In the latest interview with a female entrepreneur in our series marking World IP Day 2023, Nikita Jajodia of Nourish Organic Foods discusses the importance of branding, the threat from copycats and the significance of certification.
What is your role at Nourish Organic Foods and how has your journey been so far?
I currently handle all business operations at Nourish Organics, including sales, marketing, operations, and human resources. I also explore new opportunities for the company, whether to do with point of sale or new product development. My journey with the company started five years ago, and it has been an extremely interesting one filled with varied learnings. I feel passionate about our product range, created by my mother, and believe the Indian market is slowly
but steadily moving towards the understanding of truly healthy, balanced and chemical-free foods.
What makes Nourish Organics distinctive?
Nourish Organics entered the market in 2008, much before the market trend towards healthy eating began. The product range was created by my mother, who already lived the life of holistic wellness and clean eating, with a focus on providing maximum nutrition through a balanced variety of ingredients, superior ingredient quality and, of course, great taste. Because of the values this brand was created upon, I truly believe Nourish Organics is the only company providing well-informed products with a commitment to making premium, uncompromised, healthy snacks and breakfast. Nourish Organics also provides a wide range of products to fit different times and needs, therefore working for a wide range of people, ages and lifestyles. Our commitment to providing a rich mix of nutrition with great taste, and always being a product-first brand, makes Nourish Organics distinctive.
How important is branding and marketing to your success?
With the intense competition that exists in the market today, branding and marketing only become more important year on year. Though I would say that branding and marketing play a large role in allowing a larger audience to notice you, but it is not what determines long-term success. The only metric for that is the amount of customers that keep coming back to purchase your product once they have experienced it. However, it is impossible to reach a wide range of customers without the support of branding and marketing and, therefore, this is definitely key.
What role do IP rights (trademarks, designs, copyright, trade dress, unfair competition) play in protecting the distinctive brands, packaging etc?
IP rights are extremely important, especially for a brand like ours that was in the market before many competitors following the trend of the Indian customer moving towards a healthier lifestyle came in. We have had many companies try to copy our exact product, while many have actually created entire copy-cat companies. In all these situations, our IP rights have been essential to keeping our brand and product range protected.
How have you been able to use IP rights to stop copyists?
We have used IP rights about four to five times over the years in order to protect our brand name and product range. We have had copy attempts on our brand name, seeds product range, and most of all, our cookies range with brands actually attempting to copy the entire recipe, product packaging, and product name. We have been able to solve these problems amicably, but only after sharing the amount the copyist would have to pay Nourish Organics if they did not immediately retract the product. Of course copy-cat brands are always looking for loopholes to continue the plagiarism, but fortunately, if we are properly protected, there is really not much they can do.
Certification is very important for organic products. How are your products certified and what are the challenges of using terms such as “organic” or making certain health claims?
There are strict laws around the certification of organic products, and overall food products. To be certified organic, a product must be using above 95% organic ingredients. We have nine products in our range that have this certification, and it is clearly shown at the product of the pack. For any product containing above 70% organic ingredients, the brand can claim that the product is “made using organic ingredients” but will not contain the certified organic product certification. These laws are great in determining the nature of the product, and therefore, it is always better to buy products that follow FSSAI guidelines strongly, as to avoid the common marketing tricks that many companies use to confuse the customer. It is also important for the customer to familiarise themselves with the laws of FSSAI so that they are able to decode the back-of-pack labels better, and truly understand the nature of the food product they are buying, rather than simply believing the bold words printed on the front of the pack. As the customer becomes more intelligent with their health, they naturally gravitate towards honest products such as ours.
What does the future hold for the company?
We have a lot of plans in place, especially in the space of product innovation. Nourish Organics will always stay true to providing the highest quality and most well-informed product range in the market. We will maintain complete transparency, and as always, stay away from “fad” based marketing, keeping our customer and their needs at the forefront. We hope to continue to expand our range into more accessible products, that fit well the needs of the active, urban consumer of today.
What advice would you give to any women entrepreneurs in your industry?
Don’t be afraid to do it your way. I feel the notions of how work is done and the systems within which it is done are all up for innovation. I think women have a tendency of doubting their way, or going along with the way it has been done before, but in our current generation, innovation first within the workspace itself is what is rewarded in turn in the marketplace. I also think women need to become more proactive and willing to help each other succeed, just as men have done for centuries. We tend to try to do it on our own, but community helps, especially when experiences and learnings can be shared across for greater
Nikita Jajodia has been key member of management of the company since 2018. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego where she majored in psychology. During college, she started Grounded, a fashion brand selling made-in-India leather goods, including slippers and duffel bags. Grounded used virtual reality with footage of India to connect consumers to artisans.
At Nourish, she has used her experience of e-commerce and retail to develop the online presence by launching a website and Instagram page. Today, she looks after all activities at Nourish Organics, focusing on marketing, sales and operations. Outside of work, she enjoys accompanying her mom on treks and nature activities. She is also a dog-mom and enjoys all things health and wellness.