Share This Post


Puzzles – Mazza Doubles, Khake Puzzles!

Hello everyone!

I am Abhinav – a proud Rodinhooder from Baroda. I attended my first OH in Gurgaon recently and the awesome experience I had there blew me away completely.

Considering that it was the first OH I was attending I was a bit nervous but all my apprehensions came to an end the moment I spoke to the fellow Rodinhooders. The energy and the enthusiasm in the room was contagious and everyone I spoke to had this terrific feeling of belongingness towards TheRodinhoods as a community which now even I am proudly a part of.

It is because of all the great people I met in the OH and my great  experience – I decided to share the story of Puzzles here with all of you.

The Background:

In 2007 – during the project trimester of my MBA – I interned with HUL and was asked to work with one of their distributors selling Lipton Tea in Baroda. Wearing a tie in roaring temperatures of that summer – I used to go with the local salesman to institutions selling vending machines and making sure that they use Lipton Tea as a regular customer. It was this experience that made me fall in love with ‘sales’ as a profession and FMCG industry as a sector. For a salesman – every day is a new challenge and every order is an accomplishment.

Cut to 2012-13 and I was working with an MNC handling their sales operations in India. However, I always wanted to start something of my own and was looking out for it. One fine day, I stumbled upon this article talking about the Rural Economy of India and how the big daddies of FMCG industry are trying to get their acts right for the same. Imagine selling to 1.2 billion Indians and never having to worry about ‘finding’ a market for your product!

That was something that inspired me and I decided to venture into something that could cater to the population of the country. Couple of months down the line our snack brand – Puzzles was born and here I share the story of how I am living my dream of working in a sales profile of an FMCG company…

Name and origin:

Puzzles is the flagship brand of Expedite Foods, a fresh entrant into the exciting FMCG industry, manufacturing lip-smacking Indian snacks. 

Puzzles- what an unusual name for a snack brand, you might think.

Well, spend some time with a kid and all you will hear are questions. She is always curious- Why does papa go to the office every day? Where did all the dinosaurs go? How many ‘ladoos’ does she need to have in order to fight like ‘Chotta Bheem’ and the list goes on A child is always curious, always Puzzled.

Remember the time when you were a kid? More often than not, Puzzles, in one form or another were one of the initial few games you were acquainted with. It might have been a jigsaw game or the colorful Rubik’s cube that you didn’t know how to play with but enjoyed looking at and throwing around. Puzzles were (and are) always fun.

So, for us it was quite an obvious choice of name, and we’re having a blast!

What’s also interesting is the date on which we started operations – 1st of April 2012! A lot of people around the world relate this date to a Fool’s day but what we don’t know is that on the 1st of April, in 1976, Apple Inc. was formed and on the same date in 2004, Gmail was introduced to the general public.

Initial days

I was 23 when we started Puzzles and had no experience in the manufacturing segment. Setting up a factory from scratch was an undertaking not smaller than climbing the Everest. But it was more of a ‘jump off the cliff and build your wings’ approach that helped.

I had to work both on the production as well as the sales side and it was quite a daunting task initially. But we managed!

I am a great fan of the Rocky series and have watched all 6 of them at least 10 times each. The character played by Sylvester Stallone always motivated me and boy, did it work wonders for me back then!

Product range and Business model:

The Puzzles brand has over 24 variants of snacks that range from the traditional Gujarati snacks to the everyday Indian namkeen. We also have some of the most amazing extruded snacks offering which is being widely accepted and appreciated.

Our major focus is on the rural market of the country and that’s where 70% of our revenues comes from (and we intend to keep it that way). We not only cover Tier II and Tier III cities, but also distant villages which the giants often miss out on due to the high distribution cost attached to it. We offer consumers a wide choice of hygienic snacks (quality) at the most affordable price point (very important in the market we operate in) and are proud to offer the highest quantity per rupee (apparently, that matters too!).

Most of us in the big cities don’t even care how much quantity do we get in a Rs. 5/- pack of a particular snack but that’s because it’s always an impulse buy for us. For the rural consumer on the other hand, often it is one square meal of a day and therefore, we make sure that every little thing is taken care of.

Sales and growth:

We are focusing more than ever on our top-line and the costs. I strongly believe that one cannot build a business at the cost of fundamentals and hence being in profit is the most important aspect for us.

There are widespread problems that we often face on multiple fronts- marketing, branding and of course the biggest that any bootstrapped venture can face – funding; but as Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) of Lagaan would say – “Koi humko rok na paaye – chale chalo, mit jaaye jo takraye – chale chalo!!”

We have been growing over 100% year-on-year and are confident of maintaining and enhancing this growth rate in coming years.

Thank you for reading our story. We would like to hear from you any comments, feedback or suggestions and of course, some ideas that you think can help us.

