The Top Women Owned Businesses of 2023 – Mishry
Praised and celebrated, today and everyday by Team Mishry. Women founders that are making lives better, one food product at a time.
Our reviews are research-based, and all trials and testings are conducted in-house over days and weeks. We have a strict no-free-sample policy to ensure our reviews are fair and impartial.
India’s food market is growing at a steady pace, with health being the prime focus. Wishful thinking and innovation combined, here’s how you can eat your cake and have it too.
This International Women’s Day, we did a round-up of some praiseworthy women owned businesses in the food and beverage space that have been tried and tested by Mishry.
From healthier meals to filling snacks, here are all the products we reviewed, loved, and recommended to our readers.
Table of Contents
1. Yoga Bar
Bangalore, India | Yogabars.in
‘Made with love by two sisters’ YogaBar came into existence when this sister duo marked the shortage of healthy, nutrient-dense snacks. Their journey started off with nutritional bars. The USP was wholesome, nutritious ingredients that you would use in your kitchen too.
Today, they have diversified into various categories like oats, peanut butter, muesli with an extensive variety.
Yoga Bar was founded in 2014, by the sister duo- Suhasini and Anindita Sampath.
One of the first products we reviewed by Yoga Bar was their Turmeric + Ginger muesli, followed by another variant from the same category (Fruit + Nuts).
We LOVED the Dark Chocolate Oats they offer. The peanut butter doesn’t just have a clean ingredient list but tastes fresh too.
Jaipur, India | gladful.in
Her son’s protein-deficient diet had Gladful founder, Parul Sharma looking for protein-dense snacks in the Indian market. To her disappointment, there were not many, and definitely not any catered specifically towards young kids.
In 2021, Parul Sharma joined hands with her brother Manu Sharma, and they gave birth to Gladful- a Jaipur-based startup that focuses on providing kids the ‘snacks they crave with the protein they deserve’.
They recently featured on Shark Tank India as well.
Parul Sharma and her brother Manu Sharma in 2021.
We reviewed three variants from their Mini Protein Cookies range- Chocolate, Almond, and Orange. These are bite-sized and nutritionally better than the average biscuit/cookie pack.
3. Open Secret
Mumbai, India | Opensecret.in
Open Secret aims at ‘un-junking’ India, one snack at a time. The founder and CEO, Ahana Gautam credits her mother for all her success, her startup included. She believes with right nutrition comes great health, and great health helps us achieve our maximum potential and soar higher. They specialize in food products devoid of artificial preservatives, flavors, and other nasty additives.
Open Secret was founded by Ahana Gautam and co-founder Udit Kejriwal in 2019.
The chocolate bars are sweetened with jaggery which lends that innate caramel-like flavor. It also enhances the texture of these bite-sized chocolate bars.
The cookies are devoid of refined flour but toothsome, nonetheless. Our evening snacking truly got guilt-free.
4. Jha Ji
Northern Bihar, India | jhajistore.com
JhaJi was founded by Kalpana and Uma Jha, two chief pickle makers with over three decades of experience. They had been making chutneys and pickles for their friends and families. These delicacies were loved and appreciated not just within the country but also in The States. This is when they realized they must broaden their audience and JhaJi Stores came into being.
On Gandhi Jayanti in 2020, Kalpana and Uma Jha launched their pickle business from a small town in the northern area of Bihar called Darbhanga.
Clean, aromatic, and reminiscent of granny-made pickle, JhaJi’s Mithila Mango Pickle has all the right flavors that elevate staple meals like dal rice, roti sabzi, and more.
Bangalore, India | mytimios.com
Hima Bindu, a mum of two, and Aswani Chaitanya, dad to two boys. This brother-sister duo had one simple desire- for their children to snack on nutritious, good-for-you foods. After having worked in investment banking and research and development for roughly 15 years, respectively, this duo realised the gap between the need and availability of healthy snacking options.
Timios was founded by the brother-sister duo Aswani Chaitanya and Hima Bindu in 2016.
Last month, we reviewed Timios’ Millet Pancake mix. It was a delightful surprise to come across an ingredient list so clean, a nutrition label so impressive, yet equipped with top-notch taste and textures.
6. Donna Pastaia
Noida, India | donnapastaia.com
Donna Pastaia, loosely translates to a lady whose job is to make pasta. With the view of introducing the beauty of fresh, handmade artisanal pasta, two friends, Simran Makkar and Kamna Choudhary started their business in 2020.
