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Plant Pops: bringing a childhood snack from Mumbai global


Finalist of Bread and Jam's D2C Summit competition
'The Next Big Thing'

 

Anushi Desai Plant PopsPopped lotus seeds are described as the lovechild of crisps and popcorn and a popular snack from India. Vegan, gluten free, sustainably grown, low calorie and yet to make it to the UK, until now. 
 

Plant Pops founder Anushi grew up in Mumbai and these childhood snacks were such a staple for her family she wanted to share it with her friends in the UK and it wasn’t long before they were hooked. Starting in her kitchen she purchased the popped seeds from Indian farmers and experimented with creating different flavours.  

Her business grew through wholesale, selling directly into shops and sampling through local communities and offices. As a result of the pandemic Anushi had to shift her focus to D2C drive sampling online. She introduced a range of trial boxes, which were more low cost and influenced quicker purchase decisions. She also partnered with a few other companies to have plant pop samples bundled with other products to reach more consumers. Anushi also utilized the Amazon platform to offer free samples and build up her product reviews.  

In addition to her Amazon and Shopify store, Plant Pops is also available through other eCommerce stores that offered drop shipping options. 
 

“D2C has the biggest potential and making consumers part of the journey and decisions we make”  

Keeping production at the source
 

Plant pops rangeAnushi felt strongly about keeping the farming and production in India as it’s where the snack originated from and felt it was important to stay true to its routes and give back to the community. They work with Action Village India where a portion of profits from each pack goes to farmers and their families in Bihar, India where the seeds are sourced from. They also raised money for Covid relief as without India they wouldn’t have a brand or product. 
 
Product quality is extremely important to Anushi and the production process required for popped lotus seeds is best carried out in India. The seeds are hand harvested after monsoon season then roasted and seasoned in small batches to ensure taste and texture. 

 

 

Plant Pops logo

The magic of popped lotus seeds is in the texture and that’s what makes it satisfying. Brand is important but product is extremely important and has to be right to start with.


Export and logistics
 

Plant Pops smoked chilliPlant Pops receive a lot of inbound enquiries for export and currently export to the Middle East and Europe.  
 
“There is a huge opportunity for small brands doing something different. Typically the US, UK and Australia are sought after and known for their innovative products and are packaged well ” says Anushi.  
 
If you are thinking about exporting just ensure before starting that you can supply a couple of palettes as a minimum order so it can be consolidated with other small orders for shipping. The British Chambers of Commerce are extremely helpful and so are the Department for International Trade who can provide an advisor to consult and answer any questions.  
  
Brexit hasn’t had much of an impact on supply as their lotus seeds come from India however exporting to Europe did decline for a short period. Freight has caused the biggest impact to business due to shipping container price increases (tripling in price) which has affected costing.


 

Plant Pops' top tips

Tip 1


It’s possible to start small and ensure you get lots of feedback. We trialed 15 flavours initially before we got to our starting three flavours. 

Tip 2


Explore options to offer customers different price points to drive purchase.