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Curefoods buys out 5 more food brands to double down on brand play

The company currently has more than 20 brands in its portfolio and is looking to have 35-40 in its stable by the end of 2022

January 04, 2022 / 12:57 PM IST
Representative Image (Source: ShutterStock)

Representative Image (Source: ShutterStock)

Curefoods, started by former Cure.fit co-founder Ankit Nagori, has acquired five more food brands as part of its plans to build a house of food brands.

With this, it currently has more than 20 brands in its portfolio. In a press release, the company said it is looking to onboard a total of 25 brands by the middle of 2022.

The newly acquired brands include Juno's Pizza, Cupcake Noggins (which it will merge into its existing bakery brand CakeZone), organic ice-cream brand Iceberg, Nomad Pizzas, and Jaipur-based multi-brand cloud kitchen White Kitchens.  It plans to expand to 20 cities and 200 locations in the year ahead.

“To cater to multiple eating occasions, cuisines, flavour profiles, and regional nuances, we are bringing in a plethora of such companies. Our goal is to equip them further with our tech and business expertise to enable them to continue serving up some great dishes for customers," Nagori said in a statement.

Curefoods recently raised $13 million in a round led by venture firm Iron Pillar, Nordstar and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal to acquire and incubate growing cloud kitchen platforms and also closed a $10 million debt round from Alteria Capital. It is in talks to raise an additional $30 million from investors such as Accel and Chiratae.

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Apart from its original brand Eat.fit, the company’s other acquired brands include CakeZone, MasalaBox and Paratha Box. It also has exclusive online franchising rights for three brands: YumLane, Sharief Bhai, and Aligarh House.

Inorganic approach

While rival Rebel Foods has built cloud-kitchen brands by starting each brand, Nagori plans to acquire online food brands listed on food-delivery platforms Swiggy and Zomato.

This approach is similar to the one followed by US-based breakout startup Thrasio, which acquires top-rated and fast-growing sellers on Amazon, helping them with technology, digital marketing and sales chops to turbocharge growth.

Its business model is such that Curefoods will need to keep raising debt and equity to acquire these brands. It will look at having a portfolio of 35-40 brands in all by the end of 2022, after which it will look at consolidation and building out.

Curefoods expects most of the original entrepreneurs who started these cloud kitchens to stay on. While 8-9 brands will be national, the rest will be regional (South, West, North and East). It will look at a mix of pizza, biriyani and North Indian cuisine, apart from other categories such as desserts.

Curefoods is betting on the growing addressable market, as more and more Indians order food online. It is estimated that Zomato and Swiggy together deliver 3 million orders a day — a number that can potentially double over the next decade. It will still be far lower than the tens of millions that a Meituan does in China or a DoorDash does in the US. Non-home-cooked food or restaurant food accounts for only 10 percent of food consumption in India against 54 percent in the US.

Last year, Nagori acquired a 70-80 percent stake in Eat.fit, a cloud kitchen focusing on healthy eating, in exchange for a 7.6 percent stake in Cure.fit. Before co-founding Cure.fit, Nagori served as chief business officer of online retailer Flipkart, and was among the key leaders in the company.
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Chandra R Srikanth is Editor- Tech, Startups, and New Economy
first published: Jan 4, 2022 12:42 pm
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