December 4, 2021

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The Growth of Food-Tech in India & The Company Behind It: Bakers Circle

Today, the food industry is an investor’s delight. Direct to consumer companies, QSRs, and cloud kitchens enable us to consume with immediate fulfilment, thanks to the emergence of new technologies and mobile app-based services. At the intersection of food and technology, there is new across the road—foodtech. This high growth segment explores how one can leverage technology to enhance efficiency and improve sustainability in producing, designing, selecting, delivering, and enjoying food—in short, revamping the food habit landscape.

Bakers Circle is the very first entrant in India that is enabling this food revolution. A tech-driven B2B company that ensures the success of many prominent and fast-growing brands in the space.

COVID-19: A Wake-up Call for Food Industry

According to market estimates, India’s online penetration of food services is expected to double by 2025—clocking nearly $15 billion gross merchandise value. It is expected to be the third-largest consumer market by 2030, and QSR alone is estimated to reach INR ~800 BN by FY 2025.

But, what’s fuelling this growth, especially when odds are stacked against them in terms of managing short shelf-life products with dynamic customer demand and expectations? The below are a few driving forces that make Bakers Circle stand out and unique in its space.

– The ability to adapt nimbly with each changing trend driven by the Internet

– Logistics and digital services adoption by smaller cities that demonstrate the challenges in the supply chain that have been successfully overcome with in-house developed solutions.

– A growing branded food services ecosystem that is increasingly reliant on vendor creativity

– Pulse on change in customer consumption pattern, food habits, and lifestyle, especially of the millennials

– Adaptation to frozen foods that are chemical-free and increase shelf life and supply chain efficiencies

The Growth Curve & Expected Trajectory

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Supply chain, distribution, and sourcing ecosystems—all of them are witnessing an upsurge and constantly innovating.

The Internet has brought the country and the world closer to us. Today, the consumer wants what they see and with immediate fulfilment – the same philosophy applies here. The food sector is undergoing a significant revolution, and the new food processing business is all about creativity and innovation, led by investments into technology.

Supply chain, distribution, and sourcing ecosystems—all of them are witnessing an upsurge and constantly innovating. Optimising production & distribution capacity, assessing demanding signals to determine required supply, estimating available inventory, managing cash & networking capital, identifying & securing logistic capacity, all of which are being digitally transformed.

Bakers Circle: The Silent Partner in India’s Culinary Evolution

In the food industry, customization at scale is a rare thing. Companies that can do that are few and available only in limited areas. Bakers Circle is one such innovator of the food processing industry. Based out of New Delhi, the company’s factories are spread across Kashipur, Uttarakhand, and Jebel Ali, UAE. Bakers Circle enables food solutions for restaurants, bakeshops, and large foodservice businesses. Known for an exquisite range of ready-to-use bakery delicacies, this two-decade-old company leads the curve with its excellent food, logistical, and technological machinery.

Bakers Circle Sneak Peek: A Scarce Asset for Transforming The FoodTech Industry in India

The Beginning

Dev Lall, founder of Bakers Circle

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Dev Lall, founder of Bakers Circle

Mr. Dev Lall, the founder of Bakers Circle, started the company in 2000 in a 500 sq. yard property in Gurgaon with approx. 20 tons of monthly output. Dev’s purpose was to build scalable technology and services to help India move towards better food hygiene and best practices. Frozen bakery and confectionery were tough to handle with existing infrastructure – Dev invested time and energy for over several years to develop the right technology in the space. A team of food scientists and international chefs have created envious products and processes built on global best practices in the space. Today Bakers Circle generates a rated output of 1,250 tons per month in its Uttarakhand factory (most prominent of its kind in the country). The brand now commands a significant market share in this space. They supply frozen dough, confectionery and dessert to almost every major QSR operator in India, with a dominant market share in the segment. Bakers Circle is a one-stop-shop bread supplier for outlets of the retail food chain Subway. They cater in India and have expanded to the Middle East, Africa, and Sri Lanka. Some other prominent customers: KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Ola foods, Rebel Foods, McDonald’s and IKEA.

If the bread is freshly baked and delicious, even at a large chain, Bakers Circle probably manages the product and supply. The sole purpose—to help brands ramp up their product offering, reach and deliver quality products. Surging demand and the growth of the baked goods segment in India have led to an internally funded expansion to triple output capacity, add new product categories, and enable other green & technological initiatives.

Bakers Circle Belief: “Sales is all about customer experience rather than just selling.” Their supply chain is well-spread across multiple countries, and they are in partnership with best-in-class industry vendors who pioneered products to create a dynamic solution.

Business Expansion

The company’s factories are located in India and UAE and ensure supplies to arguably every major QSR, cloud kitchen, and convenience store. All thanks to a versatile, dedicated, and enthusiastic team of professionals from diverse backgrounds coupled with a robust supply chain, ensuring customers get what they desire.

Product Portfolio

Bakers Circle’s product portfolio is quite expansive. This includes frozen dough for baguettes, buns, cookies, puffs, croissants coupled with a range of confectionery products such as brownies, dessert cups, cakes, and muffins.

The Core of Technology

Bakers Circle uses state-of-the-art freezing technology to manufacture products free from harmful chemicals and artificial ingredients. Their technology-led support enables restaurants & brands to reduce costs, waste and helps them pivot to changing trends and demands rapidly without significant capital outflows. GPS and bar code tracked supply chain is another move towards Global best practices to provide high-level fulfilment and management of perishable goods.

The road to success in the food industry is not smooth, and it has to be crossed with immense patience. It is filled with roadblocks such as lack of quality ingredients, fragmented supply chain, manpower to whom this product is not native and high capital costs, along with fluid regulations. Bakers Circle is promising to ensure certainty to this. Their integration with top domestic & international vendors and forging relationships handles this with great ease, ensuring they and the clients stay ahead of the regulatory and demand curve.

The Future for the Company

The pandemic benefited from a robust supply chain of frozen goods, back-linked to a tech-enabled manufacturing system. Bakers Circle is rapidly fulfilling the need for someone who can develop simple, profitable & scalable – yet customized supply services in the food-tech industry. India is a country with a cumulative high demand but broken into multiple iterations. Bakers circle has pioneered this art giving it the unique proposition as a one-stop-shop bakery.

Dev and his team are continually brainstorming with major QSR and cloud kitchen operators to develop versatile solution lines that are scalable to ensure rapid turnaround times, lower labour costs & build efficient store formats for customers. Such innovation effectively will position itself as the backbone of the Foodicorns in India.

In addition to their massive 40,000 square foot facility, Bakers Circle is now building a 60,000 square foot facility as an expansion. The new facility will embed various global gold-standard benchmarks such as Solar power, robotics, Auto guided vehicles (AGV), SAP driven processes and the use of RFID tracking as well as further backward farm to fork integration as part of its manufacturing processes, and is expected to enable a leapfrog effect for the evolution of food standards in India. Once completed, this state-of-the-art facility will be able to manufacture stores and distribute up to 400,000 cases of product every month across a delivery radius of 5000 KM.

Dev and his team are passionate about food, and they strive to lead from the front and set the industry benchmark on product and quality. Freshness and customization at scale are their core philosophy. They are confident their team will play a crucial role in India’s move towards heightened culinary demands.

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