NEW DELHI, Oct. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Yu, a consumer brand that is re-imagining consumer packaged foods with their 100% natural Instant Meal Bowls, has secured USD 1 million in its pre-Series A round. The round saw participation from Manish Choksi and Varun Vakil, part of the Asian Paints promoter group, Lalvani family, UK-based food & hospitality group; Nikhil Srivastava, Head of India at PAG private equity; Vishal Sampat, Founder, Convonix, among others.
Founded by Bharat Bhalla and Varun Kapur, Yu has crafted a range of delicious Instant Meal Bowls that contain ZERO preservatives, additives, artificial flavourings or colours. Developed using highly advanced lyophilization technology, chef-curated recipes and 100% natural ingredients, Yu’s meal bowls retain their original taste and aroma while enjoying a non-refrigerated shelf life of 12 months. All its products can be prepared in under 4 minutes by simply adding hot water with zero cooking and hassle-free preparation.
Inspired by the 2020 Nasa SpaceX mission, Yu uses advanced bio-chemistry processes that avoid denaturation caused by conventional dehydration and allows foods to retain their original taste, aroma and texture upon rehydration. Importantly, non-usage of direct heat in the process helps foods retain their nutrients making the product line healthier than conventional packaged foods. All products are prepared and packaged at Yu’s fully integrated 12,000 sq ft advanced, state-of-art, commercial scale food-lab in Gurgaon, India.
Bharat Bhalla, Founder & Executive Director, Yu Foodlabs, said, “We have combined the most advanced food science technology with culinary arts to re-imagine the future of packaged foods. Our Instant Meal Bowls are packed with gourmet flavours and nutrients while using ZERO preservatives or artificial ingredients. The use of proprietary processes has enabled us to launch our products at an attractive price point of INR 75-100 per bowl. We are adopting an omnichannel sales strategy and in due course will be present in offline and online stores pan-India.”
Varun Kapur, Founder & Executive Director, Yu Foodlabs, shared his excitement on securing the seed funding, “It has been heartening to receive a very tangible vote of confidence from an eminent set of investors in our pre-launch stage. We have partnered with high pedigree investors with backgrounds in consumer brands, private equity, hospitality, technology and digital marketing. We will use the funds to increase our production capacity to over 5 lac meal bowls per month while expanding our distribution network to key markets across India.”
Yu has introduced 6 SKUs across 2 unique product categories to begin with:
a) Wholesome Pasta Bowls – Chunky Tomato, Three Cheese, Peri Peri
b) Wholegrain Oat Bowls – Berry Apple Cinnamon, Banana Caramel, Peanut Butter Berry
The product portfolio will soon see multiple additions with the introduction of Dessert Bowls, Veg / Non-Veg Asian Noodle Bowls and Superfood Breakfast Bowls.
Yu’s products are available at 100+ retail outlets across Delhi NCR including Reliance, Spencers, SPAR, Modern Bazar, Needs Supermarket along with an online presence on Big Basket and Swiggy. Yu’s products can also be purchased by customers pan-India through Amazon, Flipkart, Cora Health as well as the brand’s website (www.yufoodlabs.com).
The brand aims to establish an offline presence in Mumbai MMR, East/ North East by Jan 2022 followed by all other metro cities in 9-12 months.
About Yu Foodlabs
Ikayu Foodlabs Pvt. Ltd. (brand name “Yu“) has crafted a wide range of delicious Instant Meal Bowls that contain ZERO preservatives, additives, artificial flavourings or colours. Developed using advanced lyophilization technology, artisan recipes and natural ingredients only, Yu’s meal bowls retain their original taste and aroma. The culinary team at Yu uses only the most fresh ingredients to create wholesome, nutritious meals with unbeatable flavors. All products have a non-refrigerated shelf life of 12 months and can be consumed by anyone, anytime, anywhere! The Founders (Bharat Bhalla and Varun Kapur) incubated Ikayu Foodlabs as part of 3015 Venture Studio, their entrepreneurship hub that conceives, funds, launches disruptive consumer businesses.
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