In a country like India, where almost 40 per cent of the population is vegetarian, there’s a lot of room for growth for Simpli Namdhari, a 100 per cent vegetarian grocery business that specialises in seed-to-plate sourcing and experiential retail stores. The company recently opened its tenth store in Bangalore’s JP Nagar area, and CEO Gurmukh Roopra said there are more to come. “It has been a positive start to the year so far. As a result of the improving economy and the return
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return of people to bricks-and-mortar stores, our retail business has grown by 30 per cent in the past year,” Roopra told Inside Retail.
Simpli Namdhari’s CEO Gurmukh Roopra
He went on to say that the company has opened three stores in Bangalore since October last year, and he is confident that the company can replicate its successes in other markets too.
A bit of background
“We are an experience centre offering a comprehensive range of value chain integrated fresh fruits and vegetables, a residue-free range of staples, single-origin dairy products, in-house bakery, imported dry fruits, healthy snacks, and more,” Roopra said.
According to Roopra, the brand’s strength lies in its ability to control the value chain with an aim to become a fully integrated retailer offering a unique assortment of products and home-developed food recipes for on and off-premise consumption.
“Over 70 per cent of products that make up a consumer’s shopping basket are available at Simpli Namdhari’s where we integrate backward from a value chain perspective to deliver premium quality products,” he added.
“Simpli Namdhari’s is not just a premium retail store but an experience we have carefully curated based on customers’ expectations. They have resonated with our concept of grocery and in-house café to provide an overall seed-to-plate experience,” Roopra stated.
He believes that the pandemic has brought about a change in how Indians view their produce. Many consumers are making changes to their buying habits and have become more discerning about what they eat, and how food is prepared.
“Adopting a healthier lifestyle is not just a behavioural change. This ties back to why more people are returning to bricks-and-mortar stores as the entire offline experience is key to value creation,” he noted.
Roopra explained that in terms of the value chain proposition, the brand has full control over the breeding of seeds, seed distribution, cultivation and harvesting. This is a big factor in creating residue-free products for its consumers.
So far, Simpli Namdhari’s customers have been quite excited about the concept of groceries and ready-to-go meals with a healthy yet indulgent feel to them. The meals have a home-cooked taste profile and this has resonated well with consumers.
“This combined experience has been positive for the company because we’re in sync with what customers want and expect. The brand has introduced a beauty and wellness corner, which even has an experiential tea zone,” he noted.
Roopra believes that customers are more likely to engage with in-store experiences rather than online ones. At the end of the day, customers want unique yet discernible elements and as a retailer, Simpli Namdhari must provide that at every touch point of the customer journey.
The retailer’s experience for over three decades in cultivating crops has been a major factor in its success. This is because one of the major challenges for a fully integrated agribusiness is the vagaries in climatic conditions that can hamper supply chains.
“For this, we leverage our vast land banks throughout the country, mitigating some of the challenges posed. For instance, we have been able to standardise crops like strawberries and blueberries throughout the year, which no other retailer is able to do,” he explained.
The brand works with over 10,000 farmers at the grassroots level to ensure its products are store-ready. Roopra said the team oversees each touchpoint to ensure the delivery of superior quality products.
“We plan to expand outside of Bangalore and are going to launch a store in Hyderabad in the first half of the year and maybe two or three more stores in the coming months,” he said.
Roopra is of the opinion that building a seed-to-plate ecosystem requires establishing a strong network of collaborators and the team is looking for strategic and financial partnerships to expand the trading business, retail, production and exports.
“We are also looking to collaborate with property developers to grow our retail presence so that we can take this fun and exciting journey and make it available to a wider set of people,” he concluded.