Online startups on a gravy train after the clampdown on UP's illegal slaughterhouses

“This (ban in UP) is a big positive for online players who work only with licensed automated plants,” says Deepanshu Manchanda, cofounder of Zappfresh.

Deepanshu Manchanda, cofounder of Zappfresh Mihir Tewari, cofounder of Neatmeats (In pic)
For Mangsho Mandal, a software engineer in Gurgaon, buying meat was an ordeal. While there were many shops selling frozen stuff, none used to deal in fresh meat. Enter Zappfresh, an online meat startup that sells raw and processed meat (mutton, chicken and fish) in Delhi and Gurgaon. “It’s a huge blessing for meat eaters who don’t want to buy from the unwholesome local market,” says Mandal, 35, who orders mutton and chicken at least thrice a week from Zappfresh.

Loyal consumers like Mandal have helped Zappfresh leapfrog from 100 orders a day in 2015 to over 1,000 orders now in Delhi and Gurgaon.

With UP clamping down on illegal slaughterhouses, online meat startups like Zappfresh see a meaty opportunity to grow.

“This (ban in UP) is a big positive for online players who work only with licensed automated plants,” says Deepanshu Manchanda, cofounder of Zappfresh. Started in July 2015, the startup raised $1 million in angel funding in October, claims to have an average ticket size of Rs 600 and is getting ready to expand to Noida and Ghaziabad over the next three months. “We aim to service the Rs 10,000 crore meat market of NCR by delivering fresh, hygienic and safe meat at the doorstep within 120 minutes,” says Manchanda whose startup has grown into a 100-member team in under two years.

Also read: Shutting down of illegal abattoirs is not an issue of being Hindu or Muslim, says Keshav Prasad Maurya

Quality Product
Investors too are eyeing their pound of flesh. Early this week, online meat brand Licious raised $10 million in its second round of funding from a clutch of funders, including TV Mohandas Pai’s family fund 3one4 Capital. Founded in 2015, Licious sources meat directly from breeders and owns the entire back-end supply chain.

Entrepreneurs reckon that what perhaps will give a bigger boost to the online meat industry is not the slaughterhouse ban, but focus on systemising the meat market, which is overwhelmingly unorganised. Mihir Tewari, cofounder of Neatmeats, says that the clampdown will bring the focus sharply on quality, hygiene and proper licensing. “This should help bring a more organised structure to the market,” he adds.

Also read: UP meat exporters want Yogi Adityanath to facilitate 'ease of doing business'

Started in January last year, Neatmeats claims to source its products from India’s biggest wholesale meat market, Ghazipur, boasts an average ticket size of Rs 450, logs in between 1,000 and 1,200 orders a month, and plans to cover the entire Delhi-NCR this year. “Online delivery ensures convenience, hygiene and consistent quality,” he says.

Manchanda, for his part, has been doing his bit to build and cultivate trust. Zappfresh, he points out, works directly with farmers, meat federations and export houses. “We can even tell you which farm the meat came from, what time it was slaughtered and under what conditions,” he claims.
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