Adding Convenience to Fresh Fruits & Vegetable Delivery: An Interview
Rajiv Joshi, the Head of Buying & Merchandising at Milkbasket for the last 4.5 years, shares powerful insights on the urban demand & fulfilment of fresh produce and how Milkbasket ensures quality as well as convenience in its fresh fruits & vegetable delivery services in urban areas.
Meeting Urban Demands in Fresh Fruits & Vegetable Home Delivery
Q: Firstly, we’d like to understand the scale of the Fruits & Vegetable consumption in the market.
Rajiv: See, Fruits & Vegetables have, for the longest time, been a staple in people’s diets across the globe. They are consumed as a snack, and as a dessert, they have multiple health benefits, and have high usage in the processing & preserving industry. Their demand is only increasing with the rising population, especially now that people are more conscious about a healthy lifestyle.
In fact, by 2014-2015, India’s production of fruits & vegetables had increased nearly 3 times as compared to 1991-1992. It is also one of Milkbasket’s top-selling categories. People in urban areas are now relying more than ever on fresh fruits & vegetable delivery services like ours and also demanding greater convenience along with consistent quality.
Q: What are some of the emerging trends that you have observed in the Fresh category in the last few years?
Rajiv: Unlike many FMCG products, the trends in the Fruits & vegetable category can vary from season to season. Certain SKUs become very popular around certain festivals and occasions too. However, with better farming practices and supply-chain technology, we see that some SKUs are high in demand throughout the year now.
Another notable emerging trend is the increasing demand for cut & peeled fruits & veggies. People are willing to pay slightly more for that added convenience, especially in Tier 1 cities, and Tier 2 cities are following suit. The demand for Organic and Hydroponic vegetables has also gone up. With the trend of nuclear families and smaller households, customers now also demand smaller packaging and value packs.
Q: How are you able to deliver quality in the cut & peeled category?
Rajiv: We process a lot of these SKUs ourselves and procure some of the others. There are certain SKUs that have high demand in this category. E.g, pineapples, pomegranate, jackfruit, garlic, coconuts, etc. All our vendors are supervised, trained, and go through strict quality control. To ensure that our customers receive fresh products in the morning, our facilities begin the processing only after the demands have been clocked in by midnight.
We keep the cut SKU’s fresh with the help of our cold chain and innovative packing. The procurement of the fresh produce happens daily, so we never send the same batch to the customer after 24 hours. We are also innovating on other SKU’s that we can provide in a simpler, easy-to-use way for that added convenience to customers.
Q: Do you observe a lot of wastage of fresh produce on a daily basis?
Rajiv: At Milkbasket, our commitment is to generate zero to minimal waste. Despite the fact that in India, the horticulture industry incurs a wastage of nearly 30-40% of the fresh produce. How we achieve that is through airtight demand planning and forecasting. We have taken insights from our years of catering to the needs of urban customers. This has allowed us to create a robust and accurate demand forecasting mechanism. In addition, we also hugely leverage technology, vendor relations, and supply chain to keep our waste as low as zero.
Q: What are certain unique propositions that Milkbasket offers in the Fresh category to its customers?
Rajiv: If I were to list down the areas where we are innovating in the Fresh Produce category, I’d say: –
- Firstly, Milkbasket has one of the largest F&V assortments that anyone is offering in India. We have a catalogue of over 230 SKUs in this category. There are many seasonal and exotic products that aren’t easily available in the local market or on other delivery platforms. However, you’ll be able to find them on Milkbasket.
- Secondly, we really mean it when we say we deliver ‘fresh’. We invest highly in our supply chain and have stringent processes and quality control at every step. This includes procuring directly from the source and delivering many of the SKUs within 24 hours of their harvest.
- And thirdly, we are very competitive on the price point. With our rigorous demand planning, strong supply chain, and bypassing middlemen, we are able to provide our customers with prices similar, and many times lower than, their closest mandi or fruit markets.
Rajiv Joshi has an experience of 16+ years in the Operations and Buying & Merchandising industry. For the last five years nearly, he has been heading Buying & Merchandising at Milkbasket.
You can also read our recent blog on how Milkbasket enabled reliable delivery operations during times of unfavorable weather conditions.
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