PC Mustafa, CEO and Co-Founder, iD Fresh Food, firmly believes in Albert Einstein's famous saying, "In the midst of every crisis, lies a great opportunity". The deadly COVID-19 pandemic pushed the fresh food start-up to reinvent its distribution model, as a result of which the Rs 294 crore company is set to end FY21 with a 33 per cent growth. The company grew by 16 per cent in FY20.
During the peak of the lockdown when most stores had to pull down their shutters as companies' distribution networks came to a halt, iD's strategy of owning its distribution came in handy. The company started distributing its batters, dairy products and filter coffee decoction to residential complexes directly. It also set up a store finder on its web site, which enabled consumers to figure out the nearest store that had iD products. "Our-direct-to-home delivery was a trust-based model. We left the product at the security gate and the consumers would pick it up and drop the money in the box at the gate or pay online. There was no monitoring and that got us great brand mileage," explains Mustafa.
The company's B2C business witnessed a 40 per cent jump and made up for the revenue loss it incurred in the B2B business. "Over 10 per cent of our revenue comes from corporates and restaurants and that came to a standstill."
Though direct-to-home distribution was discontinued when the lockdown was lifted, the company has recently restarted it and is supplying filter coffee decoction to consumers. "People prefer to have coffee the first thing in the morning, hence, we are ensuring that we deliver it to them at their doors-step. We will soon start distributing our entire portfolio of products directly to consumers."
Mustafa says direct-to-home will contribute around 5 per cent to its overall revenue. "Our objective is not to replace retail," he adds.
In 2013, iD set up its first overseas operations in Dubai, which contributes close to 30 per cent of its overall revenue. The fresh food start-up is now planning to spread its wings to Saudi Arabia, Muscat, Oman and Qatar. It is also planning to enter the US this year. In India, iD has its manufacturing facilities in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai and will soon foray into Kolkata and Delhi.
Launched in 2008, iD, within the first three years of operations, sold 2,000 packets of dosa-idli batter per day. Today, it not just sells 60,000 kgs of batter per day, it also sells products such as vada batter, filter coffee, paneer and curd. "We launched curd five months ago and the revenue is already Rs 2 crore." Mustafa hopes that his revenue would touch the Rs 450 crore mark in the next year, if the current growth momentum continues.