In the last decade, all we ever saw was the emergence of health standards be it in the FMCG sector or the hospitality sector. It's not that the authorities had started giving it much importance, but it's the consumers who have started paying close attention to what they are eating and how healthy- environment and nutrition-wise it is! With the same vision, Mr. Ashish Dang started The Date House in 2018.
The Date House is all about bringing luscious but healthy varieties on the table. Extending the usage of dates into products such as jams, spreads, and cookies. Also, they aim to pioneer in bringing luxurious and hygienic products to the table.
The Date House Highlights
- Startup Name-The Date House
- Founder-Ashish Dang
- Sector-Health & Wellness Food
- Registered-Ashban Impex Pvt. Ltd.
About The Date House and How it Works
The brands consumers eat, drink and wear have become an expression of whom they aspire to be. Lab-created artificial and "natural" flavors are not in demand; consumers want real ingredients from nature. Consumers are seeing their purchasing decisions as a form of activism – they are "voting with their dollars," supporting companies that align with their personal beliefs and hope for the future. That's where the idea of THE DATE HOUSE took birth.
Healthy premium food products where the base is Natural product; what can be better than Dates & nuts. The Date House is all about bringing the best of natural products from all across the globe. Also, other products derivatives are based upon the natural food product.
The Date House - Target Market
The global wellness industry grew 12.8 percent from 2015-2017, from a $3.7 trillion to a $4.2 trillion market. To put that in the economic context, from 2015-2017, the wellness economy grew 6.4 percent annually, nearly twice as fast as global economic growth (3.6 percent).
The Indian Market specifically is also showing a highly positive trend in Health & Wellness food segment.
A new FICCI-PWC report, 'The changing landscape of the retail food service industry' identifies 'health and wellness' as one of the factors driving the Indian food services industry, which totaled Rs 3,37,500 crore in 2017. The food services business is expected to grow to Rs 5,52,000 crore by 2022.
The focus on health and wellness is because of a growing recognition of the need to eat right, the report states.
The Date House's Filled Dates
The Date House aspires to develop the food industry into a transparent, healthy and socially responsible business. It envisions to create better alternatives to traditional sweets and create a more sustainable market for the customers. And they strive to do so by educating the customers to adopt healthier alternatives. Also, they aim to pioneer in bringing luxurious and hygienic products to the table.
The Date House - Founders and Team
Ashish Dang is the founder of The Date House.
Ashish Dang is a B Tech and MBA (Retail & Marketing) by qualification. He has 11 years of international retail experience and worked in Senior Management role for 8 years. Based in Dubai, Ashish handles idea creation, strategic, procurement, marketing, deriving business & pricing model, and is also exploring overseas opportunities for The Date House.
The other core member of the founding team is Pankaj Rattan. Pankaj holds a Bachelors's Degree in Commerce and has over 15 years of experience in international retail. Based in India, Pankaj looks after sales & distribution, local vendors management and operations management tasks for The Date House
Ashish and Pankaj worked for 2 years together in Amman, Jordan for a large retail group. They connected well from the start and had a really good synergy since then. Pankaj has always been very passionate about his work and his understanding of business expansions were amazing. He grew the Kidswear brand he worked for to 4 times its size within 2 years. So, it was clear that Ashish wanted someone like him to join in this journey.
Once this idea of a healthy sweet alternative for the India market stuck in his mind, Ashish approached Pankaj and he was on board immediately. Since then, they have moved forward strong and undivided in both personal & professional bonds. The family support was also strong. As Ashish quotes-
Family also has been great support where House ladies(Bandna (My Wife) & Deepika (My Sister inlaw) are chocolatier who looks after the production of chocolates & chocolates. Bandna has studied the art of making chocolates from International Center for Culinary Arts, Dubai
How was The Date House Started
After decades of traveling and tasting sweets from all over the world, sampling specialties from every place they visited, one thing was consistent: the unfamiliarity of ingredients used. Local shops provided delicious fare, but with no information about how the sweets were made, of hygiene and most importantly, health. That is when they thought of the healthiest sweet alternative of them all: dates. Not just delicious but immensely healthy, dates satisfied our sweet cravings and our health needs - and that led to the birth of The Date House.
They wanted to take the exotic dates all across, and so they not only invested in the sourcing but also in the packaging. They have a team of renowned designers who work on each aspect of designing and packaging. The idea is that customers get the pack of goodness in an appreciative and beautiful pack.
The Date House's Ajwa Dates
The sample run of the product was done last Diwali season to understand consumer behaviors and reactions to it. They launched it in tier-2 cities in a few retail stores and response was amazing all the inventory was sold in half the time. So after that, they spent some good 6 months in packaging & marketing elements of it. Now, the product is ready for Global Audience too.
