Pescafresh – Breaking Into The Tough Seafood Ecommerce Market !

 

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Pescafresh is India’s 1st Organized Seafood Distribution and Retailing Company that provides seafood buffs the juiciest catches from the sea at their door step.

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The very sight of sea food in a movie or a picture of sea food makes our tongue automatically water just to get a taste of it (personal experience). For most of us Sunday meals are incomplete without our favorite dishes, and sea foods are a major favorite amongst non-vegetarians (also from personal experience). When you are living near a coastal area, the availability is not a matter of concern, but think of the plight of the ones who don’t have the privilege of living near a coast.

When you talk about the industry (as in selling fresh fish), it is one of those industries that is completely  unorganized. It was the prevailing unorganized business of retailing fresh seafood that spurred the beginnings of this company.

“What you eat is who you are”

Founded in 2004, Pescafresh is India’s 1st Organized Seafood Distribution and Retailing Company. Pescafresh is a business endeavor inspired by seafood lovers who firmly believe that ‘What you eat is who you are’. The fundamental principle behind the concept was to provide seafood buffs the juiciest catches from the sea at their door step.

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The quality and freshness of their seafood products, makes them stand out from the unorganised sector. The company has ushered a unique concept of delivering 100% fresh and customized seafood to the doorstep of the seafood consumer 365 days a year irrespective of seasonal vagaries. The standard operations process is designed to deliver the highest quality products to the consumers.

The Freshness Quotient

There are local players in the market in each city but that will always be the case. The Pescafresh advantage is delivering the Pescafresh freshness quotient across the cities through either home delivery or the favourite Gourmet or Super/ Hyper Market the customer likes to buy from.

Adding to the growth features is the state-of-the-art infrastructure and the first of its kind domestic seafood distribution and retailing industry in India. The seafood goes through stringent quality checks at every step right from supply to delivery. The company is also in compliance with the FFSAI, HACCP, GMP, GHP and International best practices/SOP guidelines that validate its quality and hygiene standards.

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Pescafresh pioneered new fresh fish species under the Product line Pescafresh Gormet that boasts of having the widest range of exotic seafood products from across the world such as Fresh Atlantic Salmon, Mahi Mahi, Norwegian Halibut to mention a few to be made available in India through the Home Delivery and the Shop in Shop model of business.

The Fishy Idea

Sangram Sawant, CEO, Pescafresh

Sangram Sawant, CEO, Pescafresh

The idea to incept Pescafresh took form when Mr. Sangram Sawant was working with Great Northern Products Ltd., which was into (frozen) seafood distribution in Boston, USA. He would often fly down to India to visit his family in Mumbai. Since his family was in the business of meat and seafood exports and he was always very partial to his passion which was food and especially – fresh seafood!!

The glaring loopholes in the country’s seafood sector turned out to be his calling to regularize and standardizing the highly unorganized Indian seafood market by making available fresh and custom cut Seafood at your doorstep. His mission became a reality in July, 2004 when he started as a shoestring venture initially in central Mumbai. He is also certified in the exacting quality and hygiene principles of HACCP by Society General de Surveillance SA, Geneva, in co-operation with National Fisheries Institute, USA.

The Industry Challenges

Being the first entrant in the completely unorganized market of selling fresh fish which has been run by over 60,000 Koli ladies and the wet markets for generations which are still the competition; the biggest challenge has been convincing consumers to switch from their traditional local source to a new way of buying. Breaking down the barriers and becoming the first choice of these traditional south Mumbai households was possible only by giving the consumer the best quality, fresh of fish, a range of over 40 varieties to choose from and exceptional commitment to consumer service.

The Voyage

Having spent almost a decade in the seafood industry, Sangram understood the pulse of fresh seafood industry as well as the challenges that are faced in the supply chain to the last link. There were many learning in the past decade, moving from a dial in service to a shop in shop format needed them to change the way they look at the number of SKUs that needed to be on the display to make the counter appealing. Fish is a perishable category and they had to take risks and ensure minimum SKUs to make the counter full and appetizing to the consumers.

During the initial days they had to do sampling of Pescafresh fishes to demonstrate the freshness quotient. The Pescafresh Packaging is also one of the ‘wow’ involvements that their customers are now used to, which was evolved to give the superior experience versus any other player in the market across channels.

The brand’s steady progress and rising reputation is made possible by a group of enterprising people within the company who comprise the Board, Advisory & Management Teams. Their expertise and experience have given Pescafresh sky high status after its inception. Some of the most highly regarded and knowledgeable minds in the country have been working hard behind making the fresh seafood brand achieve an indispensable presence. The management team comprises ten people including Sangram and the board of directors. Pescafresh currently is delivering fresh seafood to over 1,00,000 households across formats in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi making it India’s leading fresh seafood brand.

Scaling Up

Following their success in the existing cities, the company is in the process of scaling up its retail business to the capital Delhi with its new stores in Big Bazaar. This would be the first in the history of Future group to start Fish counters in its stores.

Apart from that, they also plan to enhance their logistics and envision selling fresh fish through e-commerce and mobile application. They are looking at the Pescafresh online store to be the next big leap for them where we can now buy from Pescafresh at our own leisure and in just a few clicks. Online has been a new avenue, to reach the fish consuming households that now prefer to buy from online grocers. Pescafresh has evolved new product lines for these online stores and are already available as a label with Local Baniya, Grofers and soon to start with Foodisto as well. They would also be launching their mobile app in near future which will help them save our favorites, show the days catch, check new recipes, share our love for seafood and more.

Further to that, Pescafresh is also evolving its Institutional sales model of supplying the fresh seafood including Pescafresh Gourmet range to Hotels, Restaurants and Catering channel (HoReCa) with Pescafresh Gourmet product – Fresh Norwegian Salmon.

They are also in the process of raising their Series A round of funding amounting to $5 million dollars. They would be investing the money in strengthening the supply chain and operations with their foray in Ecommerce.

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