If you pull a face looking at the quality and hygiene every time you have to visit your local butcher or fisherwoman, then help is at hand. Online meat delivery platform Meatigo has launched in Mumbai after a short stint in Delhi. We got Siddhant Wangdi, CEO and founder of Meatigo to tell us more about the venture.
How did the idea to start Meatigo come about?
Meatigo got started in June 2016 out of a desperate attempt to find decent quality, hygienic meat for a recipe in the market. Having stayed abroad for the past few years with access to be best of meat and seafood, the visit to the elusive local butcher shops and super markets back home in India left us horrified. There was absolutely no regard to maintain right temperatures, hygiene standards, quality and moreover knowledge of the meat products.
We thought there had to be a better way, and that’s why we started Meatigo. The website makes the option of choosing from a variety of quality meat and seafood along with ingredients online and getting it delivered to your doorstep, right on time with the right packaging and the right temperature, to help you make the best meaty dishes for you and the people you care about. Our focus was largely on fresh and chilled meat and cold cuts, rather than the frozen products available in the market. We have also launched a range of ready to eat meat dishes that includes dishes like Chicken Momos, Keema Paranthas etc along with a range of easy cook Japanese delicacies, a first in India.
What were the main hurdles to starting Meatigo?
What makes a dish a great dish is the freshness and quality of the ingredients being used and that was our biggest challenge. Finding such quality meat suppliers was the first hurdle we had when we started Meatigo. Another big hurdle was to really get consumers to start appreciating quality meat. A friend of ours who had been to Europe recently said that only after going there, did he get to taste what ham and cold cuts should be and after we started Meatigo in Mumbai, he's been a fan. In India, we honestly have been eating sub-standard meat so far. Thankfully, thanks to the trend of people going out of India, I feel that tastes have evolved especially when it comes to appreciating meat.
How much time and people did it take to begin Meatigo?
The idea of Meatigo started in the beginning of 2016 and Meatigo was officially launched last year in June in Gurgaon. In the first three months, we hired a small but strong team with retail experience in Gurgaon.
What has the response in Mumbai been?
The response in Mumbai has been terrific ever since we launched in December last year. In the past one month since we launched in Mumbai, our order volumes have increased by the day and we're delighted to see so many repeat orders coming from the consumers.
What meats sell better in what part of the country (Delhi vs Mumbai)?
It would be too early to comment as we have just launched in Mumbai in December. However, given the response we've seen in the first 30 days of the launch, we feel that Meatigo in Mumbai could very well be at par with the demand we are receiving in the entire NCR region. Tracking the baskets in Mumbai, I feel that folks in Mumbai definitely want to keep trying the different offerings like salmon, mutton, pork, etc. versus a Delhi where the demand is largely for poultry items.
How was the initial response to the website?
The initial response was really encouraging. We have a lot of repeat customers who come to us on a weekly basis. Initially, we saw the Meatigo basket size starting at Rs 300-500 but once people tried the service and products, they were hooked on to Meatigo and the basket size has increased to around Rs 700-1000 now. Once we also understood the consumer profiles, we started listing cold cuts, kababs, etc. and improved our packaging and services. I remember how a consumer, who was also a chef, said that he was happy how Meat is now being given the importance it really deserved, like the hygiene, quality, packaging, delivery standards, et al.
What are the major trends you have seen so far?
We initially thought our raw products would be the higher selling category. However, 6 months down, we see our consumers, who are generally young and time pressed, are looking for convenient easy to prepare meals fuelling the demands for our processed food and ready to eat meat products. Case in point was the Meatigo Signature Range. Ever since we launched our easy cook and ready to eat Signature range, we have seen a sharp rise in the order volume, given the convenience factor and the fact we still keep the health aspects relevant versus eating outside.
At the same time, however, as consumers become more health aware, we've seen an increasing trend in the consumption of lean cuts and protein rich products such as our fresh salmon, all of which enhance the appeal towards its consumption.
How difficult is it to store and transport meat compared to other products?
Storage and transport of meat is definitely a difficult job and here in Meatigo everyone in the value chain focuses on it big time. Maintaining the right temperature is one of the most critical aspects in the meat business, more so when dealing with fresh and chilled meat products. Right from the farms, to our factory where the processing takes place, to the time of delivery at the consumer’s homes, we ensure that optimum temperatures are maintained.
The other part where we have focused on is the packaging. The standard shrink wrapped packaging in the market does not fully prevent bacterial contamination given the presence of air in the packaging. At Meatigo, we use Cryovac vacuum packed products (used in both raw and processed) that removes all air molecules from the meat which in turn ensure the consumers receive products that are hygienically handled and completely safe, while retaining the freshness, taste and quality of the meat.
How did you create the range of meats on the website?
Our long term vision is to be the go-to-place, where non-vegetarians in India can find everything they might want or need when they think of cooking meat. We covered the basics - raw Poultry, Mutton and Pork when we started Meatigo. We're on the next phase now, where we are taking the next step of our evolution, where we are getting unique ready to eat and easy cook dishes, such as traditional momos, Japanese dishes, Keema Paranthas, etc. which our consumers have really liked and given us good feedback. We also recently launched sauces and condiments such as a Tonkatsu sauce, Thai range, Korean Red Pepper Paste, etc.
Do you think there’s a bright future for a meat-only website?
We definitely think there is a future for the meat-only website such as Meatigo. The increasing trend in meat consumption and evolving palates is definitely in favour of Meatigo and the products we offer. Research shows that there will be 80 percent growth in meat demand, a fact that we are sure will help Meatigo in the long run.
Are you planning to bring more exotic meats to Indians?
We launched the first Japanese easy cook range in India on Meatigo and the dishes have been received very well in the cities where we are present. Going ahead, we will continue to bring innovative products rather than exotic meats.
What are your future plans for Meatigo?
We plan to launch in more cities in the future. We'll definitely be expanding to Bangalore and Kolkata in the coming months.
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