Startup News Magazine

How Naario, a women-led food startup is empowering women

India’s first women-led food startup aims to help millions of homemakers with the talent but no resources to realise their dreams, says Founder and CEO Anamika Pandey.

Organic food brand Naario is unique in every way. There are numerous stories of women becoming entrepreneurs and running successful businesses, but what differentiates Naario is an entirely women-owned and women-led food startup, the first of its kind in the country.

Founded in 2021 by Anamika Pandey, who was previously working at a senior position at BigBasket venture BBDaily, Naario sells organic cereals, condiments and beverages.

“We have received tremendous response. We have enrolled more than 70 partners, all women, in just six months. Our vision from day one is to emerge as a revolutionary brand, run and led by women. We want to empower any woman who has touched base with Naario as a consumer, partner, pioneer, and part of our loving community. The mission is a moonshot, but what’s life without some moonshots,” says Anamika, who was pursuing an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business but quit to launch Naario.

The startup sells muesli, jaggery powder with tea masala, filter coffee, 9-in-1 flour mix, garam masala, and immunity products.

Naario is growing at 40% month on month, and its success has also resulted in the startup raising pre-seed capital from a group of angel investors. Anamika says the success has come as a significant relief but not a surprise.

“I have always been a big believer of people and their power, especially women. I’ve also believed that if you give them the tools and autonomy, they’ll create something meaningful. Seeing that belief come to life has been very fulfilling. Seeing how so many women are building an identity for themselves through Naario, from buying their first plane tickets to experimenting with food, is highly satisfying,” she says with pride.

Incidentally, during a conversation with her mother, the idea of setting up a startup dealing in home spices and other products occurred to Anamika.

“Naario was not planned. I was at home for my birthday in December 2019. While having tea with my mother, I asked her why she did not launch the Lucknowi masala as a product. I told her people are crazy about homemade products these days, and there was a good demand for them. My mother brushed away the idea by responding to what people would say if she started working. That was the moment the idea took birth. I realised many homemakers like my mother have the talent but not the means to translate it into something meaningful. This is why Naario is a women-owned and women-led company,” says Anamika.

The young entrepreneur believes the homemaker economy in India is booming and is poised for further growth. She also notes that having taken shape during the Covid-19 pandemic, Naario is more focused on collaboration than the competition with other brands.

“We cannot outperform competitors who have been in the business for so long. We are focused on bringing more women on board and ensuring unique offerings which will automatically attract customers. I believe that if you focus on your offerings and deliver what you are promising, there’s no shortage of customers,” she says, exuding confidence.

To women who dream of having a bigger and better future, Anamika says now is as good a time as any for a women entrepreneur to get started to achieve her dream.

“They should stop worrying about what others will say and focus on their dreams. They may feel that the society is shunning them, but I can say for sure that once they become successful, the same society will welcome them with open arms,” adds Anamika