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Retail Success In The Age Of Sustainability - The Organic World

The Indian organic food market, valued at $815 million in 2020, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 24% over the next five years.

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As the Founder and Managing Director of The Organic World, a Bengaluru-based, non-franchisee, multi-brand organic store chain, Gaurav Manchanda is from the new breed of Entrepreneurs who firmly believes in responsible retailing. His retail brand has been making healthier, cleaner, and sustainable choices easily accessible to consumers and driving the growth of organic in India.

“Through the pandemic, we have noticed a surge in the demand for organic fruits and vegetables as well as other organic and natural products. This acceleration in demand has been noticed not just at the individual level, but at the overall industry level, suggesting this has evolved into a key trend,” says Manchanda, who is all set to launch 10 more stores and expand to other cities in South India by the summer of 2022”.

According to market research, the Indian organic food market, valued at $815 million in 2020, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 24% over the next five years. By then, Manchanda contends, responsible retailers will have to take cognisance of the industry evolution and design strategies to ensure that businesses understand and minimise their environmental impact. Besides the food sector, this also applies to retailers in the personal care, child care and home care products spaces.

Here are 6 ways of going green and growing as a sustainable business, The Organic World way:

#1 Mind the source: The Organic World sources vegetables from organic-certified farms that follow organic and sustainable farming practices, thereby ensuring the health of the soil, water and the environment. “We source most of the fruits from our own farm – Mapletree Farm in Hosur, one of the pioneers in organic farming in India. We also source from other farms in Nelamangala, Haveri, Kodaikanal and Shimla. All the partner farms have been vetted by us to ensure they follow the strictest organic and sustainable farming practices,” informs Manchanda.

#2 Upcycle the waste: Small steps can make a big difference. The Organic World doesn’t trash unsold fruits and vegetables; they are sent to farms and used as cow fodder. “We have a small, but growing zero-waste section across our stores – a small step to try and reduce our plastic footprint,” adds the entrepreneur.

#3 Embrace electric alternatives: Currently, 60% of The Organic World’s last mile delivery is via electric vehicles. “We are aiming to achieve 100% electric vehicle delivery in five years,” maintains Manchanda.

#4 Leverage latest technology: Using smartphones, farmers can get access to data from on-farm sensors and information related to cropping patterns, sustainable farming practices and weather updates. Similarly, blockchain technology can help build a traceability solution that ensures complete transparency right from the source across the supply chain. “Technology can be used to plug the gap in supply chain inconsistencies. One of the ways (a trend that is growing) is creation of digital platforms to directly connect the farmer with the consumer,” notes Manchanda.

#5 Make a commitment: The Organic World has created a unique ‘Not In Our Aisle List’ – a list of 25 (and expanding) ingredients that have been banned from their stores. The list includes popular ingredients, such as trans-fat (found in commercially fried and baked products), phthalates, sulfates and parabens (found in beauty and personal care products), sodium benzoate (a common preservative) and high fructose corn syrup (a common sweetener), among others.

“Consumers are now more aware; they read the labels to see just what goes into their food before making their buying decision,” says the entrepreneur, who wants his customers to know that the products on their shelves live up to a higher standard than industry-established norms.

#6 Collaborate with right partners: The Organic World partners only with brands who share their vision to offer chemical- and preservative-free better choices to the consumer. “We work with local brands, SMEs, women entrepreneurs – brands who share our vision – and give them a platform to compete against the big box retailers,” states Manchanda.