They specialize in three areas- gourmet pasta, traditional pasta, and a gluten-free range.
Donna Pastaia was founded by Simran Makkar and Kamna Choudhary in July 2020.
7. Boombay (Previously: Arugula & Co.)
Her masters in nutrition and exercise physiology aligned with her progressive views on eating behaviors and habits, and this 28-year old built her salad dressing brand. Founder, Niharika Goenka understood that though salads are not typically something Indians consume as a meal, there is a wave of healthy eating that has hit us. However, the dressings that restaurants offer are far from nutritious. Another view point was to make salads tastier and more interesting. One of the things that make her brand stand out is she uses a blend of exotic and locally-sourced veggies.
Arugula & Co. was founded by Niharika Goenka in 2018. The brand is now called Boombay.
8. Slurrp Farm
Gurgaon, India | slurrpfarm.com
With the intent of assisting parents make better food choices for their young ones, all the while being convenient, Slurrp Farm was formed by two passionate mothers in 2016. After having met at the party of a common friend, this idea of incorporating millets into everyday meals for kids struck their heads, but jumping the gun, leaving their full-time jobs felt like a risk they did not want to take then.
However, their journey from being ladies to mothers was just the push they needed.
Slurrp Farm was founded by Shauravi Malik and Meghana Narayan in October 2016.
PS- did you know, Anushka Sharma is an investor at Slurrp Farm?
- Millet Noodles
- Millet Pancake Mix
- Chocolate Brownie Mix
- Millet Dosa Mix
From their cookies to sweet and savory mixes, there are several products we have reviewed over the years and safe to say, the experiences have been positive.
Children love cakes and colors, and with the use of millets, it is now possible to make quick and healthy alternatives of the same.
9. Happy Jars
South Delhi, India | happyjars.com
Happy Jars came into being when Surabhi Talwar, co-founder could not find any clean, natural peanut butter in the market. She and her husband ‘wanted to be the brand they remembered’.
Surabhi took account of staple Indian breakfasts and the eating habits of the country, which led her to creating something as unique as the chilli-flavored PB.
In 2018, Surabhi Talwar and her husband Vikram started making better-for-you, clean snacks and meals in their kitchen. They hold pride in announcing that all their products are made in kitchens and not labs, ever.
No refined sugar, no nasties, no such ingredients that induce guilt. The bite-sized dessert bars are made with dates, a fibrous sweetener, and have crushed nuts. Happy Jars’ almond butter has that innate grittiness which is another proof to the fact that it contains no additives.
Gurugram, India | thetiggle.com
When she first sold hot chocolate in to-go cups outside a metro station, Anuva Kakkar had no idea she’d be the founder of this soaring startup one day. At 21 years of age, Anuva got the idea of offering ready-to-use hot chocolate mixes in the market as she craved for one at midnight. Be it the cost or the convenience, she knew these premixes would be a hit so that ‘one could consume whenever one craved’.
Tiggle was founded by this 23-year old Anuva Kakkar amid the lockdown as India’s first hot chocolate brand.
Quick and convenient preparation, a decadent flavor of chocolate, and well-rounded sweetness, Tiggle’s hot chocolate mix is all you need during a windy evening.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some interesting FAQs on women founders in India.
Industries like health care, retail, personal services have the highest women-owned business concentration.
A survey conducted by Forbes revealed that for the past few decades there have been 13-14% female entrepreneurs in India.
Some of the most common myths surrounding women-led businesses include that women are less ambitious, they are not technologically-savvy, and that female-led businesses are less profitable.
Good things take time and one must persevere when things get tough. It is crucial to build a resourceful team. Know when to take risks but also when to take a break.
As Tanu Ganuly, Founder at Mishry, rightly points out –
“Whether you lead a small team or a gigantic one – your relationship and bonding with team members have a significant impact on business milestones.
If you and your team have a hard time collaborating, it is likely to show up in the quality of work and outcomes as well. A few things that work in my opinion –
- Give your team enough space.
- Build trust through every single interaction.
- Enable a culture of actually getting work done.”
That’s a wrap on some of India’s best women owned business ventures. From healthier snacks for kids to foods with clean, good-for-you ingredients, these women founders are taking you closer to good health, one meal at a time.
Of these, how many had you tried before and how many were new discoveries?