Aided by the pandemic, the grocery delivery segment has seen a boom in recent times. Nature’s basket, Foodzu, Bigmart, Brownbag, SuperDaily, Zepto, Blinkit, and many other brands have built a strong presence among their consumers and competing for newer markets. However, the online grocery market that is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.1 percent from 2021 to 2028 has a lot more developments on the way. The players that establish an effective business model during this period will get an edge over the others.
Similarly, Mumbai-based online grocery start-up, Berrika which started its operations in September 2020 has been making just the right noise in the sector. To go from 400 to 23,000 customers within a year and the sales going from 18L to 60L per month, the company must have got several strategies right within a short span.
The company attributes its success to a dedicated customer service team, regularly introducing new products, social media posts, stories, advertisements, cost-saving initiatives, and incentive plans for staff based on sales.
“Berrika’s business is built on having a minimum inventory system. As of today with over 1,400+ SKU's we have an inventory for only 20 percent of these products helping us stay capital light. Since we’re also a business that deals with perishable items we lose less on waste and dump. Our monthly average ranges anywhere between 60L - 1Cr and we are currently growing by almost 25 percent month on month,” said Krysh Bajaj, Co-founder, Berrika.
Moreover, 9 months into operations the firm has expanded to Delhi. Currently, it is in the process to expand its presence in Chandigarh, Hyderabad, and Gujarat within the next 6 months.
Bajaj further added on the company’s expansion plans, stating, “Before expanding to Delhi our team had to study the market thoroughly in order for us to match the sales figure to perform better than what we were in Mumbai, fortunately, as we succeeded and established our brand there we followed up by launching Berrika in Bangalore, we are currently studying the Chandigarh and Hyderabad market parallelly and aiming to launch the next two cities mid-2022.”
The company is planning on going in for its first round of funding mid this year before the launch of the next two cities. So far it hasn't gone in for a round of funding even though it has been getting a lot of interest, the company shared.
Demand and Supply
Berrika’s origin lies in its parent company Anusaya Fresh - a 50-year-old supplier of fruits, vegetables, frozen foods, and edible flowers to wholesalers, retailers, five-star hotels, restaurants, and premium supermarkets. With the pandemic putting curbs on international travel and eating out, several high-end customers generated a pent-up demand for avant-garde food and beverages.
Consequently, Dinesh Shinde, CEO of Anusaya Fresh, and Krysh Bajaj started Berrika a premium grocery delivery service to cater to them.
The word 'Berrika is derived from the Swedish word Berika, which means 'to enrich'. Launched as an e-commerce website through its network of farmers and farms across the globe, Berrika caters to the products and ingredients that were once only the domain of restaurants.
Another benefit the company provides to its customers is the option of ordering via three different platforms, whether it be a website, an app or simply Whatsapping their customer service team. Also, the brand has been integrating various technologies with the brand through our website, Berrika app, Instagram direct orders, WhatsApp, and subscriptions.
Berrika operates a D2C model that allows individual customers, mainly high-income households in metros, to place orders on its app. Its target audience is premium buyers that lie in the age group of 25-60. The company also provides additional help in shopping, particularly keeping the older generation in mind.
"The older generation prefers to order via WhatsApp, so we have integrated with it. We also roll out subscriptions for D2C buyers. Soon we will be introducing a loyalty program," the company stated.
Bajaj said, "I've always been a big believer in social media and hence our first goal was to create a super engaging and aesthetic Instagram profile for the brand as no one else was doing this in our category. In addition to this, we already had a strong network and client base thanks to the well-established restaurants so we leveraged this by collaborating with them and letting people know that the products they're consuming at the restaurants can also be delivered to their homes now."
Supply Chain Model
Berrika procures fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meats, and cheeses from 600-700 farmers in 10 countries. The offerings are quite eclectic in fact.
The produce includes mangosteen, rambutan, yellow dragon fruit, and Japanese melon from Thailand; cherry, Granny Smith apple, and Red Globe grapes from the U.S. Valencia oranges and William pears from South Africa; apricot, grapefruit, and peach from Australia; Hass avocados, purple corn, green and white asparagus from Peru, among others.
Bajaj stated, "Most of our products are brought into the county by air to ensure fresh produce for our customers to enjoy. From 10 different countries, these products are consolidated in Thailand and Netherlands. From there to India we get 2 shipments each in a week from these consolidation points."
Future Plans of the Brand
Besides its expansion plans across various cities, Berrika plans to launch bakery products, coffees, and ramp up its ready-to-eat category (which includes salads, dips, sausages) over the next few quarters.
“We also have health products and alcohol as a part of our future roadmap,” Bajaj said.
The startup is expected to grow its juices and shakes offering, which is seeing demand from five-star hotels like Mariott, Hilton, Taj, and Oberoi for their breakfast platters, the company added.