We’re Changing The Landscape of Seafood Supply Chain In India: Dippankar Halder, Jalongi

We’re Changing The Landscape of Seafood Supply Chain In India: Dippankar Halder, Jalongi

With startups building store presence, creating sourcing channels and developing their own supply chain, the sales and availability of quality Fish & Seafood products has seen considerable growth in the last few years across India.  

For many decades, fish and seafood products remained the third most preferred category, listing only after poultry and red meat, mainly due to limited availability, the high cost of products, and the absence of organised players in this segment.   

Dependent on wet markets and local sourcing, the fish and seafood as a category also always faced stiff competition from poultry products, wherein, the supply chain from local farm producers to leading corporates to retail outlets was organized and, also, was being designed and dominated by leading players in that segment, providing this segment with a nationwide network, mass availability and low cost of acquisition.

Startups, who primarily deal in the sector, have developed their own supply chain to bring efficiency into the system, reduce the time between product sourcing to customer delivery, deploy technology hacks to control product quality and tracking, and are building value chain that provides equal growth opportunity across the fish and seafood supply chain.  In an interview with BW RetailWorld, Halder, talks about the company, supply chain management in the seafood sector and more

  1. How would you define the USP of your startup?

We cover the entire spectrum from direct sourcing, managing its supply-chain, product management to customer delivery. We are the only startup in this segment to build on to this model. We have built our coast-to-coast direct sourcing model that helps us in maintaining the quality of our products and ensures a range of over 100 varieties on a daily basis for our consumers. Similarly, we have developed our own supply chain to reduce intercity travel time to ensure the availability of fresher products and we use road and air transport as and when required. We are also deploying technology support to monitor and track our products routinely, while en route from the source to our stores. The biggest advantage is for our consumers who have the choice of over 100 varieties at reasonable costs, as we are able to provide the products at better rates since we source directly from fishermen and gain price advantage, surpassing the traditional logistics hurdles of middlemen.

  1. What are the growth potential for your startup?

In the last four years of our operations, we have witnessed a year-on-year three-fold growth in our business, and our growth rate saw positive movements even during the Covid pandemic. We have served over 5,00,000 orders so far and have a healthy rate of over 75 per cent returning as repeat customers. With pan India sourcing, we provide over 100 varieties of products to our customers on a daily basis, and we have built-in in-house efficiencies to deliver custom-cut, clean & washed pan-ready products to our customers at their doorstep.

Demand is not a problem in this sector, its’ all about sourcing and managing the supply chain. We are hopeful of closing the FY 22-23 at INR 35 crore, 2.4x of our last year turnover and have a target to build a profitable INR 1000 crore business by 2027.

  1. How do you plan to reach INR 1000 crore target by 2027?

As I informed earlier, demand is not a problem in this sector, its’ all about sourcing. Our continuous focus is on building our sourcing capabilities to ensure range and quality and we continuously strive to reduce the time between the catch and the consumers.

To support the demand statement, data reveals that over 72 per cent of Indian families are non-vegetarians by choice and have a minimum of one such meal at least in a week. Though the choice of food (chicken / Goat meat / Fish & seafood) may differ based on preference, availability and location, Indians do enjoy a good hearty dish of non-vegetarian preparations across the country.

We wish to capitalize by providing consumers with a choice of Fish & Seafood products in locations where local sourcing is inefficient to meet consumer demand. We have already created presence in nine states in India and will soon foray into another seven states, in next 6-9 months.

Offline presence is essential to build trust, drive faster and cost effective acquisition. We have launched our first 2 stores in Delhi NCR for selling Raw and Cooked Fish & Seafood items. We will be launching 4-5 stores in each city we operate, build more distribution centres, efficiently allowing us to increase our distribution capabilities, building strong online brand presence for consumer convenience and present the biggest available options for Fish & Seafood products under one banner.

  1. How are you building up your startup capabilities to meet your 2027 target?

Every startup is as efficient as its team and we have the best of talent from the industry to manage our key departments like Merchandising, IT, Supply chain and Marketing. Most of our leaders come from strong retail experience having rich experience of having worked with brands like Walmart, GE Capital, Siemens, Radhakrishna Foodland, Reliance Cash and Carry, Big Basket and Future Group to name a few.

We are also building in-house capabilities by providing our employees, both front-end and back-end, with training on product management, CRM and store management.

We are building state-of-the-art distribution centres across India to help store, sort and distribute our products for higher geographical reach. We are also deploying technology to improve product tracking and monitoring product temperatures to maintain the quality of our offerings.

  1. What are your plans for fund raising?

We are on a growth momentum and to accelerate our expansion plans, we will be raising about $10 million by March 2023. We are already in talks with leading investors and VCs, and should be announcing the fund closure soon.

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