6 D2C Fresh Meat Start-ups Cut for the Evolved Wet Market in India
6 D2C Fresh Meat Start-ups Cut for the Evolved Wet Market in India

True, the pandemic led by Covid-19 has altered too much too soon and the changing consumer behavior for almost everything they are consuming is no secret today. The country has been incomplete and then partial series of lockdowns for more than a year now and this has made consumers more accustomed to challenges in food and grocery shopping. With access to most offline stores blocked for a considerable period of time, the focus has now shifted largely on app-based deliveries of groceries and vegetables and even in the meat and seafood category now. This has given a push to a number of new entrants in the segment.

India is predominantly a non-vegetarian country with 71 percent of Indians over the age of 15 being non-vegetarians, and the country consumes meat worth US$ 30 billion each year. While most of this demand has been handled by unorganized local markets, it is very recently that start-ups have started entering this segment offering fresh meat and seafood directly to the consumers.

According to Redseer, India’s meat market was worth Rs 330K crore in 2019 and is likely to reach Rs 460K+ crore by 2024, growing at a CAGR of ~6.5 percent.

The broader meat market has been largely unorganized with brands like Licious, Meatigo, FreshToFarm, etc., quickly gaining prominence courtesy of their vertically integrated supply chains with high bars on quality. Also, these start-ups are innovating to offer their consumers a wide range of products, especially, in ready-to-cook/ ready-to-eat, do-it-yourself (DIY) meals, and grilled and marinated products. They have targeted the consumer pain-points associated with purchasing meat from local butchers and are offering meat that’s cleaned, is without any stain of blood, has a negligible odor, is of high quality, rich in nutritional benefits, and is ideal for urban, young, working consumers. The online meat segment has grown 2.5-3x since Covid and this has given the start-ups in the segment a much-needed push.

Furthermore, what’s working for these brands is operating in the direct-to-consumer business model since consumers today are more inclined towards brands engaging directly with them. In fact, investors too are bullish on this segment and are investing in these D2C start-ups. Here are the D2C start-ups ruling the wet market across the country.

Licious

Licious

Licious was founded in 2015 by Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura with an aim to resolve the meat conundrum. It is one of India’s most disruptive consumer brands in this category and has clocked a 3,000 percent YoY growth since its inception while its revenue increased 75 percent from Rs 78.96 crore in FY2019 to Rs 138 crore in FY2020.

What helped the start-up scale faster is owning the entire supply chain and it led Licious to record a 6x revenue growth during the pandemic. The brand went from 100 orders per day in 2015 to over 20,000 orders in 2021. The online meat start-up is also exploring an overseas launch with an entry in southeast Asian markets while setting up offline stores in India to expand its customer base and generate additional revenue streams.

Vivek Gupta maintained, “There are many companies in frozen meat but to solve the demand for fresh meat is unique to Licious. We have the aspiration to take the business outside the country. Even from a global standpoint, it is relevant that we know how to crack a fresh meat supply chain to the customers’ doorstep. That proposition is true wherever we operate because of the supply chain, back-end operations, inventory management of perishable SKU (stock keeping unit), and the 24-hour farm-to-fork supply chain we have built around fresh meat.”

The D2C brand raised US$ 192 million as part of its Series F round in July this year, led by the Singapore government’s investment company Temasek, and Multiples Private Equity.

Meatigo

Meatigo

Meatigo is an online meat and seafood delivery platform that delivers fresh and best products at doorsteps. It started operations in 2017 from Gurugram and later expanded to Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kolkata over the next three years.

“We deliver farm-fresh meat and cold cuts to your doorstep within 120 minutes of ordering. We ensure that our products should stand proud of all quality, variety, safety, and hygiene parameters. We operate various hygienic state-of-the-art processing, where all meats are further tested for microbial counts and quality before it is processed further at our facilities, cleaned, and then packed in vacuum packed to ensure maximum safety and freshness. We source our poultry products from certified and licensed supply partners who have their network farms. Our packaging and delivery also go under various testing processes, keeping the meats under temperature control,” asserted Siddhant Wangdi, Founder, Meatigo.

The D2C start-up has a customer base of 150,000 on application, with an 85 percent repeat rate in three years, and has registered monthly order volumes of 40,000 to 50,000 in 2020. Meatigo plans to raise external funding in the new fiscal. It offers over 150 products, including meats (chicken, mutton, pork, and buff), bacon, deli meats, fish and seafood, spreads, momos, burger patties, and ready-to-cook marinades.

FreshToHome

FreshToHome

Bengaluru-based meat, fish, and fresh produce e-tailer FreshToHome was founded in 2015 by Shan Kadavil and Mathew Joseph. The start-up is currently present in 28 cities including metros and will expand to 56 cities with a total of 100 stores in the next 12 months.

