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Online fish and meat delivery startups are seeing a surge in orders, particularly for ready-to-eat food, do-it-yourself (DIY) meals, and grilled and marinated products, driven by people opting for hassle-free cooking as they continue working from home.

Prompted by the uptick in overall business, most of these startups are gearing up to expand to more cities and launch new products.

Benguluru-based FreshToHome has seen its ready-to-eat category grow from 1-2% to 6-7% of overall business in the past six months and expects the run to continue.

“Our ready-to-eat items like butter chicken and chicken ghee roast are doing very well. Fish as a category has seen increased adoption probably because of its Omega 3 benefits. This clearly shows change in consumer behaviour and the shift towards healthier options post-covid," said Shan Kadavil, co-founder and CEO of FreshToHome. Orders for grilled and marinated products have also jumped since December-end, Kadavil said.

Buoyed by the growth, FreshToHome is charting an aggressive expansion plan.

“We plan to launch in the top 56 cities in India in the next 24 months. Internationally, we have achieved double-digit growth in Dubai and will be entering the Saudi Arabia market later this year," Kadvil said. The startup also plans to launch more ready-to-cook products, DIY meal kits, besides adding eggs to its offering.

Meanwhile, rival Licious said that its business has soared 300% in the past eight months with a threefold jump in demand across product categories and markets with a 30% increase in average basket size per customer.

“Chicken is our highest-selling category and contributes about 40% of overall revenue. While ready-to-cook (kebabs and marinades) and ready-to-eat (chicken and prawn based spreads) contribute about 20%," said Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura, co-Founders, Licious.

Hanjura said business on 31 December saw a 200% (3X) spike over the same day in 2019, with the ready-to-cook category emerging as clear winners, with one-fourth of total business coming from the single category. Currently, Licious is present in 9 cities and expansion to new cities is on the cards this year.

Similarly, Gurugram-based Meatigo, that offers ‘premium quality’ meat and raw pork, duck, exotic meats and imported cold cuts saw a threefold growth in revenue amid a boom in online delivery and with consumers shifting from non-branded to the branded segment.

Meatigo’s ready-to-cook marinades, burger patties and momos have seen high demand in Delhi-NCR, as people ate out less and tried out different food products at home.

“Meatigo is a bootstrapped company where we sell fresh and chilled products, we don’t do frozen. Our Momo recipe itself took over 2 years of R&D to get the product right and is now already one of the top selling items based on taste," said Siddhant Wangdi, founder of Meatigo.com.

Interestingly, Meatigo was launched about four years back after Wangdi came back from Thailand where he was working.

“Not being able to find the range of cold cuts and meats that I found in Thailand, I felt the need to go beyond raw chicken and cater to meat lovers and thus launched Meatigo," Wangdi added.

Meatigo has acquired 1.5 lakh users on its app in the last six months and Wangdi claimed the startup is profitable across all 7 cities it operates in. (These include Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Hyderabad) Meatigo is launching in Chennai next month.

“We receive 40,000-50,000 orders per month across all 7 cities and the average order value is 1,200, the highest in the market and twice that of our competition," said Wangdi.

Meat startups said that they introduce 4-5 new products in the ready-to-cook category every month to lure more customers.

According to reports, 90% of India’s meat and seafood industry is still unorganised, indicating a significant untapped opportunity.

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