Freshkins Foods India, the first of its kind retail model in Maharashtra, will source fresh produce from farmers directly at the right price and serve the urban consumer, thus making way for many more micro-entrepreneurs to earn a livelihood through this unique initiative. The first destination for change would be Mumbai followed by Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad and then the rest of India. Teaming up with Neeraj Gupta is K. Radhakrishnan (earlier with Reliance and Future Group) and Anjaney Bhutada ( formerly from Future Group) in the capacity of chief mentor, and CEO, respectively. Helping them in this endeavor is Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB).
With a database of over 76,000 farmers, MSAMB will help Freshkins in sourcing vegetables and fruits directly from farmers, as and when needed. The team has launched this initiative with an investment of Rs 5 crore, funded internally. But there is an additional requirement of Rs 10 crore, which would be needed to cross the target of Rs 250 crores till 2016, as planned.
Based on the model of Private Public Partnership (PPP), the company has received a license from MSAMB to implement this initiative wherein they will invite micro-entrepreneurs (mostly women) to invest about Rs 2 to 5 lakhs to take the franchise of Freshkins.
Radhakrishnan shares, “Out of the investment that they put in, the Government will rebate around 40 percent of their investment. We would be working on a profit sharing basis with the micro-entrepreneurs.”
Explaining the concept in detail, Gupta shares, “In Urban India less than 4 percent of the sales of fruits and vegetables sales take place through organized channels like departmental stores, supermarkets, online deliveries, etc. The balance 96-97 percent sales takes place through traditional channels like push carts, hawkers, etc. Freshkins aims to provide employment opportunities to over 500 micro-entrepreneurs. NGOs like Apna Bazaar too have approached us to take care of their fruit and vegetable section.”
Radhakrishnan adds, “Our ‘farm to fork’ model is designed in such a way that farmers will get the right price for their agriculture produce and consumers will get fresh fruits and vegetables at fair prices.”
The franchise of Freshkins can be availed through a 150-300 sq.ft. store, a mobile store or a portable kiosk / shop-in-shop. With a central warehouse / cold storage facility based our of Goregaon in Mumbai, spread across 35,000 sqft, the company will also indulge in direct sale for institutional buyers such as hotels, restaurants, consumer societies, food processors and exporters.
Gupta adds, “We will also have a Sabzi Bazaar that will be open for direct selling to vendors / hawkers. All of this would be directly done from our facility at Goregaon. For our registered franchise, we will have a door-step delivery. The entire delivery and ordering system will be IT linked. Based on the algorithms, we would suggest the franchise to order a per his sale though he / she is more than welcome to order as per his own understanding of the demand dynamics in his locality / catchment.”
Bhutada adds, “To break even, he/she will have to roughly sell 300-400 kg of vegetables / fruits in a day. With the daily supply, we will also share with him the suggested price at which he can sell. It would be his choice to either adhere to it or sell at a lower margin but under no circumstances would he be able to sell at a higher price. The promise of Freshkins cannot be compromised upon.”
Taking care of the environment, the waste will be decomposed at a later stage to churn out bio-decompose. In the next 18 months, Freshkins aims to open 300 retail touchpoints only in Mumbai. A thorough training will be extended to all the franchisees and each will be allowed to take charge of one Freshkin outlet. Radhakrishnan shares, “The bank account of each franchise will be directly linked to our system and no one person will be allowed to take more than one franchise.”