Co Founders Pranav Sharma (left) and Kritik Thakur
Co Founders Pranav Sharma (left) and Kritik Thakur

The pandemic has brought in innovations in products and services. One among them is a startup which has come out with chocolates which the founders claim is functional. Functional chocolates may provide a health benefit beyond the traditional nutrients it contains.

The pandemic has thrown everyone's life into array--locked into the homes and having to carry out professional duties from homes as well. One of the fallout of this adjusted life at home 24x7 is that the imposed social confinement have produced significant stress, anxiety, and worries about health and the fear of being infected, jobs and financial problems, and uncertainty about the future. The incidence of sleep disturbances has also increased dramatically during this period, according to a research paper in Springer in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.

Two friends--Pranav Sharma (28) and Kritik Thakur (30), were experiencing sleep issues, daytime lethargy and anxiety. They decided to find out what they could do about it.

Sharma and Thakur, who have both founded a startup earlier, thus came out with what they claim is India’s first functional chocolate brand, Awsum. Their first startup was into healthy snacks. They exited it and then set up Awsum.

The idea for the product was conceived in the backdrop of nationwide lockdown declared by the government last year in 2020 when the co-founders themselves grappled with problems such as sleep deprivation, daytime lethargy, and anxiety. And their own experience led to the creation of the brand that the duo claims helps people deal with these problems in a convenient way. The product took shape at Gurugram based start-up incubator, Huddle that works with select high-growth startups. Sanil Sachar, Co-founder, Huddle, said the need for functional food has risen more than ever, since in current times, an average individual has been increasingly facing multiple modern-day lifestyle related health incidences like stress, insomnia, anxiety, etc.

The startup was launched in April 2021. So how is the chocolate based on Ayurvedic properties different from any other chocolate? "Awsum uses the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and combines it with premium dark and milk chocolate to create products that come with functional benefits," Sharma said.

What makes it 'healthy'? Sharma said that Awsum -- named such, as it is a oft-used New Generation word and thus easy to connect--chocolates are packed with herbs and nutrients that help the body to deal with the modern-day lifestyle health disorders and are very relevant for the current scenario where are all dealing with the pandemic. The chocolates have a rich and smooth texture and do not compromise on taste, he said.

As of now, four variants are available-- Daily Energy, Sleep, Goodbye Stress and Active Immunity at Rs 100.

The chocolates are manufactured from a unit in Greater Noida. Sharma and Thakur are now focussing the distribution channel and online sales by ramping up its presence on digital platforms.

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