MSME SuperPower:

Bringing the Himalayas to Homes: The Success Story of Naturally Pahadi

Preeti Bhandari

Founder, Naturally Pahadi, Dehradun, Uttarakhand

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Imagine standing at the foothills of the majestic Himalayas, witnessing the dedication of local farmers as they cultivate the land to produce some of the most nutritious and flavourful ingredients. It is a sight that captures not just the beauty of nature but also the pressing need for sustainable practices.

In today’s India, the urgency for sustainable agricultural solutions like organic farming, agroforestry, and crop rotation grows, most of these remain far from mainstream. I saw the confluence of opportunity and responsibility here. I envisioned Naturally Pahadi, a brand poised not just to bring the goodness of the mountains to your plate but also to champion a more sustainable and conscious approach to eating. And thus, began my journey…

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My deep-rooted desire was not just to offer products but to create a movement, one that would be part of the broader farm-to-table wave sweeping across India. This movement, which emphasises sourcing directly from local farmers, not only ensures the nutritional integrity of food but also supports local economies, reduces environmental footprints, and upholds age-old farming traditions – it is also preserves our rich cultural and agricultural diversity.

As a design consultant in the development sector, my dreams often revolved around empowerment – giving local farmers in Uttarakhand a platform and a voice. Naturally Pahadi is not just a brand; it is my commitment to thousands of farmers.

A partnership that is working towards sharing profits, promoting the brand collectively, and in the process, making a positive impact on both the providers and recipients. With a background in working closely with Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and an MBA in Product and Brand Management, I felt equipped and motivated to make this dream a tangible reality.

Discovering the potential

I discovered that the climate of Uttarakhand was perfect for growing a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and millets. Some of these products however were not as popular in North India as they were in the southern states and Maharashtra. Recognizing the potential of this untapped market, I founded Naturally Pahadi in September 2022, partnering with two farmer groups.

The name Naturally Pahadi embodies my vision of developing products deeply rooted in the goodness of the Himalayas. The high nutritional profile of the products, the use of local recipes, and organic raw materials grown in the pristine Himalayan region are some of the USPs of the brand. I also introduced fortified flours to the product range and adopted clean labelling to promote the brand’s values.

Growth with the Walmart Vriddhi program

Naturally Pahadi was incubated at IIT Kashipur, and my network helped the farmers I worked with to acquire the necessary equipment for processing in collection centres. My previous experience of working with government organisations helped me in identifying production lines, forging strategic partnerships, and establishing a brand presence. Seeking further guidance, I joined the Walmart Vriddhi program, recommended by a friend. The program validated my business direction, helped streamline my operations, and guided me in interpreting sales data, identifying priority markets, and elevating hero products, such as fortified corn flour and herbal teas.

With the Walmart Vriddhi Program, it became easier to onboard Flipkart’s marketplace and gain access to the pan-India market. Today, Naturally Pahadi has a total of 14 SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit) available in physical stores in Dehradun, and online, through the brand’s website and Flipkart. The products include herbal tea, fortified flours, millets, and ready-to-eat foods, such as jhanghore ki kheer, barnyard millet dosa mix, and ragi pancake mix. My company has also partnered with a government college in Almora to research how to grow local varieties of seeds more effectively and I have filed patents for dandelion growth.

Thanks to the Walmart Vriddhi program, Naturally Pahadi’s sales has zoomed 300%. I also plan to use my newfound knowledge to strengthen the company’s digital marketing initiatives and expand the product offerings. With one-on-one mentorship from Vriddhi, I am excited to continue growing my business and sharing the natural goodness of the Himalayas with the world.

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