Co-Founder at Forbidden Foods Pvt. Ltd.
VictoryTales with its objective to strive and grope vigorously to bring some of the meaningful and powerful stories from around the world to empower and motivate our growing community of entrepreneurs, this time we are introducing Mr. Tanmoy Mukherjee, Co-Founder of Forbidden Foods Pvt Ltd.
Mr Tanmoy Mukherjee attained vast professional experience while working with world renowned companies like Coca Cola, ITC, Bausch & Lomb, RIL and Lavazza before venturing into his own company Forbidden Foods Pvt Ltd. Tanmoy is an effective communicator with excellent relationship building and interpersonal skills having strong analytical, problem solving and organizational abilities.
Having experience in leading teams for driving overall market development, Mr. Tanmoy attained Positioning with Revenue Generation and Profitability besides having vision and roadmap with the objective to develop a strategic footprint for driving profitable business in emerging markets .
About the company -
Forbidden Foods Pvt. Ltd. aspires to delight the new-age Indian consumer with innovative and contemporary snacking products. The company is introducing a range of packaged snacks under a fun, exciting, and quirky brand identity that resonates with young and discerning consumers. Forbidden Foods is in the packaged snacks business with snacking options that are as healthy as they are unique and delicious.
Forbidden Foods is using an innovative popping technology to prepare for its customers a Gluten-Free non-baked, non-fried, popped chips which are light, crunchy, and flavorful chips. As per the company’s commitment to its customers that their chips are 60% less fat compared to fried potato chips, with high-quality Sunflower oil used for garnishing.
Our exclusive interview with Mr. Tanmoy Mukherjee
Where did the idea to start something like this come from? Please also talk us through your background and your journey as an entrepreneur;
Actually, the journey started when Ankur Jain, co-founder at Bira met me at Reliance Retail where he joined under my tutelage for training. I was mentoring him for the Rural Business Hub model wherein we had a great time as we hit it off.
Then Ankur left to pursue his own business interests and I later joined Lavazza and Barista as the Brand Integration Manager for Italy. Whilst at Lavazza almost after a span of 5 years I left to join Ankur in his business interests.I was in touch with him.
In meanwhile, Ankur had been concentrating on his business interest and was pursuing the beer game relying solely on imports from Belgium, US, and Spain. Anuj who was Ankurs batch mate at school also joined up after returning from a stint at UBS in London. Thus our journey at Bira began.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship over a job?
Having been at the helm of affairs in Coca Cola, ITC, Bausch & Lomb, and then Lavazza I was getting bored and waylaid in my professional world, a sort of cocooned existence. But for want of a break, an opportunity and the like to change the status quo of life as I continued to toil in the inane large corporation marketing guided by SOPs and best practices with market integration.
There was nothing to look forward to in this mundane 24X7 existence. But as the saying goes luck is opportunity + patience + divine intervention, Ankur called me one day in my Lavazza stint and told me to chuck all this and try to do something which will have my footprint and stamp. Sounded exciting, challenging, and differentiated and therefore I opted for it and now I can never aspire to do a regular job.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
Three factors will always play a full-frontal role in entrepreneurship: constant challenges, yearning to go for the unreachable, and quenching your thirst to create something new out of the ordinary.
These are the guiding principles that, according to me, should always accompany your thought process. However, the big umbrella factor always is: Fire In The Belly. These are the key drivers
What’s your source of motivation?
One key takeaway from our ancient spiritual knowledge and the wisdom that they gave us is the constant yearning to look ‘inside’ instead of ‘outside’. By this I mean you will have to discover that force, the spirit inside your own self to egg yourself on in this journey
Motivation is a driving force that runs on the fuel of passion, Knowledge, and ability to look beyond. Anyone & anybody can be an entrepreneur provided he or she can imbibe these 3 principles inside one’s self. Though you need externalities then’ fortune favors the brave’.
How many hours a day do you work on average?
Time management is a myth and oft used word which has become the fashion to denote how industrious one can be.
If you can skillfully assign time/job matrices to something on the line of Steven Covey’s, you can make things easier. I usually devote 10 hours a day at the max and try to mix business with pleasure i.e taking time out on some weekends
What is the uniqueness of your startup?
The game-changing word is Disruption which motivates the Consumer packaged Goods space.
Uniqueness depends on many factors: business category, the segment in that category, the competition in that category, the current players, not in that order though. What you have to look for is uncontested space, unmet needs for the category consumers, and the current offerings.
Once that is done then you devise a price positioning matrix that gives you the open spaces to work on. For eg. In the case of BRB chips, we found white spaces in some unique offerings as compared to the mundane chips which have been going on for some time, no product differentiation, and value-added for the consumers.
How do you handle the pressure and manage stress?
I am reminded of a line in the movie Border: “Zindagi ka doosra naam problem hai”. Therefore pressures and linked stresses that are part and parcel of a daily work living
Managing it is both, easy and difficult in a startup:
Easier part: First being clear of your work duties, your deliverables, and communication flow. For instance, have daily morning meetings to resolve interdepartmental issues, any differences, and the usual flow. The basic step is to remove irritants and friction
The difficult part is of interpersonal dynamics of the co-founders, expectations that can crop up linked to some new issue and financials
How do you generate new ideas?
Generation of new ideas is a more strategic part of the business
It is usually done amongst the co-founders and which is obviously reliant on some key learnings that one has found lately, some new insight form our consumers and inputs form our own team
New ideas primarily should result in new product development or some key messaging or distribution issues or facilitating business in a better cost-effective manner
Therefore to sum up we need to generate new ideas to increase our value for the consumer, reach and distribution and the need to bring in cost effectiveness
How did you come up with the name of your company?
The name was more of a brain wave which one of our co-founders came up with one day in the morning to name it Forbidden Foods.
It is linked to many facets: of course the first is the fruit as per the Bible signifying the need to break the molds of good and evil, next comes the work Forbidden which means that we are part of the angst of the youth(primarily our target is years 15 -25) and this age group loves to play anti-institution i.e thinking against the current wave.
BRB was our take on this kind of a product type and brand as a result of this thinking and is actually an acronym: Be Right Back
This relies on the prevalent SMS lingo in the current generation, the pointer towards taking any time, anywhere, and anyhow to break what you are doing and take a break. Just relive the moments with BRB and it is like a pause to taste and reflect on things around you
What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs?
Well, it is a mindset. Our current education brings about pressures, forcible competition, and expectations that are asynchronous with the current situation.
Therefore there is no urge to ‘create’ but to ‘conform’
However, to inculcate that feeling of creating something out of our daily mundane existence is the key. We have to find our hidden talents, our passion, and the desire to seek something in life that not only creates a source of income but is also sustainable and creates opportunities for others. Because it is in giving that you receive.
Having said that there are a lot of externalities that govern our world but the trick is to escape these and carve your own space.