Metro Cash & Carry India anchors start-ups for long business innings

Mumbai-based ready-to-cook food start-up Chefs' Basket had its share of teething troubles. The brand, owned and marketed by Fizzy Foodlabs, found it tough to scale with its limited portfolio.

A partnership with Metro Cash & Carry India, Germany-headquartered B2B (business-to-business) wholesaler, turned out to be the ladder of hope. Chefs' Basket could reach out to relevant retailers, leveraging the wholesaler's network.  

“Doing business with Metro had two great advantages. Firstly, it was an avenue for the brand to do sampling of the product for increasing awareness. Secondly, being a start-up, it's difficult to scale to general trade with a limited portfolio. The B2B format allowed us to reach the relevant retailers instantly,” said Nipun Katyal, founder of Chef’s Basket.

The food start-up started retailing with Metro in 2015 across its Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi and Punjab stores.

“From Rs 30,000 per month, we reached a sale of over Rs 10 lakh at Metro and the growth was attributed to the support system of Metro wherein jointly we took up targets with category managers and achieved them,” he said.

“For a start-up brand, the most crucial thing is to be visible and to generate a threshold number of consumer trials before scaling up and Metro proved to be one of the key platforms for us to be able to do that successfully.”

According to Metro, the market for start-ups is awash with capital and they are egged on by supportive government interventions. But many start-ups lose their way and fall by the wayside. "Over the years, Metro has been nurturing countless small independent businesses and start-ups to help curate an ecosystem of entrepreneurship in the country. These start-ups get access to our 3 million customer base in India. The engagement with these start-ups has helped us immensely to introduce innovative products mix into our 27 wholesale stores and meet the unmet needs of customers,” said Arvind Mediratta, managing director & chief executive officer, Metro Cash & Carry India.

“Over 30 new-age food and tech start-ups have associated with us, many of which have now scaled up their operations from a single city to multiple cities. We are constantly on a lookout to partner with new start-ups and entrepreneurs who can add to our assortment range and help improve our in-store experience for customers. As ‘Champions for Independent Business’, Metro is accelerating and fueling the entrepreneurial spirit of the start-ups in the country,” he said.

Non-food tech start-ups like Pazo have also hit a purple patch after partnering Metro. Bengaluru-headquartered Pazo, a real-time solutions-to-operations management platform has gone global with Metro availing its services since June 2018 for issues/ticket management, facility management, and communication.

“Working with Metro has put us on a global platform. As a start-up based in India, we were focused on building the product only for the needs of the Indian subcontinent. However, while working with Metro, we enhanced the product specifically from a data security perspective. Currently, Pazo is getting deployed in over 10 countries such as that of Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, etc, through our other customers,” said Hasan Ali Kanba, co-founder of the tech platform. Also, we are in talks with the operations team of Metro’s global units for scaling this beyond the Indian stores, Kanba said.

For Sattviko, a Delhi-based packaged food company, expanding footprint came easy with Metro's collaboration. “In 2017, Sattviko partnered with Metro. Sattviko was able to promote its products not only in modern trade, but also to general trade. Metro contributes to around 10 per cent of Sattviko’s total business,” a company source said. Metro claimed few start-ups like, Neogrowth and food start-ups like Meiji India and The Green Snacks have partnered exclusively with it. Metro boasts of a team of 800 members who promote the products of these start-ups to its business customers. 

The start-ups have access to Metro’s hotels, restaurants and caterers segment with an enormous customer base.

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