Buying meat in India is nothing less of an ordeal. A buyer has to walk through the narrow blood-smeared lanes of the butcher’s colony only to be welcomed by flies and cross the beeline of customers to grab the best meat before the stock finishes.
The meat industry of India is highly fragmented, its current market size is worth Rs 1,80,000 crore and 90 percent is dominated by the unorganised butcher shops according to FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Association of India).
Besides the market is fragmented, inadequate hygiene measures and lack of surveillance of unhealthy or diseased animals makes the consumption of meat worrisome. Therefore, a tech intervention in the meat industry can improve the value chain operation.
With online selling channels being incorporated by businesses across verticals, founders Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura of Licious decided to follow an e-commerce suit in the meat market.
What is Licious?
Licious, founded in 2015 by Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura, is an online D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) meat brand that built a supply chain network by partnering with 180 vendors to deliver fresh and clean meat products within hours of order.
The customers can order meat either from the company’s website or app. Licious currently has 3 lakh customers and delivers a minimum of 5,000 orders each day across five cities.
The meat industry of India is highly fragmented, its current market size is worth Rs 1,80,000 crore and 90 percent is dominated by the unorganised butcher shops according to FSSAI
What Did Licious Do In 2021?
Licious has raised a series F funding in 2021 worth $192 million from Singapore’s investment firm Temasek and Multiples Private Equity after securing $30 million from the Series E funding round.
With the current funding, the valuation of the online meat brand is more than $650 million thus inching closer to its dream to become an $800 million company. The startup has seen a 500% growth in the past 12 months and has delivered to more than 2 million unique customers.
What Plans does Licious have for the Other Half of 2021?
Funds raised in the recent series F round will be utilised by Licious to expand its presence beyond the South Asian Markets.
To compete with its rival FreshToHome, Licious plans to open 30 offline stores across India and plans to establish its footprint beyond metro cities and launch its operations in smaller cities.
The funds raised will also be utilised to bolster its tech and supply chain capabilities.
How did Licious achieve 500% growth in Pandemic?
As covid infections began spreading rapidly, the rumours of its origin being meat products also began spreading. With nationwide lockdowns, mobility restrictions were hurting the delivery operations and also the revenues since the restaurants and hotels were closed. People were hesitating to buy meat products from nearby shops due to the unhygienic factor.
Licious’ Survival Strategy
- With most meat shops closed, Licious focussed on delivering safe raw meat with stringent hygiene measures. The company partnered with old meat suppliers and helped fishermen to do their job properly.
- The company focussed on running the factory with preventive measures by creating a bio bubble for more than 700 staff. Licious arranged a hotel for all workers, did regular temperature checks and adhered to covid-19 guidelines properly.
Here’s How They Revived
- A change in consumer behaviour led to the increase in consumption of meat as protein is vital nutrition for the patients recovering from Covid.
- Closed restaurants and hotels resulted in people missing outside food. This motivated them to cook restaurant-style cuisines such as Biriyani, Kababs, etc. at home. This fuelled the demand.
In 2020, Licious collected revenue worth Rs 180 crore and clocked a whooping revenue worth Rs. 500 crore in the first six months of 2021, a 300 percent jump from 2020.
Learnings for fresh meat and seafood home delivery platforms, apps and startups
Here are some of the learnings from Licious for startups foraying into the meat industry space:
Establishing Offline stores
After generating revenues online, Licious has its ambitious plans to launch 30 offline stores across India for better utilisation of inventory and inducing impulse purchases.
Be consumer Centric
Simply developing an online channel will not grow a business. The brand needs to understand the consumer pain points that facilitate the growth of a business.
Licious chose the farm-to-fork model over the aggregator model for gaining complete autonomy of its end-to-end business.
Quality is paramount
In the food business, quality has to be of superior standards. Licious realised that the quality of ice used for freezing meat is inferior. Therefore, it decided to develop its ice using an RO water purifier.