You can ask Artinci’s founders how sweet success tastes, because their sugar-free desserts have sweetened the deal for all. And this is just the beginning as the Bengaluru-based dessert brand is going places, quite literally.
Founded in 2017 Artinci had humble beginnings. The team started with natural ice creams but slowly gravitated towards Stevia, a natural sweetener. By the time I started handling the brand in 2021, more than half of their portfolio had switched over.
This dark kitchen started by selling their products in 22-23 outlets, currently over 60 outlets stack their products. Their business has increased exponentially, with more than 20 stores across the country.
“When we first launched we were making preservative-free, natural ice creams, but we realised that there were many other players too. Since we wanted to do something different and be a game-changer, six to seven months down the line Aarti Laxman Rastogi, founder of Artinci saw the potential for sugar-free and low carb desserts and we made the switch,” explains Ashwin Sharma, who heads marketing and operations at Artinci.
For Aarti, the change was natural. With a family history of diabetes, she understood the difficulties that diabetic people face. Armed with that insight and the knowledge that there was a huge gap in this market, Artinci was on their way.
Having been one of the firsts in the sugar-free dessert market in Bengaluru, one would assume that it was smooth sailing, but it wasn’t always so. “It was a new market, in fact we were creating the market. So communication with our customers was key, but that was where we faced an issue. Swiggy however, made sure that we received all the data that we wanted,” adds Ashwin.
“We currently own two brands on Swiggy: Artinci-Indulge Guilt Free and Sugar-Free Keto Café by Artinci. Earlier the café went by a different name, but Swiggy suggested that we change it to suit a wider range of customers and it worked! Swiggy also made sure that more than 90%of our products were tagged under Health Hub and we grew 4x times,” he says.
When I started handling this brand I studied the market and noticed areas where they had potential to grow. That helped them in expanding not just within Bengaluru, but across India.
“Swiggy’s insights helped us understand the pockets that had a high-intake of sugar-free products. That is how we started selling products in Koramangala and Bellandur which turned out to be great markets for us,” Ashwin says.
Based on the research, I found out that Artinci could grow in cities across India, that’s when they started expanding. “We launched 11 stores in Delhi NCR and we’re doing pretty good business. Shaheed helped with data on which areas and cities that can be targeted” says Ashwin. The team has also expanded in Mumbai with 11 stores, Pune with four stores and Chennai with future plans to expand in Chandigarh too.
When it comes to desserts, customers are very loyal to brands they already follow. So getting them to shift to a sugar-free dessert brand is a challenge.
What works in Artinci’s favour is the fact that they are open to feedback and suggestions. They proactively ask what else can be done to improve the brand. So I collated data on the new cities, top areas that sell ice creams in terms of high order value, the top 30 sugar-free selling items on Swiggy and more. Artinci used this data to expand and to streamline their menu.
Swiggy sweetened the deal.
“Working with Swiggy has been great. The attention that a POC gives us is on a different level here. They are available for calls at any point and help us. Let’s say if I see a brand doing something and we want to do it, I just have to call Shahid and he comes back within two-three days to tell me that the plan is in motion,” he says.
For a dark kitchen, data points always stand out. Artinci doesn't have a massive physical presence, they recently opened one outlet in HAL, Bengaluru, so getting customer-data is not easy.
This is another area where Swiggy has helped. I collate core data points and deliver it to the partner, this gives them clear information on what works and why.
During the first and second wave of the pandemic, customers started getting paranoid about cold desserts. We noticed that was an issue and helped the brand with hygiene protocols and also added safety tags on Swiggy. Through this move, people knew that all the steps were being followed and that reassured them.
The team at Artinci are also open to new campaigns and discount strategies. One of which has been acquiring new users by providing them with good discounts. So, I suggested that they become part of the ‘60% off campaign’ where customers receive a 60% off deal once or twice in a week. This helped them witness a massive jump in sales.
Artinci is making huge strides in the sugar-free market. In the few months I’ve taken over, I have seen how much they have grown. So, it really goes to say, you don't have to be sugary-sweet to get noticed. Sometimes, stevia helps.