Business Today

Wholesome To The Core

The Gurgaon-based company procures, processes and delivers farm-fresh and chemical-free meat, poultry and fish
Sanghamitra Mandal | Print Edition: September 8, 2019
Wholesome To The Core
ZappFresh Co-founders -- Deepanshu Manchanda and Shruti Gochhwal Photograph by Shekhar Ghosh

The Founders

Deepanshu Manchanda (CEO) and Shruti Gochhwal (COO). During his MBA days, Manchanda worked as a salesperson for an FMCG brand and later joined the e-wallet start-up MobiKwik where Gochhwal was a colleague. Both were keen to explore the FMCG space and finally decided to set up ZappFresh (registered as DSM Fresh Foods), an online meat shop selling hygienic fare.

The Concept

Most people buy their meat and fish from local butchers or supermarkets without realising the quality risk, explains Manchanda. "Freshness is just one part of it. Think of the feedlot diseases and the antibiotics used to prevent those, the growth hormones and the chemical preservatives. As 90 per cent of this market is unorganised, these hazards are constantly on the rise. We also did a market survey and found that people are looking for good quality meat and doorstep delivery. Quality and convenience were missing in this space, and it allowed us to set up a tech-driven farm-to-fork solution."

The Backers

ZappFresh initially raised $1 million from start-up investors Ashvin Chadha, Jitender Gupta and Sandeep Roperia. It secured another $3 million in 2018 from SIDBI Ventures and Dabur India Vice Chairman Amit Burman.

The Business

The company pursues an integrated approach to ensure quality and speed. It directly procures from high-quality farms instead of mandis, wholesalers and local meat shops. A stringent quality control system on the ground makes sure that the livestock is entirely free of antibiotics, growth hormones and other chemicals. Random lab tests are also run for this purpose. ZappFresh has tied up with a cold chain for farm-to-company deliveries and operates a fully equipped meat processing unit so that it can do away with unhygienic and overcrowded abattoirs. It has smaller, temperature-controlled units at key distribution points for maintaining product freshness throughout the supply chain, and its staff members do last-mile deliveries. The halal-certified start-up has a two-hour delivery schedule, accepts same-day returns and offers a wide range of raw meats, seafood, marinades, cold cuts and ready-to-eat hors d'oeuvres. It is also tapping Big Data, blockchain and automation to enable demand forecasting, provide sourcing trans-parency and scale up order processing.

The Road Ahead

In spite of procurement and logistics challenges (you must have a local base in this kind of business, says Manchanda), ZappFresh is keen to disrupt local fish-and-meat markets. Therefore, it will enter three more cities in CY2019 and also increase offerings under the ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat sections, mostly favoured by the Gen Y.

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