From airlifting meat to battling misinformation, how Licious, ZappFresh and FreshToHome kept pace with online deliveries during lockdown

It was an airlift of a unique sort. As a nationwide lockdown snapped the availability chain and supply channels throughout the nation, meat supply agency Licous resorted to airlifting meat produce. During the preliminary days of lockdown, the Licious group airlifted their merchandise (main uncooked and contemporary class) to the northern a part of the nation, the place the availability chain was most impacted.
“This was done for a brief period of time and all transportation was done as per government permission and permitted vehicles,” Vivek Gupta, co-founder, Licious, advised ET Digital.

The nationwide lockdown has given momentum to the online meals deliveries in India and has turned out to be alternative for a lot of online grocery startups to money in. The online meat supply trade has additionally come out winners.

According to an evaluation of the nationwide well being knowledge by IndiaSpend and FactChecker, 70% of Indian ladies and 80% males eat non vegetarian-food. On a weekly foundation, 48.9% males and 42.8% ladies eat non-vegetarian meals. These figures have proved to be interesting for plenty of meat supply startups similar to Licious, FreshToHome, and ZappFresh.

“We have witnessed an increase in demand and also in new customer additions. But in the initial days when the lockdown was imposed, it was tough from both supply and delivery point of view. But I am pleased to note that we surmounted this initial hiccup and stabilised it in 4-5 days by working with the authorities. Now we are back to 100% delivery efficiency,” Shan Kadvil, co-founder, FreshToHome advised ET Digital.

He defined how operations during this era required further care of security and hygiene protocols. The FreshToHome group deep cleaned the autos and processing centre premises and tools twice a day. The agency additionally frequently monitored the temperature of all its supply and processing centre personnel.

“We introduced no-contact supply to prospects by insisting on no cash-on-delivery payment. Even in pre-corona days we had been getting 50% CODs. It was a tough determination, however we took it for the advantage of our prospects and our supply executives,” he mentioned.

Experiencing comparable outcomes, Licious has witnessed deliveries go up 2x occasions with a 30 per cent improve in common order worth from prospects.

Licious group conducting high quality examination.

“Across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai, we have witnessed a 300 per cent surge in demand during the lockdown period,” Gupta mentioned.

Gupta claimed that Licious adopted a worldwide customary of meals security and high quality administration lengthy earlier than the Covid disaster during the preliminary days of the corporate. This consists of vaccinating staff in manufacturing websites routinely each six months and getting frequent health-checks.

The Licious group additionally took decisive steps when the nationwide lockdown was introduced similar to housing 600 staff in a resort shut to the manufacturing heart. “Since then, their movement has been restricted to and fro the Licious processing centre only. This ensured that the people handling our products were the safest and most immune,” he mentioned.

Perils of a contemporary produce enterprise

Behind the sensible gross sales figures of those meat supply companies during the lockdown lie a myriad of challenges, barely extra urgent than those confronted by online grocery platforms.

Meat is a perishable product for some 24-36 hours and couldn’t be stocked like among the groceries. This, alongside with lockdown restrictions created an issue with sourcing uncooked supplies for meat startups.

“Sea food supply was severely impacted as coasts were closed, but thanks to our network of fishermen in the smaller coasts, we were able to guarantee availability of marine fish. Additionally, our own farms and partner farms in which we have around 2500 tonnes production annually, allowed us to ensure fresh water fish supply,” Kadvil mentioned.

He added that the impression was seen in mutton provide too due to closure of slaughterhouses, nevertheless, rooster provide was not disturbed.

Deepanshu Manchandana, co-founder, ZappFresh

Deepanshu Manchandana, co-founder, ZappFresh additionally agreed to going through the warmth of the availability chain blockage.

“Yes, not all products are available, the supply chain is stressed overall due to on ground challenges of permissions and other factors, But things have improved in the last two weeks and gradually as we move forward it is becoming easier and back to the normal,” he advised ET Digital.

He added that additionally they confronted issues with managing the blue collar workforce. But, the ZappFresh group quickly took steps to guarantee choose up and drops for staff, boarding, and lodging.

“Incentives to bring back operation staff, covid insurance and other benefits brought back our team in confidence and back in action,” he mentioned.

According to Manchandana, ZappFresh noticed a 700% improve in its net visitors during preliminary days as folks had began hoarding.

One of the widespread challenges amongst all companies was a scarcity of manpower as many labourers and supply staff went dwelling during the lockdown. “In the initial days of the lockdown, we saw a sharp decline in our delivery workforce & it was indeed a test of our business agility,” Gupta mentioned.

Licious misplaced 50% of its workforce, however was in a position to rent an extra 300 staff and are actually again with 1.5 occasions of their authentic capability.

From this era onwards, each Kadvil and Gupta consider that there might be a rise in demand for high quality meals and manufacturers which adhere to security and hygiene norms. This offers a chance for the processed poultry meat phase to develop within the nation. According to Harsha Razdan, Partner and Head, Consumer Markets and Internet Business, KPMG in India, with Covid-19, shoppers will favor to order meat that’s untouched by hand slightly than shopping for from the moist markets due to worry of infections.

He advised ET Digital that it might additionally assist in optimising operations for meat startups. “As the volumes of processed meat increases, the need for a sustainable and cost efficient supply chain will increase. This will attract larger capacities being created in cold storages, climate controlled vehicles and will bring the cost down on account of economies of scale,” he mentioned.

Room for all

In early March this yr, it was reported that the poultry trade within the nation was hit exhausting as rumours linking coronavirus and rooster unfold like wildfire via social media platforms. The value of a rooster fell from Rs 80 to Rs 20 and the roles of two crore folks employed within the trade had been on line.

Licious group of professional packers at work.

This, nevertheless, didn’t impression the gross sales of Licous and FreshToHome. “Largely customers are evolved to understand that Corona is an airborne virus, though there is a small percentage who stay away from meat during these times. Our customers especially knew we uphold the highest standards of quality in terms of hygiene, packing and sell only no-added chemicals products.” Kadvil mentioned.

Talking on comparable strains, Gupta mentioned that there was no hostile impression on its gross sales following the rumors. “In fact, sales only grew as people started buying better quality and safer food products from trusted brands like us,” he mentioned.

Even for ZappFresh, Manchandana mentioned the impression on gross sales was momentary, for every week or ten days.

The alternate

In the meantime, the rumor gave a bit of push to Udaipur-based Gooddot, an alternate meat startup. “Just before the lockdown, we had seen around 60% of spike in our platform,” mentioned Abhishek Sinha, CEO, Gooddot.

He added that the rise in demand was not simply seen in India, but additionally throughout different international locations as he believes extra and extra individuals are taking a look at plant-based meat choices.

“Over time, an organic outreach is happening. People are coming to us and enquiring about different kinds of alternate meat options,” he mentioned.

Apart from a surge in calls for, Gooddot has additionally been in a position to improve its group during the lockdown.

When requested if individuals who have shifted their weight-reduction plan to the alternate meat will keep the identical perspective and habits as soon as the lockdown is over, Sinha believes will probably be a little bit of each.

“The coronavirus is not directly linked to meat and therefore there will always be people who will make an end to the rumors and share the correct knowledge. However, one cannot underestimate the magnitude of the problems the viruses can create. In the US, major meat processing companies have become coronavirus hotspots. The workers there work in unhealthy conditions and under close proximity. Situations like these lead people to explore other meat options,” he mentioned.

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