Human Resource Another Challenge After Logistics: Founder Of Pescafresh

The Seafood and Meat business is booming in India, where brands create their D2C platforms and front-end retail stores. Over 95 per cent is unorganised in the seafood and meat Industry mentioned Sangram Sawant Founder of Pescafresh

The meat and seafood business is a lucrative segment for startups and has witnessed a steady rise in the past few years following the various business models of Direct to Consumer, Business to Business and others. The sector has many problems like non-hygiene, unclean surroundings and improper ways of handling live stocks etc. Many Businesses are trying to convert this into an organised sector.

Most meat and seafood retail business have adopted a ‘farm to fork’ model under which the stock is procured directly from the farmers. Most of them have put Numerous checks and stringent processes in the entire supply chain to ensure quality. However, over 95 per cent of the businesses is attributed to the unorganised sector, which counts wet markets set all over India. To know more about the business side and future of the industry we had knowledgeable interaction with Sangram Sawant, founder of Pescafresh.

How did you decide on your recent investment in a supply chain company called ‘Hackle’?

Hackle is an operations and supply chain company and Pescafresh is a seafood and meat business where cold chains, first-mile delivery, and last-mile delivery are important and typically it is an operationally heavy business. When it comes to scaling up the business we needed that kind of heavy bandwidth with a company which was focused on operations. Therefore, Hackle was a part of strategic investment.

How do you see the competition in your industry right now?

Pescafresh is the first direct-to-consumer brand in the country, founded 15 years back. We have grown through word of mouth. We back it up as a fresh seafood brand, then we came up with the products like chicken, meat, and eggs. So, we are poised to scale. It is our mantra that the customer is our king or queen. No matter what, if you give value to your consumer in terms of taste and freshness, it doesn’t matter how big you are or how much funds you have. However, Big funds and competitions are good as they validate our industry and help us to grow more.

How do you ensure fresh and preservatives free food?

Our main business is Raw meat and we have a decade-long experience. We have a deeply connected supply chain and we have disrupted the traditional supply chain where we directly buy from the harbour, and have our chicken farm, with a great team of doctors for help. Ready to Eat (RTE) and Ready To Cook (RTC) ranges are the recent introductions to Pescafresh,  usage of preservatives is common these days but that is not our culture. There is no question of chemicals and preservatives, we go by our tagline for this range as ‘fresh Inside’. Our product like chicken and others does not have a shelf life of more than 21 days.

How do you maintain the carbon emission in your company's entire process?

We know about working in the carbon industry. However, people in the industry also need to address the treatment of livestock, bio-security measures, proper feed etc. Also, intensive production, like growing more chickens than the limit leads to an increase in carbon emissions and we do our best to avoid such types of situations. At Pescafresh our packaging is all recycled, and our polythene is not too used, we do whatever we can but as we grow will be more careful and focus on being environmentally friendly, smaller things that we can change are like stocking, usage of ice over seafood, packaging of fish, treatment etc.

How do you see the trend of Vegan meat?

India is such a big market and is divided into so many niches. For people who are non-veg but want to move for a while or vegetarians who want to taste non-veg but are bound with some religious things for them, it’s a market that can grow by itself. In India, a small niche market is also bigger due to the demography.

What is your biggest challenge in the business besides Logistics?

It is Human Resources, In our industry of seafood and meat around 95% is unorganised sector and how to get the right people and train them right. It is important to change the old habits to scale like how to cut a fish, butcher, keep hygiene, how to get senior people to work along with them.

What is your major marketing channel and strategy?

 We have heavily invested in the sales part technology. We have also introduced Pescalive to build transparency in the business. We believe in bringing an experience like what you see is what you get. However, traditional marketing channels cannot be ignored, it is the combination of delivering differentiated products and messages right from brand building. There are also activities, supported by digital marketing, to engage with the right influencers that complement our brand. The best marketing that we have seen is word of mouth, and it is just about how we amplify that.

What are your future goals and plans?

We would be very shortly in this quarter reaching a 100 crore revenue and will bring our products to other cities and towns. we are planning to expand but currently, we are in Pune and Mumbai. We will be introducing more tech properties apart from Pescalive.  

Why are you not focusing on your front-end retail stores?

We are not focusing on front-end retail, we have lots of our backend fulfilment centres which we call proxy area distribution, we have 15 of them in two cities and we would be more supplying to the doorstep and B2B. There would be an experience centre coming soon for Pescafresh, but we don’t believe in front-end sales we believe in more D2C sales or on a home delivery basis.

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