This entrepreneur grabbed the opportunity in frozen foods space during COVID-19 pandemic
Although the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted several businesses, it also turbocharged certain segments. One such sector, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), especially the ready-to-eat frozen food section, saw an increase in demand. This week, SMBStory spoke with Dibyendu Bindal, Founder of Freshezy. The Mumbai-based FMCG company manufactures frozen foods including spring rolls, tikkis, samosas, momos and more.
Freshezy’s B2B (business-to-business) unit supplies products to more than 30 clients in the HoReCa (Hotels, Restaurants and Cafe) sector. The company has also recently ventured into plant-based products with its B2C (business-to-consumer) brand MIGHTY. The Indian frozen food market is projected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of more than 16 percent during 2018-2023 to reach $647 million by 2023, a report by ResearchAndMarkets says. According to a separate report by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMAR), the segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17 percent till the end of 2024. Amid the nationwide lockdown, even startups like Licious, ID Fresh Food, and Grofers, among others, reported an increase in the sales of ready-to-eat and frozen foods categories.
Freshezy came into existence last year when Dibyendu acquired an FMCG company Go Veg, which had been running for 12 years. A manufacturing unit of the company situated on Mira Road in Mumbai was also part of the deal. An initial amount of Rs 50 lakh was invested to take the business off the ground. Until 2021, Go Veg sold products under the brand name Spice Tree, which has now been rebranded as Freshezy.
“With the pandemic coming in, we saw an opportunity in the frozen food products,” Dibyendu says when asked about the company’s foray into the segment. Several others players that ventured into a similar space includes Wakao Foods, GOELD, GRUhaSutram and more.
For Freshezy, the pandemic came with unique roadblocks. Although the demand for frozen foods picked up during the crisis, the company’s manufacturing unit was in Mumbai, one of the worst affected regions. Dibyendu says it was tough to operate amid these circumstances. The founder, however, remains optimistic and says that the demand for ready-to-eat products “is here to stay.”
Talking about the trends in the frozen foods segment, Dibyendu highlights that healthy foods are in demand. “They (customers) have become conscious about making healthier food choices, having more protein in their diet and more,” he says.
Against this backdrop, Freshezy has launched a plant-based ready-to-cook range under the brand name MIGHTY. Launched in September 2021, the B2C business has so far clocked revenues worth Rs 20 lakh. The team has also grown to 25 employees today.
Dibyendu did not reveal the revenues of the B2B vertical but adds that the company is projecting a revenue of Rs 3 crore by the end of this fiscal year. Dibyendu’s vision for the coming months is to up the B2C vertical by getting listed on platforms like Nature’s Basket and also sell through its website.