Now more than ever, people are increasingly becoming conscious about what they eat. The concept of mindful eating, which strikes the balance between health and the environment, is getting wide acceptance.
It is being realised that foods that are good for humans are also beneficial for the world we live in. Plant-based foods have been proven to reduce the chances of developing chronic illnesses, while also being better for Earth and fellow Earthlings. By switching to foods that are free from dairy, sugar, alcohol, gluten, and meat, consumers can actually make a huge impact on their health.
This idea of living mindfully and helping others do the same struck Aman Gupta a few years ago. This prompted him to start the brand ‘Zero Percent’ with an aim to enable people to seek joy and pleasure in a more mindful way.
Aman, who is also the Managing Director of Finnish premium beverage brand Veen, shared his perspectives over an email conversation with The Vegan Indians. Here are excerpts from the interview:
What is the idea behind Zero Percent? How was the idea conceived?
Like many other businesses, Zero Percent was the outcome of my own personal journey and interest in living more mindfully and having an awakening as to how far away from this I was few years ago.
As I started making changes in my own lifestyle, I thought that others could benefit from my experience and Zero Percent became a reflection of these experiences. I also learned how much everything is connected starting from what I put in my body, to how I feel, to how I look, to how I behave.
I stopped consuming dairy products and later started reducing my sugar intake. I did a month-long alcohol detox which led me to stop drinking alcohol completely.
At that point I started looking for alternatives to fulfill my cravings and to fulfill the gap of not having an adult drink while socialising. This led me to discover the emergence of the 0% Alcohol category and the massive growth in the plant-based categories.
I recognised that there was no one-stop-shop for these unique 0% categories focusing on mindful lifestyle and that led to the idea of setting up Zero Percent in the year 2020.
Our vision at Zero Percent is to represent the leading brands in the categories of 0% alcohol, 0% dairy, 0% pesticides, 0% sugar, 0% gluten, 0% meat, 0% microplastic and natural waters. We want to make these brands easily accessible to consumers to help them in leading healthier and happier lives.
Finland and Germany seem like ideal locations for a brand like Zero Percent. Is India promising enough for an idea like this?
We initially started the brand in Finland, but are now growing it from our base in Germany, near Munich, and additionally in India, UAE and Latvia.
Furthermore, the Zero Percent categories are emerging categories in India like they are in Europe, the US and the rest of the world, as people become more interested in what and how they consume.
Covid-19, both in India and globally, has only made the interest in categories grow faster with more people consuming more mindfully now, considering their health, their community and the planet.
When did you launch in India and what kind of products are available as of now?
We started operating in India at the beginning of this year, focusing first on the 0% alcohol category and building a portfolio that will cover all elements from spirits to wines, sparkling wines to beer and cider.
Crafted by experts and made with local natural ingredients and mineral-rich water, our 0% Alcohol beverages are specifically chosen for their quality and diverse flavours.
Some of the brands we represent are Noughty, a 100% vegan, organic, halal-certified sparkling Chardonnay; Coast Beer, the first craft non-alcohol beer which we brought to India; ISH Spirits, the most award-winning alcohol-free spirit company from Denmark; and VEEN Nordic Mixers, a line of mixers created from the smoothest water in the world with a hint of Nordic nature – developed thanks to a partnership between VEEN and A21 Helsinki, nominated the best bar in the world.
Going forward, we seek to achieve what our German ownership-group has achieved with the other 0% categories and expand on those. For now, we are keen on strengthening our position in India as the first and front-runner in the 0% Alcohol segment.
What value can a store from Finland bring to Indian consumers?
Today’s society is going through a big transition, and living and consuming more mindfully is not only a need but a growing want. I believe that Zero Percent is there to help consumers make this transition a tiny bit easier by bringing the most mindful selection of 0% alternatives closer to Indian consumers.
Additionally, like we’re growing our Zero Percent Club – a community of likeminded mindful consumers – in Europe, our goal is to grow such a community in India which, together with us, wants to start leading a more mindful lifestyle.
Is Zero Percent targeted at premium customers or masses?
Our audience is very wide and we have something to offer to everyone, from a curious consumer who is considering trying something different to the more established vegetarian, vegan, health and wellness oriented audience.
What are your views on the growth of veganism in India?
Like the rest of the world, India is waking up to the physical, ethical and economic benefits of plant-based, meat-and-dairy-free food, and a more mindful diet overall.
I see veganism as a compassion-driven attempt to live an ethical, sustainable and healthy lifestyle without contributing to animal suffering. However, following a strictly vegan diet takes lots of discipline and passion.
It is up to anyone to decide what sort of change they are ready for, be it veganism, vegetarianism, bringing in more plant-based meals into their diet, etc. And as some food for thought I would urge everyone to question how they were trained to eat and consume as the food chain has changed a lot in the last decade; to question their own beliefs and find their own individual conclusions regarding consumption.
Think about what you consume, what’s inside, how it is packaged and where it comes from – rather than making big decisions and big changes, take baby steps towards change and see what works for you.
(Website link: https://india.zeropercent.shop/)