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We are building India’s first profitable D2C meat brand – Zappfresh founder

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Zappfresh’s year-on-year revenue growth has been 50%, while its clientele has also grown by 50% annually

Bengaluru: Founded in 2015, Zappfresh delivers chicken, mutton, seafood, eggs, cold cuts, duck, turkey, and ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat items across Delhi-NCR. Here is one brand that is redefining practices in the industry through its high-quality farms, hygienic processing facilities and state-of-the-art cold chain network.

An exciting start

When Deepanshu Manchanda, founder and chief executive officer, Zappfresh was working with payment service provider MobiKwik as a strategic lead, he stumbled on the opportunity to set up an online meat business thanks to Albinder Dhindsa (the co-founder of hyperlocal logistics start-up Blinkit, then known as Grofers). “He shared his dissatisfaction in being unable to solve the meat category problem on their platform as meat stores were not supporting them to get the desired experience for new-age customers. I related his struggle with my own experience as a meat buyer and consumer and realised that this was a problem and a huge opportunity waiting to be disrupted,” shares Manchanda.

Speaking about the state of the industry in those days, Manchanda reveals that the health and hygiene of poultry and livestock raised for meat were highly compromised, the cold chain infrastructure was lacking, availability of fresh produce was fractured, and meat players were taking consumers for a ride when it came to service and quality.

His learnings from his previous experiences working in start-ups had taught him how to ideate, research and disrupt large-market opportunities. He then worked on getting a team on board with his ideas. “This is when I pooled in with a few individuals [who would go on to become the co-founders of Licious, an online seafood and meat start-up]. Together, we conceptualised Licious, however just before initiating the pilot in Bengaluru, we had a difference of opinion on the strategy and workings. So, I branched out separately and, along with Shruti Gocchwal, an ex-colleague from MobiKwik, founded Zappfresh in 2015,” says Manchanda.

Zappfresh works with farmers, giving them the right price and standard operating procedures (SOPs), to ensure high-quality meat with no antibiotics or growth-promoting hormones. “For the price they are paying, we ensure customers get the quality and service they are promised—which is unparalleled as compared to the local butchers. All our products are stored at 0-40 temperature and delivered chilled,” explains Manchanda.

Along the way

When Zappfresh started, there were few believers in this new concept of selling meat online, that it can be big enough. But the brand managed to get its first investment in 2018. “We also had to radically change the buying behaviour of customers. We had to make them trust the idea of buying fresh meat online and help them see how buying from a responsible brand like ours could keep their health in check,” says Manchanda. Ensuring that the brand’s vendors and partners are committed to quality and upgrades was another challenge.

Looking to the future

Zappfresh follows the farm-to-fork model to provide customers with fresh meat. The meat and seafood are procured from farms, processed at hygienic and well-maintained plants, and custom-cut before delivery. “We are building India’s first profitable D2C meat brand, expanding to one city at a time. We use state-of-the-art technology to determine the price, availability, logistics and demand planning, and customer behaviour. This innovation keeps us ahead of the curve, and continuous improvement as a strategy is followed diligently by us across verticals,” explains Manchanda.

The brand also does feedback interventions, samplings, discussions and meetings with customers to understand what they want. “We also conduct data and behaviour analysis, customer profiling, segmentation and targeted campaigns to give us the desired outputs,” adds Manchanda. He sees the industry—propelled by more and more customers buying online and trusting D2C brands, especially after the Covid-19 outbreak—growing to a whopping $80 billion. “This change in customer behaviour is giving a thrust to our industry and we are going to see many new disruptions in supply chain and technology,” says Manchanda.

Brownie Points

  • Zappfresh got its first investment in 2018.
  • The pandemic-induced shift from offline to online has contributed to Zappfresh’s growth, as customers increasingly began buying online and trusting D2C brands.
  • The brand enjoys a presence on Swiggy and Flipkart.
  • Zappfresh’s year-on-year revenue growth has been 50%, while its clientele has also grown by 50% annually.

First appeared in The India D2C Yearbook 2022

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