Gruhas Gusto

How Gut Issues Led Shalin Talajia to Form Gujarat’s First Successful Plant Based Brand

In 2018, Shalin Talajia, Founder and CEO of Grabenord, found himself at a health crossroads, grappling with multiple issues that severely affected his life and his confidence. With high cholesterol at the age of 26, topped off by extreme indigestion, constant bloating and acne, Shalin was miserable, unproductive and completely perplexed. 

Help finally came in the form of veganism when his wife Dipika urged him to eliminate dairy from his diet. In just under a year, Shalin’s cholesterol levels dropped back to normal, and he was free of indigestion and acidity. 

Amazed at the effects of soy and almond milks on his system, Shalin decided to delve further into plant-based alternatives with his wife, and was decidedly surprised when all his gut problems vanished. This pivotal circumstance laid the foundation for Grabenord’s mission – to revolutionise the average Indian’s daily regimen with healthier, sustainable, cruelty-free products. 

Shalin’s path intersected with Nirav’s during their corporate tenure, and their shared health experience ignited a spark of entrepreneurship. Their quest for innovative plant-based solutions led them to a chance encounter at the Gulfoods exhibition—an event that would shape Grabenord’s trajectory. 

Setting up a startup with a work partner who was already handling sales for FMCG products seemed a no-brainer however it was not without its share of challenges and was met with initial skepticism from stakeholders. While taking the brand to 40+ B2C shows within 2 years across the country, a strange resistance towards the acceptance of vegan foods was encountered. “So, we flipped the story, “ says Shalin. “ We established Grabenord as a delicious plant-based and cholesterol-free brand. This did open up a bigger audience, even those Non-Vegetarian people who wanted to attain a healthy lifestyle became our customers.” 

Out of the spread of dips, sauces and cheese launched in 2021, Kombucha became an integral hero. “As our expertise was distribution & sales, we tried approaching a lot of people to make Kombucha for us but nothing worked out & hence we started brewing it at home” says Nirav.
“After successful trials & sampling we launched Kombucha in the market and scaled up the process. We did this because Kombucha acted as a catalyst to resolve Shalin’s gut problems when he adopted a 100% dairy free diet,” he adds.

The brand then went on to successfully launch cheese and butters and much to their surprise, saw a lot more traction for the latter. “The dips, spreads & sauces market is not a need based necessity for a consumer whereas products like cheese & butters were, hence once we had the correct formulation by 2022 we managed to launch them and saw great traction for both of these categories. Which made us confident on building this category further,” says Shalin. 

In just 3 years, Grabenord has seen tremendous growth – a customer base of 20K plus customers and a 40% monthly repeat order rate rate. “Our salted butter is the hero product & it is the most loved one. Consumers say it is the closest non-dairy butter they have had,” says Nirav. Grabenord has also solidified its position in the market, with products stocked in leading retail chains like Nature’s Basket, Reliance Signature, and Fresh Pik Stores, Big Basket & many A+ General & Modern Retail Chains across India. 

Grabenord’s commitment to innovation has caught the attention of key stakeholders, leading to a significant milestone in its journey. Through a rigorous screening process, Grabenord secured a seed fund of 10 Lakhs from the government as a grant under the Startup Srujan initiative by I-Hub. This endorsement not only validated Grabenord’s mission but also provided crucial support for its growth and development.

As the brand continues to grow, it is focusing on establishing strategic partnerships and accolades from prestigious programs like Gruhas Gusto, which is backed by advisors from Gruhas, Anthill Ventures, Jubilant Family Office & DLF Family Office.

Grabenord’s journey from personal health revelation to pioneering plant-based enterprise is a testament to the transformative power of purpose-driven entrepreneurship. With a focus on quality, innovation, and holistic well-being, Grabenord is not just reshaping the dairy landscape—it’s forging a path towards a healthier, more compassionate future for all.