The year is 2016. We have brands like Nike, Toyota, Mc Donald’s, American Express, Vodafone, and many more, well established in India, providing the same products and services as in the West. Still there was something missing. Being the largest democracy, one of the fastest growing economy with huge foreign investments, there was simply no reason for absence of same quality of fresh products & services in India as in West. On one side we have same shoe of Bata or Adidas which is sold across the globe or the same Honda Civic driven everywhere or the viral sensation Apple iPhone, but we still do not have the same level of fresh produce available. Exploration and immense study of this highly visible gap led to the inception of Frugivore.
The simple fact that India still does not have the quality of fresh produce it deserves gave rise to tons of questions which could only be answered after in-depth research, detailed study and real experience. After researching pan India fresh produce sector, studying about West’s fresh business and experiencing ground realities as farmers, the problem was well defined into six broad heads:
1. Basic Farming Knowledge & Awareness
2. Poor Hygiene & Safety Standards
3. Fragmented Supply Chain
4. Infrastructure & Cold Chain
5. Packaging, Processing & Value Addition
6. Technological & Finance Issues
Frugivore started with the ideology of being the ‘Buying Agents’ of consumers rather than ‘Selling Agents’ of wholesalers/intermediaries/producers. While there were significant investments on organizing farming and agriculture, there was hardly any effort towards what consumers deserve.
We have tried to bring the global standards of quality to rub off with our 300+ SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit) in fresh. Fresh food preferences varies across the globe: Americans are accustomed to top notch Apples & Bananas, British shoppers cannot keep any prejudice with the quality of Potatoes they buy, while French are sensitive towards a perfect Zucchini or Courgettes, and lastly Swiss consumes the best Lettuces. Identifying global standards is very theoretical but making use out of them is what brings real value addition. To get things organized, Frugivore curated a list of Key Quality Items, based on two broad criterias. First, the items which have higher sales i.e. top selling fresh products having higher penetration into customer’s carts and kitchens. Second, the items important to the customers who buy it. Avocado, Fresh Blueberry or Mushroom Portobello are examples of important items. Let’s look at some of the KQI offered by us:
1. Apples: Standard pack size with neat finish. No room for pieces with injuries or touching. Measured sugar & juice content.
2. Bananas: Standard size, typically longer than what is generally offered in market or general trade. Minimal black/brown marks assured.
3. Potatoes: Standard size in weight depending on the market supply. Washed into suma tap water and cleansed with ultrasonic technology a better looking superior product.
4. Zuchinnis, Cucumbers & Gourds: Consistent shape, size and weight achieved through sorting and grading.
5. Lettuces & Other Leafies: Sourced from specialized farms accruing to better end product. Value added by suma tap washing and ultrasonic cleaning.
6. Avocado: Standard size, colour and weight. Special attention given to ripening cycle during varied temperatures throughout the year.
Frugivore aims to develop standards after thorough research, education and experience to provide a peaceful shopping experience. We may make some hard calls in this process which may appear counter economic or unviable, but the idea of providing a premium, stress-free, grocery shopping experience to Indians outweighs all the cons.
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