“You will never see Licious milk,” promises Abhay Hanjura, co-founder of Delightful Gourmet Pvt Ltd.
It’s strange that Hanjura is promising that, considering Licious, the brand under which Delightful Gourmet operates, is one of India’s largest online meat delivery services. Since starting out in 2015, Licious has raised $64 million in four rounds of funding and claims to deliver over 10,000 orders every day, across nine cities.
It’s not even that Licious’ potential market is running out, considering India has over 500 million people between the ages of 15 and 45 who consume fish and meat, as per the country’s last National Family Health Survey NFHS-4.
For context, that’s almost 200 million people more than the third most populous country in the world—the United States.
But Hanjura’s apparently common-sense decision to never sell milk is borne from the somewhat different perspective of his peer Shan Kadavil, co-founder of Freshtohome Foods Pvt Ltd, a competing meat delivery service.
Freshtohome claims to clock over 14,000 orders a day across 10 cities. Compared to Licious’ $64 million, Freshtohome has raised a total of $31 million in venture funding across two rounds.
Unlike Hanjura, Kadavil views meat and fish as a means to an end. That end being a farm-to-customer cold chain, which he wants to put to best use by also selling fresh vegetables, fruits and dosa batter.
India’s annual meat and fish sectors are estimated at $30 billion and $15.4 billion, respectively, and are both still almost entirely unorganised. (The Ken could not independently verify the meat market share.) Which explains the rush of players trying to capture market share through an online delivery model backed by a modern cold supply chain. Other than Licious and Freshtohome, there are players like Zappfresh, Brown Apron and many others.
Unlike other non-perishable products, meat and fish delivery is tough. There are few third-party cold chains that startups can rely on, which means most need to build it themselves. And which perhaps explains Freshtohome’s decision to use its own, after having built it for fish and meat.
And perhaps e-commerce giant Flipkart’s, too, which has been in on-and-off talks with Licious for a partnership.
Share of the meat pie
The combined revenues of Licious, Freshtohome and Zappfresh make up about 0.14% of the meat market share (when calculated against $45 billion – the total of meat and fish sectors). Though minuscule, they continue to push for occupying more of the market. By diversifying
Last month, Licious started its process of diversification, with meat spreads—these spreads have 40% meat, which, they claim, is a never-before for India.