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Why Food Business Is Now Retail First? Today's customers are looking for trendy things and value for money at the same time,accordingly the industry has also evolved in a stylish manner to cater the requirements

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Food is the most exciting and a highly trending topic in business these days. The F&B and FMCG industries are drawing more and more attention from global giants and local players alike. The business of food is no longer restricted to geo location or confined by service and hospitality industries.The Retail FMCG market is estimated to be approximately $100 billion. Five times that of the restaurant market. This gap between the two formats of food business present a unique opportunity for businesses to drive innovation and build unique business models that can serve in both arenas and bridge the gap.

Since ages, restaurant business is highly localized and has limitations in terms of scalability except for a few quick service formats which also have their own limitations. Retail business is driven by products that are easy to transport, is highly scalable, profitable and can help you give access to markets where restaurant formats may not be viable. A combination of both will produce big businesses in the coming decade. The following factors will play a crucial role in helping entrepreneurs' conceptualize and develop robust business models that merge the two categories.

Food trends to watch out for in coming years

"Glocal" is the key to future food business. Global cuisine, using hyper local ingredients. Entrepreneurs should focus on offering world cuisine and products with a local touch to create enough curiosity among customers to invest in the product. People are moving towards eating out 2-3 times a week in urban markets and their choices as a result are shifting to healthier foods. More and more people are turning vegetarians even vegan. Moreover, there's a rising trend of booze free beverages among health conscious millennials. As a result, ancient Indian foods like millets, moringa, peanuts, whole grains, fresh farm vegetables, cow's milk organic and ayurvedic products are finding their way back in our lives.

Specialized teas and coffees are another set of products giving tough competition to age old carbonated drinks and alcohol.

The role of technology in your food business

Technology has enabled better storage, longer shelf life, better quality imported foods, cold pressed juices and fresh oil extractions which were a dream a few decades back. The emergence of online delivery models has also created more opportunities for entrepreneurs to be creative and reach a large number of customers quickly. The fact that companies like Amazon and Flipkart are spending huge sums of money on online grocery models is indicative that food tech will be the fastest growing segment in India.

Evolving consumer preferences

Today's consumers are more careful about what they eat in terms of quality, presentation and taste. Celebrity chefs have helped people to experiment with food at home giving food entrepreneurs a great opportunity to connect with customers by sharing their popular dishes and offering their "secret ingredients" or innovative products for sale to replicate the same experience at home. Today's customer pays for unique experiences, and businesses willing to offer such experiences in innovative ways have the potential of making it big in the coming decade.

Tips for young entrepreneurs entering the food business

I think, the future belongs to brands who can create innovative and sustainable hybrid business models that combine high quality products and services. Here's my advice to all budding entrepreneurs wanting to enter the food business.

  • Focus on smaller models which are scalable.

  • Integrate your business model with technology and spend money on high quality product development and R&D.

  • Identify the stickiness factor for customers in your business and drive retention.

  • Most importantly, don't think of an exit before entering the business. Your commitment to go all the way is what adds value to your business so make sure you are in it for the right reasons.

Sandeep Kotecha and Praneta Mehta

Founders at The Kettlery

Born and brought up in Ahemdabad, the young couple gathered their extensive research and experience in the hospitality industry to get Mumbai it's first vegetarian tea Bar.

 Sandeep drew his inspiration from a social gathering while he was drinking 'masala chai' in Gujarat. This is when he first launched The Kettlery in Ahemadabad three years ago which is up and running successfully today. Going from strength to strength, the young couple has now launched an outlet in the buzzing neighbourhood of Juhu, Mumbai. 

The ultimate passion of The Kettlery is to create and nurture the culture of  drinking exotic teas and tisanes sourced from across the world.
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