shift in consumer preference has given rise to a plethora of brands within the D2C segment, each vying to establish a direct connection with customers and become their preferred choice.

However, penetrating the competitive snacking industry is a daunting challenge, as these new brands face the task of competing with well-established consumer habits rooted in traditional snacking items. Transforming casual customers into brand loyalists is not a straightforward journey. Yet, with a strategic mix of business acumen, resource allocation and sustained support, achieving this ambitious goal is within reach.

In the dynamic snacking market, where new brands face the challenge of shifting consumer habits from traditional snacks, Mondelez India, the giant behind brands like Cadbury, collaborated with Indian accelerator Huddle to launch CoLab in August 2023, a 12-week programme designed to nurture innovative Indian D2C snacking brands.

From a pool of roughly 250 D2C brands, Mondelez India selected five promising brands: Happy Jars, TruVitals, Nova Nova, Evolve Snacks and Flyberry. These brands underwent a rigorous journey of training, mentorship, and workshops, all leading to the programme’s showcase event. 

Held on October 31 in Mumbai, the CoLab Showcase, orchestrated by Mondelez India in partnership with Inc42 and Huddle, was a vibrant gathering of over 70 investors, D2C founders and industry experts. The event not only offered unique funding and networking opportunities to these emerging brands but also celebrated the evolving landscape of snacking.

CoLab Showcase 2023: Key Highlights

The CoLab Showcase kicked off with opening remarks from Sonali Mitra, Director of Strategy at Mondelez India, and Richie Gray, VP and Global Head of Mondelez Snack Futures. They shared insights into the vision behind CoLab and Mondelez’s strategies for shaping the future of snacking in India.

This was followed by a fireside chat between Nikhil Doda, cofounder and COO of Lahori Zeera and Arjun Vaidya, cofounder and partner at V3 Ventures, who delved into the unique challenges Chandigarh-based Lahori Zeera faced, its brand development journey and the hurdles encountered by early-stage F&B brands. It also explored strategies for overcoming obstacles and adapting to changing consumer preferences.

Following this, five startups took the stage to present their business ideas to an exclusive audience. The presentations were followed by engaging Q&A sessions, allowing attendees to interact directly with the featured startups.

For the last session of the day, we hosted a panel discussion with Bharat Sethi, founder and CEO of Rage Coffee; Prasun Agarwal, partner at A91 Partners; Desmond D’souza, Senior Director of Sales at Mondelez India and Sanil Sachar, founding partner at Huddle. They discussed strategies for unlocking India’s snacking market potential and the key elements for establishing a successful F&B brand. The conversation also captured the role of technology in scaling businesses, potential learnings between established and D2C brands and investor perspectives on the F&B sector.

The sessions were followed with a networking session, offering an opportunity for interaction among the cohort startups, Mondelez leaders, speakers, and attendees over food and drinks.

Events like the CoLab Showcase underscore the importance of blending tech-driven growth with traditional expertise. The collaboration between industry giants like Mondelez India, disruptive newcomers, savvy investors and experienced industry experts is vital for the growth of India’s rapidly expanding online F&B market. 

According to Inc42’s ‘State of Indian Ecommerce Report’, India’s food and FMCG market is projected to reach $68 Bn by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 25%. This market presents an excellent opportunity for both established and emerging players to combine their strengths in creating health-conscious snacks that will lead the next wave of innovation in the Indian snacking sector.


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