HUL looks to buy two firms, widen product portfolio

NEW DELHI : Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) is in talks to acquire controlling stakes in direct-to-consumer brands Wellbeing Nutrition and Conscious Food to strengthen internal product categories, three people aware of the matter said.

Wellbeing Nutrition is a plant-based nutrition company, while Conscious Food sells packaged organic food, said one of the three people above.

All three people spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Wellbeing Nutrition transaction is expected to be around $20 million, the person cited above said; The size of the Conscious Food deal could not be determined.

Hindustan Unilever is considering acquiring Wellbeing to capitalize on growing consumer awareness of organic and healthy food.

The diversified conglomerate is keen to expand its Annapurna brand, which mainly offers atta and salt, and conscious food could be housed in the same branch if the deal goes through.

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A spokesman for Hindustan Unilever said the company does not comment on “market speculation”.

E-mail inquiries to Wellbeing Nutrition and Conscious Food remained unanswered at the time of writing.

Founded in 2019 by Avnish Chhabria, Wellbeing Nutrition offers products for daily wellbeing, functional nutrition, organic nutrition for children and natural Nutri-Cosmetics.

The company’s website states that it works with more than 150 organic farms and suppliers worldwide.

The brand sells on its online platform in more than 2,000 stores in India and over 5,000 stores worldwide, in USA, UK, UAE and Germany. Its primary investors include early-stage venture capital fund Fireside Ventures.

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Founded in 1990, Conscious Food offers products such as sprouted wheat dalia, sprouted ragi flour, semolina, digestive blend, spirulina power, gir cow ghee, herbs and energizing tea.

It is available nationwide in modern retail stores such as Nature’s Basket, Foodhall, FabIndia, Westside and HyperCity and can be ordered on online platforms such as Amazon and BigBasket.

In order to enter the nutraceutical space, which is one of the most coveted categories among both institutional and strategic investors, Hindustan Unilever has also recently had a similar discussion with Power Gummies, which is backed by 9Unicorns, DSG Consumer Partners and Wipro Consumers and Sharpp Ventures (Marico Family Office), among others.

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The talks had not led to any result because, among other things, there were differences in the assessment, the second person added. The platform was launched in 2018 by Divij Bajaj to introduce chewable supplements instead of capsules and tablets.

The brand currently offers several variants, including Gorgeous Hair & Nails (vitamin gummies for hair and nails), The Beach Body (sugar-free gummies for weight management), That Time of the Month (gummies for period pain relief), and Jaw-Dropping Skin (collagen-building – gummy candies for the skin). E-mail inquiries to Power Gummies went unanswered.

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