The country’s first egg-focused consumer brand, Eggoz Nutrition, wants to become the poultry sector’s “Amul” brand, which is known across the country for the quality and reliability of its products, says its co-founder Abhishek Negi.

“Today, you can close your eyes and consume any Amul product in any part of the country. We are looking to build such reliability and quality for our eggs,” said Negi, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur who, along with Uttam Kumar, Aditya Singh and Pankaj Pandey, launched Eggoz Nutrition in 2017. 

Though the start-up was launched in 2017, it was not until 2020 that Eggoz Nutrition was launched as a brand. Eggoz Nutrition has now emerged as the leading egg brand in North India. 

Gets Nabventures funding

Eggoz, which has attracted venture capital (VC) from Nabard’s VC fund Nabventures, is currently present in the National Capital Region of Delhi, Allahabad, Bhopal, Indore, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Lucknow, Patna, Ranchi and Bengaluru. 

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“Over the next couple of weeks, we will be present in Kolkata too. We want to aggressively expand our brand over the next two years and be available in 40 major cities,” Negi said, adding that it also wanted to be a ₹500-crore brand by that time. 

By the end of this year, Eggoz expects to be available in all major cities, particularly metropolitan cities. “Currently, we have 20-21 farmers, who rear three lakh birds, working with us. The number of farmers with whom we work will increase as we expand our operations,” he said. 

Where it all began

So far, Eggoz’s journey has been one of ups and downs. The founders started by launching their own farm with 12,000 birds in Bihar and then expanding to Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 

“We are now offering our model to farmers to work with us. Actually, when the Covid pandemic set in, the farmers were also affected. We did not want to cancel our agreement with them. Since our supply chain was ready, we launched aggressively to ensure no farmer was left out of our structure,” Negi said. 

The way Eggoz was launched is interesting. “We didn’t like the eggs we were getting. They were smelly, unhygienic, the contents were falling like water and the omelette was like paper,” he said.

But there were other reasons that set the founders to think hard about launching the venture. Eggs are a ₹85,000-crore market growing at 16 per cent annually. 

“At least 97 per cent of the egg consumption is in the loose form with South India accounting for 70 per cent of the production. North India’s contribution to consumption is 60-65 per cent,” the Eggoz co-founder said. 

Herbal feed

The issue with egg consumption, as the start-up founders realised, is that 50-60 per cent of the nutrition is lost by the time a person consumes the egg. “This is when we thought of a brand of eggs that promises freshness and perfect nutrition. And we started to work with farmers with this in mind,” he said.

Abhishek Negi, co-founder, Eggoz Nutrition

Abhishek Negi, co-founder, Eggoz Nutrition

Eggoz gave a guarantee of purchase to the farmers who came forward to work with it and supplied them with herbal feed. “The herbal feed mainly comprises soya, maize, marigold and turmeric. The quality of feed is also important to ensure the bird is free of stress. This enhances the quality of eggs and also the life of the bird,” Negi said. 

While procuring eggs from the farmers, the Eggoz staff carry out 11 safety checks, including proper handling, removing blood-stained eggs, standardised size and those that pass microbial tests. The eggs are UV sanitised. 

Monitoring birds

Eggoz’s relationship with the farmers isn’t confined to supplying the feed and purchasing the eggs. The start-up has arrangements to monitor the birds round-the-clock for temperature, humidity, the health of birds remotely through the Internet of Things device. 

The firm also provides an app - Pragati Poultry Farm Management App - to farmers to enter details of feed and egg production. “If the output is lower than 90 per cent of the birds on the farm, then we begin to enquire. If any bird is unwell, we deploy veterinarian doctors, who make special visits to the farms at least a month, to take care of them,” Negi said. 

Most of the farmers engaged by Eggoz are of medium-scale, rearing 12,000-15,000 birds. Each such farm produces at least 10,000 eggs daily which are “duly picked up, rain or shine within hours” and supplied to customers fresh within 24 hours. The start-up helps improve the style of farming if the farmers follow the guidelines provided to them by its staff. 

Increase in income

For their efforts, the farmers get a 20-30 per cent increase in basic income for standard white eggs. This is a premium over the rates fixed by the National Egg Coordination Committee. “We pay double the price for brown and speciality eggs such as fortified ones,” the Eggoz founder said. 

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Eggoz, which recently raised $3.5 million in pre-Series A funding, also markets Nutra eggs that are rich in Vitamin D and VitaminB12. The brown egg has a different nutrient profile and farmers have to rear a different breed for this. The fortified eggs have more folic acid and are targeted at children and pregnant women.

The start-up is now looking at getting farmers who work with it better insurance coverage. “There is no full-fledged insurance coverage for poultry growers. We are trying to organise a better coverage for them,” Negi said.