After two years of continuous travel, having become used to airline food, Jaideep Sippy got a wake-up call when he discovered he had a cyst in the colon that laid him up in hospital at the end of 2009. There was no single eureka moment or one of epiphany but when he left the hospital after eight days, he knew his lifestyle had to change.
In January 2010, Sippy moved on from being the vice-president of flight charter company BJETS, turned vegetarian and decided to go back to his first love, food.
The 30-year-old, who had worked in places such as Mumbai, Delhi, Singapore and Hyderabad, decided to start his new food company in a city he once thought of as “back and beyond; an old-age home”—Pune.
Sippy’s company, The Style Kitchen, will distribute whole-grain, high-fibre and healthy food under the brand name Missisippy, a tribute to his wife. Starting month-end, Missisippy will launch its first product—a high-fibre cereal with amaranth as the key ingredient. Called Missisippy Life, the product, to be sold in 300g packs priced at Rs 30 each, will be available in five kiosks across the city, mainly on corporate campuses.
Wholesome: Jaideep Sippy’s initial targets are young working people / Photo: Mint
Designed as a single-portion quick meal on the go, it can be mixed with cold or warm milk or yogurt or in “any of 30 possible combinations” in a recyclable cup. It will come initially in six flavours: Original, Coffee Hazelnut, Banana Walnut, Apple Cinnamon, Kesar Pista and Berryburst.
“It will have 30% of your daily requirement of protein and it offers a fourth of your daily requirement in fibre,” says Sippy. “Within four-five days, you will begin to see results in better skin, hair, nails, sleep and energy. Over a period of time a fibre boost can reduce your risk of digestive cancers, cholesterol, blood pressure, CHD (chronic heart disease) and even diabetes.”
Sippy realizes that like any new product, the future of his venture will depend on consumer feedback. He has already set himself a period of 45 days after the launch to gauge reaction and make whatever changes are necessary. “The key to building any brand is standardization,” he says.
Sippy’s pre-production preparation included working with focus groups, which he divided into five categories—the urban young who had recently moved to Pune, active sportspeople, women with children, people retired from the Armed Forces, and an older lot, including some with heart diseases. The product was well received, Sippy says, except by the oldest lot.
He chose Pune because of its young population—students, entrepreneurs, workers in the IT sector, people who needed affordable, healthy food without going to a lot of trouble to get it. “This city has a great food culture, evident from the number of restaurants and hotels here. Plus there are so many people, NRIs (non-resident Indians) in particular, interested in investing in new businesses,” says Sippy.
Based on responses and results, Sippy knows what he wants to do in the future—take the product to other cities, retail it, and also sell online and through a toll-free number. Sippy says he wants a new product every month—there are six products already in the pipeline, with 14 more in his head, each in three-six flavours.
“If we are in four-five cities by the end of the year, I would be extremely proud of the deal. Eventually, I want to retail it in a phased manner,” he adds.