Moneycontrol PRO
Upcoming Event : Register for INTRAZON 3.0 India's Largest Retail Intraday Traders Online Conference

Licious bets on 'house of brands', launches plant-based meat brand UnCrave

India’s plant-based meat sector is expected to grow to $400 million over the next two years and there are more than 200 such meat, dairy, egg and ingredient startups in the country, Plant Based Foods Industry Association has said

October 10, 2022 / 01:16 PM IST

Online meat seller Licious is betting on a “house of brands” strategy and has launched a plant-based meat brand called UnCrave, as demand for such products rises amid growing health and environment concerns.

The move comes after the direct-to-consumer unicorn began expanding into the ready-to-eat category and opened offline stores at a time when D2C brands are finding it difficult to sustain growth.

“We wanted to provide an alternative to our consumers to satisfy their meat cravings. So, we even coined the word ‘Uncrave’,” said Simeran Bhasin, Business Head, Alternative Protein-Licious.

According to the Temasek-backed company, the new independent brand UnCrave will begin with vegetarian ‘chick~n’ and ‘mutt~n’ seekh kebabs in metro cities.

“We wanted to diversify as many restrict themselves for animal-based meat on certain days, and give them an option that’s equally good on par with meat,” Bhasin said.

This so-called house of brands, or Thrasio-style startups, acquire or build online-first brands and create a portfolio of such brands.

Carving brands

Licious invested in Bengaluru-based fresh pet food startup Pawfectly Made and said that it would be looking for strategic acquisitions.

Moneycontrol has reported that the Gurugram-based unicorn was looking at the alternative-protein category, which included plant-based meat. Over the last few years, plant-based meats have been gaining significant attention.

According to Plant Based Foods Industry Association (PBFIA), India's plant-based meat sector is slated to grow to $400 million over the two years. There are more than 200 plant-based meat, dairy, egg and ingredient startups in India.

With Uncrave, the brand will also expand its customer base.

“We have invested in over 20 months of R&D, in-house, to develop a range of products that closely resembles the taste and texture of meat in a never-before-experienced way,” