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  • Writer's pictureShraddha Umrao

The Meat and Seafood Businesses Became a Lucrative Venture for Startups

According to a report, the Indian meat industry is estimated at US$ 31billion and is growing at a CAGR of 20% and is anticipated to grow by US$ 65 billion by the year 2022.

Indian meat and seafood industry became an important cog for the Indian economy.

According to Sample Registration System (SRS) baseline survey 2014 released by the Registrar General of India, 71% of Indians over the age of 15 are non-vegetarians and therefore the demand for meat and seafood goes to witness a gradual increase within the future. Rising disposable incomes and growing awareness of the nutrition value of meat and seafood products have contributed to the increase in demand from urban also as semi-urban and rural customers.

The meat and seafood business became a lucrative venture for startups and have witnessed lots of players venture within the meat and seafood retail segment also are following business models varying from omnichannel, phygital among others. The new generation of startups looks to deal with the common issues faced by shoppers while visiting butcher shops.

Neighbourhood butcher shops are marred by the foul stench, unclean surroundings and the revolting sight of the way meat was handled which made it unfit for human consumption and there have been no proper checks in place to trace the source of animals. The meat sold at these shops was adulterated, consisting of anti-biotic residue, low on taste and didn’t meet the quality guidelines laid by the regulatory bodies.

From this, the concept to revolutionize how meat and seafood are sold to the shoppers have been driven by the vision to redefine meat retailing within the country by delivering the simplest quality meat and meat products with the best level of customer service within a hygienic and appropriate shopping environment.

Meat retail and online stores have adopted ‘farm to fork’ model under which stock is procured directly from the farmers. Numerous checks and stringent processes have been employed right from sourcing the meat to pre-cleaning, processing and maintaining the freshness of the produce. Other quality measures include cold chain technology for freshness, rigorous processes of preparation, packaging, and storage to make sure quality and hygienic products have changed the way meat and seafood are sold in India. Adherence to HACCP, HALAL, FSSAI and ISO certification among others have brought forth the actual fact that the meat and seafood sold complies to any or all the mandatory norms and is chemical and pesticide-free which further strengthens the credibility and addresses the common concerns of the shoppers.

The growth potential for meat and seafood sellers lie the fact to locate the proper infrastructure which could cater to a bigger audience and integrate logistics and other necessary requirements for hygienic and clean meat and seafood retail experience. Meat and seafood sellers must make sure that a fine balance is struck between the supply chain and distribution, procurement of cold chain technology ably backed by other necessary technological innovations can let the retailers meet the standard standards required for the products.

The industry has the potential to open avenues of socio-economic development where it can create more employment avenues in rural also as urban areas. Consumer behaviour will remain a key driver for retailers, to thaw out the chinks and remain committed to quality and price, the 2 key needs of the shoppers. Convenience, speed and customer loyalty programs are the opposite are the other half of the success story for meat and seafood industry. Technology has enabled services like time-sensitive deliveries in controlled environments, click and collect, doorstep deliveries and can further allow companies to expand their horizon and bring forth for the shoppers the convenience of ordering, thereby driving average purchases sizes for the businesses.

The industry has the right mix to step out of metropolitan cities and look at expanding into Tier-2, 3 cities. Though there are obstacles to deal with respect to scaling but consumption in rural areas as well as smaller cities are now being strongly driven by combining online as well as the retail experience. Companies must address the scepticism and take the organized retail experience of meat and poultry to tap into the minds of the shoppers where factors like timely deliveries and familiarity with the neighbourhood butcher shops are still a comfort zone. Along with it, the myth of price parity must be addressed which can further lay a foundation for building a robust network of meat and seafood retail. Meat and seafood industry has the potential to become a far more valued contributor across value chains, thus giving the sector much-needed impetus and making it a more viable option in the future.

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