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    Meet the man behind Pling, a Kerala-based brand, which hopes to redefine authentic Indian snacks in the global market

    THINK global, stay local. That’s the business mantra adopted by city-based serial entrepreneur Andrine Mendez, while making a career shift from advertising to the food and beverage industry. “Through networking events, I met several like-minded FMCG entrepreneurs and that’s how the idea took shape. Three weeks ago after investing close to Rs 30 lakh, we launched Pling. It’s an  Indian snack brand that is completely based out of Kerala and supports the local farmers in Wayanad,” explains Mendez, whose previous advertising venture was acquired  by Links Group (France). The first Pling products to hit the market are banana crisps — which are a healthier alternative to potato chips, as they are fried in rice bran oil. Pling is available in variants like peri-peri, pani puri as well as sour cream and onion.
    Poised to grow

    “Millenials everywhere want to experiment when it comes to the indulgent snacking  category.  This is why our vibrant packaging—which doesn’t even feature a product shot — is aimed at the global snack tooth,” explains the 30-year-old branding expert via a VoIP call, as he’s currently in Ireland preparing for Pling’s European launch.

    According to the Protein Foods and Nutrition Development Association of India, the national snack food industry is estimated at about $3 billion (more than Rs 10,000 crore) and growing rapidly at 20 per cent. While Pling is hoping to compete with brands like Haldiram and Bikanerwala, beverage start-ups like Paperboat are also about to venture into the ethnic snacks market. Even big players like Coco Cola have launched badam and kesar milk products. “We will always have a Kerala connect, in fact, our next products are jackfruit, apple and peanut-based. Pling also plans to launch across Europe in March 2017. “We’ve been chosen by American retail chain Supervalu via their global Food Academy program, and our products will hit over 220 Supervalu stores across Europe,” says Mendez.

    Rs 20 (35 gms), Rs 50 (90gms) Details: amazon.in

    —Anoop Menon

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