Future Of Food: 06 Startups That Are Trying To Change What and How We Eat In Dhaka
Food is a big business and it is a complex problem. There are hundreds of verticals within the food that deserve attention starting from food production which is agriculture to marketing and sales and more.
Over the past months, we have covered a slew of startups trying to solve problems around food starting from companies that are trying to bring you pure food products in a market where food adulteration is rampant, to food delivery and homemade food marketplace to restaurant booking platform and more. Here are stories of a few companies that are trying to change what food we consume and how we buy it.
Note: This is a developing story, we plan to add a market map to this shortly. Stay tuned and send us any food company you know about.
Adulteration of food has become a national problem in Bangladesh. It has reached to such a magnitude that many people named it as the ‘silent killer’. It is hard to come by food products, from raw vegetable and fruits to milk and milk products to fish, meat, and processed food, that are not adulterated.
We are eating all kinds of chemicals including carbide, formalin, textile colors, artificial sweeteners, DDT, urea etc along with our food. Consequently, all types of complex diseases are growing rapidly.
This problem has given way to a growing number of pure and organic food companies in the country. Although pure food products are comparatively expensive and hard to come across, the demand for these products is growing rapidly. A growing number of population is looking for alternative sources for their food products shunned by the rampant adulteration. This is where Khaas Food, a Dhaka-based farmer-to-table pure food company, comes into play.
After completing his BBA, Md. Rasel-Uz-Zaman realized that his hard-earned degree from one of the Dhaka’s expensive private universities’ could at best earn him an entry level job. He knew he couldn’t be content working in a private company and earning Tk 20,000 per month. He had much bigger dreams and the passion for pursuing it.
Brushing aside all his doubts and overcoming the obstacles that a young man faces in a country with a high unemployment rate like Bangladesh, Rasel is now a successful entrepreneur.
Today Rasel’s company Rowza Pure Foods has nine outlets spread throughout Dhaka city providing people with the finest organic products collected from some of the remotest parts of Bangladesh and employs more than fifty people.
Tausif Ahmad is the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of HungryNaki– a fast growing food delivery startup based in Dhaka. Launched in 2013, the company has grown significantly over the past few years. It has already reached operational break-even, not a very common thing in Dhaka’s fledgling startup scene, and now eyes further expansion and growth.
We recently spoke to Tausif to know more about HungryNaki, online food delivery and ecommerce industry in Bangladesh. In this interview, he reflects on his journey to what he is doing today, talks about HungryNaki, early days and current state of the food delivery startup, challenges of HungryNaki, discusses automation, ambition and future plans of HungryNaki, shares his thought on management and competition and explores why having a business model is critical for building a company and why we should use difficulty as a guide in doing almost everything in life, focus on doing good work no matter how small it is and actively resist the temptation of choosing talking over doing.
Chaldal is one of the fast-growing online grocery startups in Dhaka. Started in 2013, the company has evolved significantly over the past years. It now serves over 1000 orders a day and employs over 350 people. The company has also launched a subscription service in November last year to make it simple for its existing users to order. In this 2016 interview, Chaldal CEO and Co-founder Waseem Alim talks about Chaldal, the current state of the company and future plans, challenges for the company, growth and team, ecommerce industry in Dhaka, and more.
Today, we live in a different world. Airbnb has made it perfectly simple for us to sleep in a stranger’s house, we are happily using someone else’s car to take a ride through the city, thanks to Uber or Chalo or Pathao or Amarbike and outsourcing our chores to Handymama or Sheba. So what about a platform that can take care of our cooking and connect us to people who want to sell home-cooked meals?
That’s where Cookups, a facebook-based (the startup is working on its mobile app) platform that allows its users to buy and sell homemade food, comes in.
Launched about three years ago, Direct Fresh (DF) has grown significantly. The startup claims to have a loyal customer base of 20,000 households who rely on its safe and fresh products delivered to their doorsteps along with a growing list of institutional clients like Apollo Hospitals, The Westin, Radisson Hotel, a number of international schools, clubs, and restaurants.