Mumbai-based entrepreneur Chirag Kenia turned his passion for food into a successful business - Urban Platter manufactures and sells gourmet food products mostly through online channels.
At a glance:
Startup: Urban Platter
Founders: Chirag Kenia and Dhaval Kenia
Year it was founded: 2015
Where it is based: Mumbai
Funding raised: Bootstrapped
In 2015, Chirag Kenia, out of a personal passion and keen interest in the food commodity business, began selling gourmet products on ebay India, and Amazon India.
The Mumbai-based internet/tech entrepreneur had over a decade’s experience in ecommerce, marketing and social gaming and this venture was the result of over a decade of experiments in food, ecommerce, travel and cuisine study.
Today, Urban Platter has a team of 37 people based in Mumbai. It sells gourmet products of other brands, and as well as in-house products on its ecommerce site - Urbanplatter.in - and through other ecommerce platforms.
The startup claims it serves more than 36000 orders a month, with revenue of Rs 2 crore.
With more than 2,800 stock keeping units on the ecommerce site, including 1000 in-house brands, Urban Platter works with brands like Figaro, Mason & Co, Sprig, Earth Loaf, All Things Chocolate, Lavazza, eighty20, Flat Tummies, La Rustichella and Kotgarh Fruit Bageecha.
Chirag says Amazon India accounts for around 90 percent of the sales, while 5 percent comes from the Urban Platter website, and the rest from offline retail and corporate sales.
“We have a varied and widespread portfolio of brands, producers and importers that we work closely with, which comprises almost 40 percent of our total sales on all platforms jointly. We typically work with makers who are passionate and innovative in their offerings. As a thumb rule, we don't sell what we won't eat, and everything is vegetarian (and vegan, of late),” says Chirag.
Urban Platter’s in-house brand aims to solve specific problems. “We listen to customers, understand what they want and how they want it. We then work backwards to make it happen. Turns out, it's good to have a customer-centric approach to products and it works for us. We also go by a lot of insights into other products we sell, learn from it, and incorporate these in our private label offerings,” adds Chirag.
For their in-house products, Urban Platter has partnered with many cultivators, growers and farmers from whom they buy the raw material, while some raw materials are imported. “We at Urban Platter have always tried to promote local and middle-man-free purchasing, facilitating opportunities and growth for indigenous SMEs. We want to make positive impact on the industry by benefiting the growers, innovators, buyers and consumers of food,” says Chirag.
Popular in-house products include nuts, dried fruits, seeds, salts and spices, baking essentials and a vegan selection. “A simple secret to our quality is sourcing from the producer, storage (we've got cold-storage inhouse), and following best packaging practices to ensure top quality to customer.”
Urban Platter works with other manufacturers for most of their products. Recently, it began in-house manufacturing of snacks, condiments and specialty spice blends, with a complete end-to-end manufacturing facility in Mumbai.
Urban Platter will soon launch on Flipkart, Amazon US and Amazon UK, and is targeting 40 percent year on year growth. Also in the pipeline are brand-stores in Mumbai and Bengaluru. On the product front, Urban Platter will add more vegan, paleo and keto diet products, and expand to the home and kitchen category.
According to India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian gourmet food market is currently valued at $1.3 billion, and is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 percent. India's organic food market is expected to increase three fold by 2020. The growth of online-focused brands like Urban Platter is a testament to the buying buyer of the Indian middle class and changing lifestyles.