The Date House - Name, Tagline and Logo
For the name, they wanted to have something simple still which can be joyful later if the brand needs to move in that direction, and what's better than The Date House. Product messaging is clear through the brand name, and it has enough room to be playful. For 'The Date House' logo, a very talented design team was hired who gave birth to the date house logo. The eye-catching part is that the logo incorporates both T & H in the form of a Date tree.
The Date House - Business Model and Revenue Model
The Date House typically has two business models in place:
Distribution model (Exclusive and Non- exclusive): Distribution for a specified area will be provided to the stakeholders. It will be of 2 types: exclusive and non-exclusive.
Exclusive Distribution provides the benefit that all the retailers and non-exclusive distributors will be fed through this channel for that region except for franchise stores. Exclusive distributors will be eligible for a special price to the distributor to provide minimum annual order commitments which to be agreed at the time of signing the distribution agreement.
Non- Exclusive distribution partners are eligible to sell the products in the defined area and products will be provided through Exclusive distributor. In the event of No availability of exclusive distributor, Non-exclusive will be fed directly by The Date House.
Franchise store model (Franchise Kiosk in A & B grade Mall or own property in premium location): The team understands what is required to have a profitable venture which is high space productivity and constant value addition. They have small space requirements only which are around 80- 120 sq meters for own store and 150 sq meters for a flagship store. All the franchise stores will be provided all the elements of store design, product details, staff training, and all the products directly by The Date house
The product pricing starts from INR 175 to INR 1799 and the following products are already launched in the market:
- Pitted Dates
- Medjool Dates
- Premium Filled dates with imported Nuts
- Chocolate Dates filled with Nut inside
- Ajwa dates
- Honey Oats Date Cookies
- Coconut Crunch Cookies
Honey Almond Cookies
They are also in the process of launching Date Jam, Date spread & Date paste as a healthy alternative for the customers
The Date House - User Acquisition
They went with the two-fold strategy to reach the right kind of physical stores and educating people through our social media campaigns. The main challenges lasted only a few months which was to find the platform to reach the end customers. Once they figured that out after convincing only a couple of retailers about the potential in this product and future of a healthy food product line, the journey gained its pace. After initial sampling, the response was amazing from the customers which provided the confidence to take it to the next level. A mix of Online orders and repeat retailer orders took them through the first benchmark of 100 customers.
After understanding the potential in the first few months, they wanted to reach prominent gifting players in the market. The Date House wanted to operate as a healthy & premium alternative to available high sugar traditional sweets.
Hence they participated in the Gift Expo exhibition in Delhi this year. It gave them the platform and a wider audience. This Diwali had a lot of leads from the exhibition which helped them reaching to a wider audience. As a new startup who has a solid product are looking for bigger opportunities & stronger alliances; they want to keep innovating with their products and packaging to remain exciting enough.
The Date House - Startup Challenges
The Major challenge was changing the perception about dates. In most parts of India, it is considered a sticky winter fruit. Not many people have tasted the best of the dates available and very few with exploring the taste of it when combined with Nuts. Also to have an idea of going for chocolate dates with nuts was a bit difficult to sell initially unless people start trying it. But the most encouraging thing was when people tried the product and they just loved it. They liked the taste & texture of the product. The Date House sources all the dates from Middle Eastern countries. Even the nuts used are from the best available sources like pistachio from Iran, Walnut & almond from the USA. A lot of sampling goes behind the product and here, it is a continuous process. Also, they have used our website & social media quite a lot in educating customers about our product.
The Date House - Competitors
The world of Indian desserts witnessed a major change when the trusted local halwai was overtaken by branded, multi-store chains such as Haldiram's and Bikanervala. Though this was more than half a century ago, there is once again a similar uprising, albeit a quieter one and for a more discerning audience. Several gourmet mithai makers have stepped onto the scene, taking basics such as besan laddoo, khoya barfi, Kaju katli et al a notch higher by introducing a variety of sweets in a combination of dates. Some of these brands are Gur Chini, Arq, Khoya to name a few.
The Date House - Future Plans
The Date House operates from Jalandhar as they have the right infrastructure to reduce the Capex for them. Also, The Date House has a distribution office in Mumbai & Coimbatore each. Sourcing is being done by their Dubai team.
The first year into the business, the future looks promising but they also have a challenge of breaking the common perception about dates. The majority of Indian audiences will take some time to accept dates as an all-season product, so they are widening the portfolio with cookies, jams, and many more products to ensure that Indian summer is also included.
The team envisions to globalize 'The Date House' into a premium healthy brand. They are working to provide pan India availability of the products for A & A+ stores in all metros, and franchising and expansion of The Date House. The company is also targeting to open Kiosks in tier 1 & tier 2 cities malls from next year.
The Date House - FAQs
What is The Date House?
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Who is the founder of The Date House?