We are also on Facebook & Twitter.

I’m on Twitter @imabhinavgupta




Share This Post


  1. my gosh abhinav – you are so modest that you didn’t even mention you were our Food Partner at the gurgaon OH! many thanks for ensuring we all had a food box after the OH.

    where are puzzles snacks available? in which states? i’m very keen to try it out when i’m in gujarat next for sure. one question i have, since gujjus love their gharnu chavannu – are they open to packet namkeens? 

    24 VARIANTS??!! i think you would be a big hit at school & college canteens and mom & pop stores for sure! pls tell me when you plan to launch in goa!

    achha i’ve gone through your site briefly – i love the cartoon feel. i just think your branding communication is incomplete – the homepage should tell me you are a SNACK.

    also your tabs don’t tell me immediately where to click for the product range so might want to do a re-think on the what your tabs say.

    more power to you and puzzles!

    product feedback – khaane ke baad 🙂

  2. Hi Abhinav,

    It was pleasure and an honor meeting you at OH. You were the first one I spoke at OH.BTW it was my first OH as well.
    Going forward I think PUZZLE is going to DAZZLE. I want to sell your product on our website as we have launched grocery segment(soon it will be updated on the website) and hope to have a discussion with you.

    My best wishes for your venture.

    Thanks & Regards

    Sunil Suri

  3. Hello there!

    Thank you for the kind words and candid feedback! We will most certainly work on the points raised by you for the website and get it rectified! Actually makes sense…

    We are presently focusing on Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh only – so GOA will take some time 🙂 But I would love to get the feedback of all Rodinhooders and so next time there is some gathering of our community – I will get our snacks range.

    Since it’s a value pack of Rs.5/- a lot of people prefer this but you’re right – it’s always a challenge to get more people to try our product. Infact, you will be surprised to know that Gujarat is the snacking capital of India and we have highest number of brands in this segment here and so it’s quite a tough ride.

    We are working really hard and will sure make a dent in this market!! 🙂

  4. Hello Sunil,

    It was indeed a pleasure meeting you at the OH! Thank you for the positive feedback.

    And working together sounds like a great idea – let me send you a message and we take it from there 🙂

    Thank you.

    Best regards,


  5. Can i have your contact details ? your number or email id anything will do …

  6. Hi Abhinav,

    I had a look at your site and here are some of my observations:

    • The color palette in the logo looks very similar to Subway logo.
    • There is way too much Hinglish content on the site. I understand you are right now concentrating in states with a predominantly Hindi speaking population but you must be aware that FMCGs have and need to be pan India(or world wide). So perhaps toning down on Hindi might be better.
    • I still don’t get why the name “Puzzles”. Are there tiny puzzles in each of the packet you sell like toys in Kinderjoy? Is each puzzle stand alone or do we need to collect a series? I read your site and could not see a clear explanation as to what’s your differentiation factor? In case I missed it, please provide me the link.
  7. Hi Atul – you can drop me a mail on! Regards.

  8. Hi Sridhar –

    Thanks for your observations – here is my response to the points raised by you:

    • The resemblance is a co-incidence, not something that we planned. But yes – the color pallets are similar.
    • You’re right and the ‘Hinglish’ content is intentional keeping in mind our TG. Eventually if not immediately we will re-work on our communication strategy as we grow. But we intend to keep it this way for now.
    • The differentiation factor lies in the business model more than the product. The strategy to go Rural despite of high distribution costs associated with that. The biggest names that you see Haldirams in North, Maiyas in South, Balajee in West and quite a few small companies in East – these companies focus 80% of their energy in Urban India and developing their channels there. This leaves rural consumers with little choice and they have to consumer whatever is available at a store in their town or village. With us – it’s the other way round – we are focusing on rural hinterland eliminating the middlemen and providing a well packed snack at an affordable price point with highest quantity. In fact this has paid us well over last 3 years and we are very confident of the strategy and the prospects.
    • For the name Puzzles – I explained it in the starting of the article 🙂


  9. Cool Abhinav. So Puzzles is just a metaphor and I am not going to find actual puzzles in the snack packets? 🙂

  10. Haha, not for now Sridhar! But that’s a great idea – maybe once we scale up, we can think of something on those lines and implement 🙂

  11. Really Inspiring.

    To fight out the battle with biggies like ITC, Haldirams is a daunting task. Yes, your strategy to penetrate rural markets shall certainly pay off as the early mover …

    I am sure, you’re working on marketing tie-ups with the food bazars, spencers etc…for gaining entry in urban areas.

    Best wishes

  12. Thank you Shreekanth :)Yes – we are trying hard to get certain tie-ups in place and will eventually succeed! Although it is quite difficult to replace the shelves there when the already established players enjoy dominance – but we will get there…

    Best regards,


Comments are now closed for this post.

Lost Password