Technology & AI: The Duo that is Streamlining the Poultry Industry in India

Deepanshu Manchanda, Co-Founder & CEO, Zappfresh Based in Delhi, Zappfresh is one of India’s leading direct-to-consumer online fresh meat delivery companies offering products across diverse categories such as raw chicken, mutton, fish, seafood, Marinated meat, precooked and cold cuts.

Poultry farming has been a very old business practice in India. The 5,000-year old industry is considered one of the crucial contributors to the economy of rural and semiurban India today. In fact, India at present is the ninth largest producer of poultry meat amongst all the countries in the world, and for the past four decades, this sector has been recording remarkable growth.

Regardless of this growth, the fresh meat industry is highly fragmented, with 90 percent of the market being dominated by unorganized butcher shops, and the manual work refrains it from scaling. Currently, the supply of meat products is majorly restricted to roadside vendors and shopping malls that primarily sell frozen meat with limited variety. With consumers increasingly waking up to the boon that is e-Commerce and demanding fresh meat that meets their exacting standards of hygiene, game-changing online players are make deep inroads in the market with better supply chain management and technological interventions.

Online meat selling startups are unveiling the true potential of poultry farming in India through numerous tech tools. They are doing so by keeping up with the changing wants and needs of customers on a regular basis. Technology such as advanced algorithms are not only allowing them to study the user-buying patterns better, for a highly customized experience, but are also enabling new-age businesses to work closely with the farmers to ensure that the meat is raised right. Till now, the algorithms have been coded manually to meet the new requirements. The process repeats every time there is any change in the system. This is when AI comes into the picture to eliminate any manual work or testing.

AI introduces a new capability into the system where the algorithms recognize the changes
that have occurred in the system and automatically adjusts itself to them. This saves time and manual effort. Online meat delivery platforms like Zappfresh deploy such programming algorithms to analyse the buying and spending pattern of users. This gives them a clear understanding of the forthcoming trends, how to target the customers with a user-specific campaign, and customize the meat delivery services for them. It facilitates efficient management of the demand and the inventory accordingly so that the startups in the industry can deliver only the freshest produce in the quickest possible time to customers.

" AI along with data analytics can increase efficiency and broaden the scope for all players in the poultry & meat industry in order to improve consumer satisfaction and streamline operations better"

One of the major concerns for startups in the poultry business is to deliver the produce through the crowded city streets of India in a timely fashion. Technology is helping them achieve this combination of speed and efficiency through smart navigation tools that can not only simplify the task of handling the deliveries in the quickest possible time but can also enable the customers to track their orders in real time.

On-demand meat delivery startups are also creating a disruption through their mobile and web interfaces. They are allowing the customers to order their choice of high-quality meat from the comfort of their homes or offices and get them delivered to their desired locations without bothering to visit butcher shops or unhygienic markets. To further optimize the meat deliveries, the startups are leveraging Artificial Intelligence in their bid to forecast future demand. Platforms like Zappfresh have their own demand-forecasting engines that help them in predicting the future demand to plan the logistics and stock well in advance. In the same way, AI in combination with data analysis techniques can increase efficiency and broaden the scope for all players in the poultry and meat industry in order to improve consumer satisfaction and streamline operations better.

Meat delivery startups are also rolling-out multiple payment options for consumers to further regulate the highly unorganized meat industry in the country. Through technology, they are rolling-out unified, simplified and fast payment options for users to pay for their orders seamlessly, without staying constrained only to cash payments.

Traditionally, the poultry farms have machines that are operated manually. This makes controlling and managing the required levels of temperature tough. As a result, chances of damage to the output or even hygiene are high. Technology is solving the production inefficiencies in this industry, which is very dependent on labour. By automating and digitizing it, it is giving real-time data on the temperature, humidity and other required parameters at the farms. This enables the farms to increase their efficiency and generally give better quality output, further raising the bar for the industry as a whole.

As per ICRA’s evaluation, the per capita meat consumption in the country is around 3.6 kg p.a. which puts the total broiler meat market size at Rs.730 billion in terms of retail price. While India still principally remains a live bird market with close to 90 percent of sales being done at local retail outlets, given the consumer preference for fresh meat, tech-enabled meat delivery startups have a promising vision. The use of digital technologies is not only allowing them to fulfil this vision and register double-digit growth for the industry, but is also helping the poultry producers to meet the increasing needs of the domestic population efficiently.