Putting healthy snacks on the global map

Innovating accessible health food

The health food industry has an image of exclusivity, but this UOW graduate is looking to change that.

While sitting around a brainstorming session, Shiven Chaturvedi and his two friends, each sports-mad and nutrition-conscious, stumbled upon a million-dollar question: why are prepackaged health snacks so expensive? 

Inspired by the relaxed, beachside lifestyles they had adopted in Australia, the trio began looking at consumer trends in India and noticed a gap in the health food market.  

Since that initial conversation, Shiven and his co-founders made the move back to their home country of India, to develop health snack company Stroom, in a market they recognised as in need of accessible health food options. 

“[Healthy snacks are] often priced at a premium, making them inaccessible to a large portion of the population. We recognised the need to make healthy snacks more affordable and accessible to all consumers, regardless of their budget,” says Shiven. 

Based in the economic hub of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India, Stroom is helping change attitudes towards healthy snacking in the country, manufacturing centre-filled energy bars in a range of flavours and plans to expand.  

Three men are standing at a purple 'Stroom' booth, advertising energy bars

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a significant shift in consumer behavior, with heightened awareness about the importance of healthy eating. This increased focus on health and wellness created a favorable environment for introducing nutritious snack options to the Indian market,” says Shiven. 

“Additionally, the Indian snacking market presents immense opportunities for growth. With a rapidly growing population and changing lifestyles, there is a surging demand for convenient yet healthy snack options. By tapping into this market, we saw the potential to make a meaningful impact on the snacking habits of millions of consumers across the country. By leveraging local flavours and ingredients, we aimed to cater to the unique tastes and preferences of Indian consumers while promoting healthier eating habits.” 

Bringing Stroom home 

In less than a year, Stroom has seen huge growth, with a recent honour from the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Now, Shiven and his co-founders are forging plans to expand Stroom across the globe and into Australia, where the idea was first conceptualised.  

It would be a full-circle moment for Shiven, who, despite having lived throughout India and the Middle East, has a solid connection to Australia and Wollongong.  

After originally enrolling at UOW Dubai, he made the move to Wollongong to study a Bachelor of Commerce which he credits for preparing him for the world of entrepreneurship.  

“First off, the quality of education I got there was top-notch. The business programs were practical, which meant I graduated with skills I could use in the real world. Plus, the teachers were awesome. They were always there to help and share their industry know-how.” 

Outside of academia, Shiven says the culture of Wollongong and his experience living at Campus East helped lay the foundations for a successful international career.  

“Living there, I was surrounded by a diverse community, including many exchange students from the US and Europe, which enriched my cultural understanding and expanded my social circle,” he says.  

“One of the highlights of my time at UOW was being a part of the UOW Cricket Club. Playing grade cricket with the club was not only a lot of fun but also a great way to stay active and connect with fellow students who shared a passion for the sport. Being a member of the club allowed me to develop teamwork skills, foster camaraderie, and create memories that I'll cherish forever.” 

A Stroom protein bar is sitting on a wooden fence overlooking a beachside cliff

Five years since graduating, Shiven’s relationship with UOW is still strong, attending a ceremony to commemorate the opening of UOW India in 2023, alongside UOW ambassador, cricket legend Adam Gilchrist. 

“UOW gave me the tools and confidence I needed to kick-start my career. The experiences I had there and the connections I made continue to shape the way I approach my work every day. I am hoping to very soon contribute to the strong and developing ties between India and Australia,” he says.  

Despite his successes, Shiven remembers where he came from – a sound piece of advice he would like to pass on to other budding business owners.  

“Staying humble and down-to-earth is crucial. Stay open to learning from everyone around you, regardless of their position or background. Secondly, cultivate a strong work ethic. Success rarely comes without hard work and dedication. Be willing to put in the hours and go the extra mile to achieve your goals,” he says.  

“Let your values guide your decisions and actions, and strive to make a positive impact on those around you. Remember, your career is not just about climbing the corporate ladder or achieving financial success. It's also about personal growth, fulfillment, and making a difference in the world. Stay true to yourself, stay hungry for knowledge and growth, and never stop chasing your dreams.” 


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