“All the decisions every person on this planet makes impacts the other and the environment around us,” muses Akash Sajith, CEO-Founder of Living Food Co. And no, he’s not talking about a butterfly’s wings’ imagined impact on world events, but the very real crisis of climate change.This, combined with the broken chain that is most supply and logistics in India, made Sajith and his cofounders launch Living Food Co., perhaps the first of its kind venture in the country, which specialises in providing “absurdly fresh food brought directly to your doorstep with the least amount of mileage.”
On offer are everyday fruit and vegetables as well as an ever-expanding pantry of freshly baked breads, snacks, herbs, spices, teas, and a lot more where that came from, which is the farm or artisanal baker closest to you.The Living Food Co., which started operations in Sajith’s Bengaluru apartment in 2018, began with growing and supplying basic veggies, but grown using hydroponics (“and nobody here had heard of that back then”) and delivered on the same day as the order came in. The company gradually built up a following in Bengaluru, followed by Hyderabad, using the unusual method of offering monthly subscriptions for their produce, instead of one-time orders.
“We wanted our customers to get hooked, in a good way to that same quality of produce every time. That way we would know what to expect and grow accordingly, while customers could get regular weekly or monthly supplies at a better rate. It was a win-win for all of us,” explains Sajith.Among these winners, fortunately, were some of the cities’ leading families, including venture capitalists and technocrats, and they were sold on Sajith and his team’s vision, which has allowed the brand to scale up. Sajith and his colleagues however are taking their time with it.
“We are very aware of our footprint, which is why we have only just started shipping all India, and that too only some things. We built up our supply system over time till we felt comfortable in applying it to other things and places,” elaborates Sajith, recalling, “When we had gotten comfortable with our initial operations in Bengaluru, we asked our community what they would like next, and they said fresh bread. We found the best baker in the city, based on their recommendations and our research and tied up with them to bake only as per us getting an order. We have zero food wastage because we do not manufacture in bulk nor do excessive cold storage.”
Similarly, for all its products, whether micro greens, handmade pasta or vegan chocolates, the company procures exclusively from top local farmers and food artisans, who use environmentally sustainable practices and share the brand’s commitment to quality and freshness.“This creates a virtuous cycle. Because we are seeing so much traction on our platform, we are being approached by farmers and artisans from across the country, who want to list their products on our platform, instead of the major, though more commercial, aggregators,” signs off Sajith. A winning win-win!