AHMEDABAD: Next time if you are planning to buy prawns, shrimps, freshwater fish, shellfish, local or any other exotic fish varieties, you need not visit your traditional stinky fish markets, rather pickup your computer mouse to click and visit e-fish markets. There is a steady rise of e-commerce fish market place that have gained momentum with the rise of e-grocery and advent of new cost-effective freezing technology.
After being repeatedly disappointed with personal seafood experiences, Pune-based couple Bijal Patel and his wife decided to set things right. After selling off their 12-year-old software technology company, they started online fish selling venture -fishvish.com that delivers fresh fish at the door steps.
Started in 2013, they realised that it has a tremendous potential in the online fish business segment as more and more people are willing to pay for quality and va riety products with convenience of home delivery and the surety of a “brand”, the sky was the limit. “The growth of e-grocery has further boosted the acceptability of online fish sale,” says Bijal Patel, cor founder of Fishvish. l Similarly , Santosh Bendkhale, an engineer and entrepreneur, along with other four engineer friends, started mumbaifish.com in 2013. From day one, he had enough traction to sustain this untested business model in India. “Last year our growth rate was almost 100 per cent,” says Bendkhale adding that their margin is around 21.6 per cent and has 44 per cent repetitive customers.
Mumbaifish now plans to move beyond Mumbai and then it would use IQF technology to freeze fish. Currently , it sales to retail customers (home delivery) and also supplies to other e-grocery players in Mumbai.
Atama Ram, 50, from Goa, left his home furnishing business to start e-fish delivery business in Goa. “This concept was the result of reading about flipkart and snapdeal,” says Ram, founder of freshfishgoa.com. “Been a perishable commodity , it has to be sold immediately and here online business play an important role in penetrating the market. Currently it’s in nascent stage but shown phenomenal growth of 30 per cent month-onmonth basis for us,” says Ram.
“Been a perishable commodity, it has to be sold immediately, and here online business plays an important role in penetrating the market. Currently, it’s at a nascent stage, but has shown phenomenal growth of 30% month-on-month basis for us,” Ram said.
Experts say there are two factors supporting the growth of e-fish market start-ups—one is the growth and acceptability of the concept of buying grocery via internet that has led people also accept (even on experiential basis) of ordering fish. The other is the use of IQF technology, which scores over the traditional ice-block technology.
“The major disadvantages of block freezing is that the fish/seafood loses its (taste and smell) identity and the consumer is forced to buy the product in bulk,” said Chirag Dagli, an ecommerce consultant at eCUMEN. Dagli has worked and developed an ecommerce platform for fish sellers.
Fishvish and freshfishgoa use IQF technology, where each piece is individually glazed with a thin layer of water and quickly frozen down to minus 40 degree centigrade. The water forms an ice skin on the seafood (fish) and protects it from the air. Packaging is food grade poly-bags in 1/2kg to 1 kg weights.