Every entrepreneur starts with a goal “Let me change the world”. One vision gives energy to not like anything else, in short it is the drug that most of us get hooked on.
In our case, we quit our jobs to “make the world a healthier place.” We began our journey triggered by the loss of our immediate family members to lifestyle problems. We thought, if anyone can get people to EAT HELP and KEEP FIIG then it can just be us.
We thought we had learned from two years in China: A place where most people eat right at the right time and cooked properly.
First, we went on to change the issue of food availability in a place where we all spend our 50 percent of our lives, at work. 12 months and liters of green tea CHANGED us & not the world.
By utilizing the corporate network we had, we believed that companies need to change how they view the health of their employees, 18 months and many HR meetings CHANGED us because our vision was not in line with corporate.
What we had left with us then were some products and some consumer knowledge, we thought NOBODY sticks to the core and offers healthy food online. We went to change that and build an e-commerce for packaged food & only food not supplements. Our inability to understand a business where unit economy was not within reach CHANGED us again, not the world 🙂
So after almost 6 years of trying to change the world and instead the world change us, we thought we would bite another bullet. This trip gave glimpses of what customers want / how it could taste / why people lose confidence in packaged food. There is no brand out there that talks straight and thinks straight. That was when at the end of 2016 we thought let’s CHANGE it and be TRUE in all aspects of the food value chain. If you ask us then, were we confident?
Of course about our products but had our doubts if we would change the world this time.
But then someone said when you have a clear WHY, then life becomes a little easier. We had a clear why and we put it on our name, “TRUE” ELEMENTS. We stuck to our principles and set higher inspiring goals. But this time, the goals were not to change the world, but for us. We wanted to be TRUE, that’s all.
1. When we could not put conventional dried fruit in our muesli, because it comes with sugar and ascorbic acid. We went looking for a solution, “Freeze dried fruit. It was 6 times more expensive, but we had a why to answer. 4 years later today almost everyone has moved to it OR is considering it. You would not have noticed the colorful sugary fruits are from the past, yes we changed it.
2. Because we used TRUE as a guiding principle for everything, we thought our customers should know what they are eating for “T”. It made us build technology that made it possible for our consumers to see details, travel and lab reports for all the ingredients we use in every package from farm to table. We never realized how big it was until we were globally ranked among the top 5 CLEAN label groups by US-based non-profit Startup insights.
When one of our mentors is challenged, let’s clean a pancake / can mix that is whole grain and even without baking soda / soda. We said, the challenge is accepted, now the world has 100 percent pure pancake / can mix. We were told last week, a large MNC food lab tested our pancake mix🙂. Yes, it is the change you have dreamed of.
4. Our quest to keep the ingredients on the back of the package to a minimum gave us a SINGLE INGREDIENT breakfast made from our humble JOWAR, 100 percent jowar. It is sweet, crunchy and has industry-leading bowl life and it gives us patents as well. We had a breakfast with an ingredient for the world.
5. When we saw the amount of plastic we generate, we felt that something had to be done here. This led us to offer our products in 100 percent biodegradable corn starch packaging from our website, the first from India. Hope this moves the needle for everyone.
6. Last week we also became the global first food brand to be certified by both the WHOLE GAIN COUNCIL & CLEAN LABEL PROJECT. FSSAI (Govt Food Food Body) shared this news from their social media, it is the effect we dreamed of.
Now back to the original question. We changed the world, yes when we looked at the above areas and many many more that we could brag about, we realized that this time we changed the world.
Being TRUE made us change ourselves and it is our guiding power, which is so embedded in you that
This enables our team to carry out no contract work and everything is rolling out throughout the organization OR
It helped us convince our product development and quality team to make our wording public through customer traceability.
Many such decisions that make us who we are, TRUE Elements.
What has changed in our strategy compared to what we used to be before True Elements is, do not go out to change the world, just change things around you and give your team a solid purpose to change things around them. The composite effect of this when your purpose is so strong that you would see the world change. We may not spend much $$$ on customer acquisitions, but it feels good when half of the brands out there are looking at you and getting your way.
But we are still humble experimenters, because you did not change the world, you only gave the purpose for the people around you to change.
-Sreejith Moolayil is one of the founders of True Elements. The views expressed are personal
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