‘Happy Hens, Healthier Eggs!’
Eggoz is India’s first consumer brand dedicated to eggs. Abhishek Negi, Uttam Kumar, Aditya Singh, all IIT-Kharagpur alumni, and Pankaj Pandey founded Eggoz to bring farm-fresh, chemical-free eggs to every health-conscious Indian.
One of Eggoz’s primary visions is to preserve the nutritional content of eggs for its consumers. Eggs that are not only fresh but also of outstanding quality and have high bioavailable nutrition are now available to buyers. With focused support, technology, and expertise, the organisation wants to increase the profitability factors for rural farmers.
Q – What inspired you to develop your idea of a tech-enabled asset-light farmer integration model?
Abhishek Negi – In 2017, we worked in Nalanda (Bihar) on some agritech projects, and as part of those projects, we frequently visited the local mandi. We saw that egg trays were unloaded from trucks with vehicle numbers from Andhra and Telangana. It intrigued us, and on researching further, we found out that at that time, a large majority (more than 98%) of the egg supply in Bihar was from distant states like Telugu and Haryana. And so it took 7-10 days for these eggs to reach the retailer via non-cold chain. For a state that consumes more than three crore eggs daily, the quality of eggs is old and more than half of the nutritional values have been lost. On researching further, we found a similar degraded condition of eggs in all major centres of the country where eggs are 7-10 days old from laying. Out of 40 Cr daily eggs consumed in India, more than 97% are sold in loose and untraceable format.
We researched farmer practices from some visits, and we saw widespread use of anti-biotics, concentrates, and ddgs in poultry feed to reduce the cost of production. But these chemicals get passed on to the eggs and then to the end consumer. A consumer who eats eggs for protein and nutrition does not even get half of it and, on the contrary, gets systemic long-term health issues. We decided that the entire value chain needs a fresh and tech-driven approach. Eggs should be produced and consumed locally, and the quality should be standardised with safe and herbal feed. And, since it is a low packaged penetrated market, there is a significant opportunity to build a brand in this space.
To deliver on our promises, we developed our asset-light farmer integration model to work with the existing farmer community, add value to their business and grow their income. At the same time, we worked to bring herbal fed hen eggs to local markets under the Eggoz brand to bring perfect nutrition to all consumers rapidly and improve food and nutrition quality.
Q – How have your priorities changed from when you first started?
AN – We are all engineers from IIT and knew nothing about eggs or poultry when we started. So, we decided the best way to learn about it and the reality is to do farming ourselves. We spent the initial two years operating our company poultry farms and developed the Eggoz playbook. After some time, we started working with farmers under the integration model across Bihar, MP, UP & Haryana. Further, we fine-tuned our model to generate standardised and tasty eggs in any part of the country.
We launched the Eggoz brand in late 2020, and 18 months after launch, Eggoz is the largest and fastest-growing brand of eggs in India, with a presence in 12 cities, including three metros.
Q – What obstacles did you have to face at the start of your business journey?
AN – We knew nothing about eggs or poultry, so we had to learn everything from scratch. Additionally, we were working in rural Nalanda, Bihar, which is a problematic business territory.
So, finding land for a company farm, constructing a poultry farm, growing poultry chicks, and selling high volumes of eggs in the local market was challenging but enriching. All those years of hard work and working in rural India helped our team develop a culture and working style that can withstand any business environment, territory, or complexities. We have survived two bird flu crises which caused the crash in prices, and the corona was in the first wave; there were rumours that you may get COVID-19 from eggs!
Q – What strategies did you use for your business?
AN – We are on a path of category creation where consumer education about the present state of eggs is deficient. So our strategy has always been to educate them in various ways and give them taste samples. By maintaining freshness in Eggoz eggs and proprietary herbal hen feed, Eggoz eggs taste better, and consumers become repeat customers once they try our products.
Q – How do you define success?
AN – Having a meaningful impact on the lives of people. Provide safe and credible nutrition to people while at the same time growing farmer income. When our customers give positive feedback and share stories about their family members resuming egg consumption due to Eggoz quality, it motivates us to do more and execute stronger to keep earning their trust.