Shan Kadavil said, “Offline presence and the whole touch-and-feel experience is important and lends a personal touch. Our offline expansion will be a combination of both standalone as well as multi-branded stores. The second wave was harsh but unlike the first wave, we were operationally ready.”

While the lockdown was a challenging phase for the brand, it witnessed a 40 percent growth in business in Covid times. The start-up delivers nearly 2 million orders every month. FreshToHome currently sells close to 25,000 tonnes of produce a year. Meat and fish constitute around 70 percent of its product portfolio and the brand entered into the fresh fruits and vegetable category in 2019.

FreshToHome bagged a US $ 121 million Series C funding round led by Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) - the principal investment arm of the Government of Dubai, Investcorp and Ascent Capital, DFC, the Allana Group, and other investors, in 2020. It is looking to increase its turnover from Rs 650 crore to Rs 1,200 crore in the current financial year.

Zappfresh

Zappfresh

Zappfresh is an online meat store based in Gurugram. Founded in 2015 by Deepanshu Manchanda and Shruti Gochhwal, the brand under DSM Fresh Foods Pvt Ltd sells fresh chicken, mutton, and seafood and ready-to-cook, and ready-to-eat food and delivers nearly 2,000-2,500 orders a day, with an average ticket size of Rs 600.

The start-up follows the farm-to-fork model to provide fresh meat the same day. Zappfresh procures its meat and fish from local farms, processes them at hygienic and well-maintained plants, and customizes pieces before delivering them to the customer at the earliest.

The online meat store plans to raise Rs 100 crore in a fresh round to expand its reach, workforce and boost technology. It had last raised Rs 16 crore in a round led by Amit Burman, chairman of consumer goods firm Dabur in 2019. Zappfresh claims to have 4x year-on-year revenue growth. It currently delivers across Delhi, Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida, Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, and Jaipur.

TenderCuts

TenderCuts

Launched by Nishanth Chandran in 2016, TenderCuts is an omnichannel and tech-driven brand that provides freshly cut meat and seafood to customers through its neighborhood stores, which cater to both walk-in customers and online shoppers. The brand started operations in Chennai and Hyderabad and very recently entered Bengaluru and is planning to strengthen its presence in the city in the coming months.

In July, TenderCuts raised Rs 110 crore in a round led by Paragon Partners, a mid-market PE fund with participation from Nabventures, an agri-food tech VC fund backed by NABARD. This round also gives the company the advantage of NABARD’s network of over 5000 plus farmer producer organizations which includes over 1 million farmers.

“Since our first launch in Chennai in 2016, our experience has been nothing short of extraordinary. We are humbled by the response we have received from our customers, which has helped us to grow and become one of the most preferred brands for the purchase of hygienic meat and seafood. We process our orders in compliance with WHO and FSSAI standards, and the order is delivered within two hours after the initial cut, to ensure that our customers are assured of freshly cut meat and seafood at any point of time,” maintained Nishanth Chandran.

The brand has 80-90 SKUs in the RTC category, compared to 45-50 in the pre-pandemic period. Starting with a revenue of Rs 6 crore in 2016, the brand grew to Rs 18 crore in 2017, Rs 50 crore in 2018, and Rs 150 crore in 2020.

Jalongi

Jalongi

Gurugram-based online fresh fish and seafood retailer Jalongi was founded in early 2018 by Dippankar S Halder with operations in Kolkata and it late expanded to the Delhi-NCR region in 2019.

The brand is expecting a sizable growth and expansion in the aftermath of Covid-19 with the overall surge in the online grocery retail space. Jalongi is expecting a five times jump in its turnover to Rs 15-18 crore in the current financial year, from Rs 3.2 crore in the financial year 2019-2020.

The brand plans to raise up to Rs 70 crore institutional funds in the coming months for market expansion, and build the technology for scaling up the operations. So far, Jalongi has raised Rs 1 crore funds from angels last year.

Jalongi offers seasonal and local favorites, including prawn, mackerel, pomfret, rohu, catla, hilsa, tuna, trout, and premium items like salmon and squid crab, lobster, reef cod, baby octopus, and so on. The brand handpicks products from its network of coastal farmers and village-level partners, following which they are cleaned, cut, processed, and packaged at Jalongi’s own distribution centers, transported in self-owned cold chains, and door-delivered to customers in seven cities across India.

The brand expanded operations to reach Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, and Hyderabad in 2020 and will soon launch in Chennai and Ahmedabad.

Jalongi claims to have recorded sales of Rs 10 crore in 2020 and is looking at closing this fiscal year at Rs 12 to Rs 15 crore and is projecting a turnover of Rs 60-80 crore by 2022.

 

Stay on top – Get the daily news from Indian Retailer in your inbox
Also Worth Reading