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The Challenges Of Cold Chain Logistics Remain In India: Deepanshu Manchanda, CEO, Zappfresh

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Manchanda spoke about challenges and the meat industry

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Sometimes it becomes a tough job to figure out fresh and authentic food products from numerous brands available in the market. Keeping all the terms and conditions of the customers in mind, Deepanshu Manchanda co-founded Zappfresh -  India's first fully integrated fresh meat brand in 2015. He says "We at Zappfresh have always focused on building the right processes to ensure that we serve the most hygienic meats to our customers".

The CEO of fully integrated fresh meat brand has a hands-on experience of consumer connect and is an expert in understanding the ever-changing customer behaviour & pattern. A modest yet a hard-working goal-oriented youth. Interned at the sales department of Frito-Lay during his MBA days, his job was to sell Diwali corporate packs of corn puffs and Kurkure to around 12 corporate houses every day. He then went on to sell credit cards at American Express and later became the strategic lead at MobiKwik.

However, the charm of the FMCG market kept attracting Deepanshu, and he took the entrepreneurial plunge in 2013 by starting his first food venture - Choc'o'leaf, a Delhi-based online bakery. But, he soon realised that the bakery market was too large and "not disruptive enough".

After spending eight months on research and development, Deepanshu, along with 27-year-old Shruti Gocchwal, an ex-colleague from MobiKwik, founded Zappfresh in early 2015.

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Manchanda narrated insight story of the industry.

Why do you chose the meat business while you experience in the FMCG/Retail market? 

Food is almost 30% of all spends of the wallet, of which almost 35 Billion is the meat consumption in India.  Apart from this, the meat sector is hugely unorganized.  The meat processing methods are still very conventional and carried out in an unhygienic manner. This is the reason why we wanted to bring in a huge change in the industry. By bringing in newer methods and technological advancements, we are trying to do our bit to reduce the huge gaps in the industry.
Zappfresh is working along with farmers to ensure sustainable livestock production thereby providing better returns to the producers. Hence, the opportunity to organize this category as well as enter a large market were the factors driving our entry.

How challenging was it to get FSSAI- and ISO approvals/certificates for a food business?
We at Zappfresh have always focused on building the right processes to ensure that we serve the most hygienic meats to our customers.  We operate on a Hub and Spoke model of central processing which includes hub stocking and customization.  

The Hub and Spoke model is used where sourcing takes place from multiple locations. This process has a central location called the 'Hub.' The location provides a single point of contact to the client. This method makes our life easier and has given us great results indeed. With these processes in place, we were able to secure the licenses seamlessly.

Explain your supply chain model? What technologies are you using to make it better?
Zappfresh is ever evolving as a company dedicated to providing our consumers the freshest and hygienic meats.  Continual improvements on the sourcing side along with strict quality control measures has made our supply chain management process very easy. We are working with farmers and slaughter houses as well as cold chain conditions to make the meat processing methods more organized.  

To be specific, the supply chain starts with identifying the right farms with congenial bird conditions and non-chemical feed.  The movement of birds from these farms to slaughterhouses is again managed in a very hygienic and clean environment which includes good air flow handling. The clean slaughter houses and temperature control along with cold refrigerated vehicles brings the slaughtered birds to the central processing center making

To whom do you consider as a direct competition? What is your strategy to compete with them or be in the market as 90% of the market for meats in India remains unorganized. Is it a barrier or a path maker for the online meat industry? 

Our major competition comes in from the offline butcher shops which are not hygienic and cannot even provide the traceability of birds.  Currently, we are leading the growth in the organized fresh and hygienic meats and with over 90% of this industry being unorganized. Because of this reason, we are confident of having a huge opportunity of feeding our consumers better and more hygienic products.

Tell us about the changing trends in the meat industry? 
There was a time when consumers did not have any option except for buying unhygienic meat directly from the butcher shops. Those times have evolved and rather changes now. Today, because of online players like Zappfresh, there is considerable realization among Indian consumers on the quality of consumption as they have a better option of purchasing fresh and hygienic meat. This has thus resulted in driving the growth pattern towards brands like Zappfresh. Additionally, the shift towards convenience of buying has enabled the online mode as well, which we are already following.

What are your future plans?

A well-informed consumer is also aware that 90 per cent of the Indian market is unorganized today. There are meat-based diseases prevailing in the current meat that is being sold and retailers are still selling unhygienic meat. Therefore, this is our current focus area and we are going to continue making this as our core area of business in the future as well.

Also, according to a market survey that we had carried out earlier, it was found that because of the busy schedule and lifestyle of people today, they are on a constant lookout for good quality meat and doorstep delivery. Therefore, this constant focus has urged us to set up a tech-driven farm-to-fork solution thereby focusing on the core business. Therefore, this remains our key focus for now and for the time to come as well.

As far as Expansion plans are concerned, our key focus area will be to cover satellite areas around Delhi/ NCR/ Chandigarh, Jaipur, Punjab etc.

To whom do you supply other than online selling? 
Our key focus is on Online selling only and we plan to further expand and improvise in this area itself. However, apart from this, we also run a few Shop-in-shops as well. But our key focus is in driving convenience through online platforms as this medium has an omnipresence and goes in sync with the current lifestyle patterns of the Indian economy at large.

How difficult/easy was it to start your venture? What challenges have you faced?
Nothing is difficult if you are determined to improve the lives of people. We realized that the meat industry is in a dire need of a revamp and we just decided to bring in a change there so that our end-consumers are provided with disease free meat products, through better food standards.

The challenges of cold chain logistics remain in India and we are working with our partners to maintain strict temperature and quality control standards so as to supply fresh gourmet meat to our consumers.

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Zappfresh Deepanshu Manchanda

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