How B2B Fresh Produce Startup Aker Foods’ B2C Foray During Lockdown Turned Into Its Core Focus




How B2B Fresh Produce Startup Aker Foods’ B2C Foray During Lockdown Turned Into Its Core Focus

Aker Foods delivered B2C hyperlocal deliveries and retail sales to its B2B business to cater to the higher customer demand at some stage in the lockdown

Backed by way of Mumbai Angels, Aker Foods now earn 65% of its revenue from walk-in shops for purchasers and 15-20% from app and internet site sales

Utilising its B2C community for B2B supply, Aker Foods is now looking to release its personal labels for clean vegetables and dairy categories

Not only did Covid-19 turn life the wrong way up for Indians across lessons, it additionally had a similar sea-alternate impact on many corporations. For the likes of Ninjacart, WayCool Foods and others which have been into B2B food supply, the pandemic and the following lockdown intended that going direct to customers turned into no longer just an option but a necessity. From B2B deliver to direct shipping to the customer, meals deliver chain startups are actually increasingly competing with B2C players like Bigbasket, Grofers amongst others. If earlier, this competition would possibly have deterred B2B players, now it’s approximately tapping the opportunity and making the maximum of it. 

That’s exactly what farm-to-fork startup Aker Foods has managed to do. From being a B2B supply associate to immediately controlling the buying and distribution of fresh produce to consumers. It has latched on to at least one marketplace — its home base Pune — and is ekeing its manner into the consumer space in the lengthy tail that follows heavily funded startups inclusive of Ninjacart, Waycool, Bigbasket, Zomato Hyperpure and others. 

The startup, founded through Suraj Saste, Manoj Jadhav, Nihal Surve and Adarsh Kedari in 2019, is transferring beyond supplying sparkling farm produce and dairy substances to eating places and shipping kitchens like Swiggy, Zomato, Farzi Cafe, Subway, Haldirams among others. With eating places and delivery kitchens being shut all through the lockdown duration, Aker became inactive for April but managed to determine out the B2C approach that seemed to be operating in the hyperlocal version. 

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“We pursued this ambitiously, studied the supply chain hole and finalised on a retail model Aker Retail, that is a hyperlocal save format, with omnichannel presence,” Saste advised CFT.

It commenced through operating on its technology platform to aid the shops and focussed on one residential neighbourhood or building and shop at a time. “In no time we had been capable of broaden this. And the funding raised during this time frame kind of gave us greater gasoline to set up assets and lease the right expertise,” the cofounder stated about the March 2020 seed spherical from Mumbai Angels Network. 

Aker’s Omnichannel Fresh Produce Play

On the B2C side of things, Aker earns sales through walk-in customers in retail and standard alternate, app-based totally income, 1/3-celebration aggregators and day by day-transport subscriptions for sales of sparkling fruits, veggies and dairy merchandise, with the retail channel contributing the maximum to revenue. Up to sixty five% of the business enterprise’s revenue comes from stroll-in sales, with the ‘Aker Foods app’ contributing 15%-20% of the revenue. The cofounder also claimed that the agency has a 45% monthly patron retention fee and ninety% weekly retention. 

Through its subscription-based totally deliveries, Aker additionally competes with bbdaily, Milkbasket, SuprDaily and others to supply elements each day on a slot foundation. Finally, Aker Foods is also using grocery delivery aggregators consisting of Dunzo, Swiggy and Zomato to list its retail stores and cater to a much wider set of audience. 

“With this method, we're aiming to provide sparkling, splendid fruits and greens to our customers at their convenience. At the identical time, we are enhancing our final-mile delivery option, wherein we're able to supply sparkling, exclusive greens and dairy products inside 90 mins, but with incremental value,” the cofounder introduced.

QR-Code Enabled Tracking System For End-To-End Food Traceability

Aker Foods claimed to serve close to about four,000-5,000 orders on a month-to-month foundation through its hyperlocal, omnichannel presence in Pune.  Saste claimed the organization has a repeat order charge of 45%-forty eight% with a month-to-month sales price of INR 20 Lakh.

Solving B2B Problems With B2C Play

Given the minor success from its consumer-dealing with business, the company is also leveraging its B2C shops (unsold produce) to supply it to the restaurants and transport kitchens, that have slowly started out to perform in complete capability in recent times, besides offering it from its existing warehouse stock.  This enables the organisation reutilise the retail space and amortise that investment through more than one income channels. 

“Through our AI-based proprietary set of rules we're capable of map the supply and call for of each farmers and our cease customers in a miles extra efficient and obvious way,” Saste claimed. 

Already in talks with some investors, the organization plans to raise investment in the coming months and expand into different metro towns along with Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai. Besides increasing its footprint, Aker Foods plans to bolster its backend deliver chain and acquire new customers successfully. 

“In the subsequent 10-365 days, we plan to set up at the least 10 new stores throughout locations, generate extra than 25K orders MoM and increase private labels in the clean fruits, veggies and dairy categories, thereby growing customer stickiness.”

The Covid-Induced Pivot 

“Today, B2C offers us a larger chunk of sales, in which we were developing at a 30-35% MoM, along B2B revenue with 30% growth on a month-to-month foundation,” — Aker Foods’ cofounder Suraj Saste on going from B2B to B2C.

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Pre-Covid, the employer was completely focussed on the B2B agri deliver chain community it has constructed by way of immediately running with the farmers. In fact, Aker Foods is one of the backend service carriers for Zomato’s farm-to-fork platform Hyperpure in Pune and Mumbai.

Aker also claimed to deliver eighty% of Swiggy’s cloud kitchens and a hundred% of Subway restaurants in Pune earlier than the pandemic hit the restaurant business and many had to close shop. The enterprise did face initial hurdles alongside the way, where the procurement of the deliver dropped with the aid of 30%. But Saste claims the enterprise became able to set up credibility with farmers because mandis were close for 3 months, which unfolded the doors for private gamers to shop for directly, which in flip suit into the excessive call for from the clients. Even that became no longer easy inside the preliminary days. 

“When you are purchasing from farmers and transporting them, at times, we have been being stopped and harassed via the police for 4-five hours, for no cause, despite the fact that we had all of the files and e-passes with us. That became a little painful due to the fact we were attempting our pleasant to ensure that every one the necessities had been made available.”



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