New Delhi-based Fresh From Farm (F3), a pioneer in B2B2C fresh fruits consolidation firm, plans to expand to four cities closer to the National Capital Region (NCR) over the next 12 months, its founder Rohit Nagdewani has said. 

“We plan to move to Agra, Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Ludhiana in the next 12 to 14 months. We have a two-fold plan for the next two years,” he told businessline in an online interaction.  

The first plan is to focus and go deep in NCR, where it has roped in 400 vendors and got enquiries and interest from 2,500 more vendors. The second is to expand to the nearby cities with the same business model. 

 Rohit Nagdewani, founder, Fresh From Farm

Rohit Nagdewani, founder, Fresh From Farm

At the same time, F3 sees merit in building certain private labels or certain brands within the fruit ecosystem. “And that’s something that we also aim at doing,” Nagdewani said. 

Exploring potentials

The Fresh From Farm, which was launched in 2021, has plans to export to. Its team went to Dubai to take part in the recent Gulfood, while the founder himself spent some time at the Global Fruit Logistica in Berlin earlier this year. 

“We explored certain export potentials for bananas and pomegranate. So we’re working on that as well,” he said. On importing fruits, he said the company was working with large-scale importers and over the next 6-9 months, it would have large enough quantities daily to justify direct shipments from “certain global markets”

F3 was launched to overcome the operational challenges that a fruit vendor faces today. “As an organisation, owing to our skill set of being able to procure and move fruit very efficiently solve these challenges by being able to procure directly from the farmers, sorting it and grading it into a central facility in New Delhi,” Nagdewani said.

The fruits are then delivered at the vendor’s location by 7.30 am, bypassing all the challenges the trader has to face and thereby, “allowing him to focus only on sales”, he said.

Bulletproof model

F3 does minimal minimum order quote (MOQ) and it helps vendors by not charging delivery costs. “All of these allow the vendor to earn about 10-15 per cent more than what he would have earned you while going through the regular APMC (agricultural produce marketing committee yard) route, Nagdewani said.

The company is looking at the southern and western regions too but it would like to “build a bulletproof model” in terms of operation. “Over the next 10 to 12 months once that model is in place, once we have the tech and its integration in place, we can do a copy, paste, cook and cut model across different cities in India,” the F3 founder said.

The company, which deals with 15-16 fruits every month, recently raised about $2 million. This is the second time that it has raised funds. “Exactly a year ago, we raised ₹3.5 crores from Inflection Point Ventures and other angel investors. The current round is to set up a large facility in New Delhi that allows us to service about 800- 900 vendors by next year,” he said. 

The latest funding will help in F3’s rapid growth and service the large vendor base through technology. The company is building certain integrated technologies to help in grading and moving the fruit. 

Working with farmers

F3’s annual revenue is currently ₹50 crore with the monthly transactions being ₹4-4.5 crore.  

The company’s vision is to become India’s largest fruit company over the next 5-7 years. The company has long-standing relationships with the farmers and it has a dedicated procurement team that travels pan-India. “We have a farmer base of about 300-400 farmers across the country from whom we regularly buy,” he said.

The company gets apples from almost all the States where it is grown, stonefruit from America and mangoes from the southern States. On how the fruit procurement is done, he said F3 has identified farmers who deliver their products to Delhi’s Azadpur APMC, the largest in the country. 

So, it works “part-loads with these farmers”. For example, if someone is sending 400 boxes of applies to the APMC, F3 secures 150-200 boxes from him.  “They mark it for us at the farm level so that we can easily offload outside the APMC and bring it to our location,” he said.

Quality control

The company is evaluating “certain” grapes and apple farmers to enter into contract farming next season. It has been building volumes over the past 2-3 years and it is now getting ready to ask these farmers to grow exclusively for F3. 

Asked about how farmers benefit by selling to Fresh For Farm, Nagdewani said a produce changes 2-3 hands before it reaches APMC yards. Since the company bypasses these hands it is able to make extra margin, part of which it shares with the farmers. “Apart from the vendors, we typically pay 5-7 per cent more than what the farmer gets while selling it in APMC yards,” he said. 

The company chose the current model as even today 90-95 per cent of the fruit sale is done by the local vendor at street corners. “We thought that there is merit in doing this and will help build a large organisation,” he said. 

On quality control, Nagdewani said the company has a strict process in place with various measures. The fruit is graded into three parts — retail, HoReCa (hotel, restaurants and catering units), which may not require retail grade produce, and processors, who may not be keen on the physical appearance.