“More and more people are keen to embrace a healthier way of life”

Mr. Manuj Terapanthi Founder & CEO, OrganicShop.in talks about his vision to create global marketplaces for organic products. In an attempt to instill the organic way of life to the country and to the world at large, Organic shop started with the widest range of certified organic, natural and bio products in India. Excerpts:

Mr. Manuj Terapanthi Founder & CEO, OrganicShop.in
Mr. Manuj Terapanthi Founder & CEO, OrganicShop.in

1. How did you come up with Organicshop.in?

The idea of Organic Shop struck me 7 years ago when I was in the travel industry. Ours was a website which gave detailed information about Rajasthan as the top tourist destination in India. At that time, people had started to know a very little about organics and even little about what brands are available. Towards the beginning of 2011, I was convinced that there exists a huge potential for Organics in India. In a century where we are not sure about the food we eat, clothes we wear, cosmetics we apply, we are absolutely in the danger zone and directly prone to many serious health hazards. The idea was so strong that I started to think on the lines of developing something easy and accessible for anybody throughout in India. I was sure of one thing- people will buy healthy alternatives given that they know the products are genuine and most importantly, available at the stretch of hand.

Hence, Organicshop.in was formed to make organics available to the people at large sitting online who are informed, aware and full of exposure.

2. You also have a company Infopark, a computer training. Tell us about it

The name of the company was CyberPark, a web company formed in 1997. The idea was to bring in computer training and website development/marketing. We were franchisee for Indiamart for Rajasthan to market web solutions. However, with the travel industry booming and strategic alliances with the travel majors, we focused more towards the other businesses and hence, the idea was shelved after five years of successful operations.

3. What is the standard of rating organic products in India? Is there anagency that certifies them?

In India, the APEDA regulates the certification of organic products according to the National Standards for Organic Production (NSOP). The NSOP standards are recognised by the European Commission and Switzerland as equivalent to their countries’ standards. Similarly, the USDA has recognised NPOP conformity assessment procedures of accreditation as equivalent to that in the US. This certification makes it possible to export organic products from India. Organic food products manufactured and exported from India are stamped with the India Organic certification mark issued by the APEDA, which has recognised 11 inspection certification bodies, some of which are branches of foreign certification bodies while others are local bodies.

“In a century where we are not sure about the food we eat, clothes we wear, cosmetics we apply, we are absolutely in the danger zone and directly prone to many serious health hazards.”

4. How fast is the organic products market growing in India and globally?

The industry has witnessed a transformational shift as more and more people are keen to embrace a healthier way of life. By 2015, the global industry for organic products is expected to grow to $1 billion. The industry globally is growing at 14-15 per cent, while the Indian industry is growing at 20 per cent, year on year. Demand from developing markets is increasing, which is a good sign.

5. Are they inclined towards organic products or are still exploring them?

The market for organic products is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20-22 per cent. With rising spending power of the growing middle class in India, and increased awareness about chemical-free food, the organic and natural products sector will grow significantly. The global organic food and beverages market is expected to grow from $57.2 billion in 2010 to $104.5 billion by 2015, with a CAGR of 12.8 per cent. India exported 135 products last year (2012-13), a total volume of 1,65,262 metric ton (MT) including 4,985 MT organic textiles. The organic agri export realisation was around 374 million USD including 160 USD organic textiles registering 4.38 per cent growth over the previous year.

Organic Shop registers an average 20 orders a day and has 30-40 per cent repeat customers. The average ticket size ranges between Rs.800 and Rs 1,000. We have witnessed the largest chunk of sales from Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. South India, as a region, contributes heavily to the number of orders. States-wise, Punjab emerges as one of the greatest consumers of organic products.

6. How do you choose brands to partner with on your website?

Any brand or producer of products that are completely 100 per cent organic can sell their products on our platform. We retail these products across India once we are certain these products are 100 per cent organic. We bring to the table more than 6,000 products. We market these products by also spreading awareness about the advantages of using these products. Local players in our marketplace get complete end-to-end assistance in the marketing of their products, which they otherwise would not have had access to.

7. Where do you see Organicshop.in in the next few years?

Organicshop.in is envisioned to become the largest global provider of organics. Organicshop.in will be a facilitator and an important part of the entire supply chain of organics both in India and globally.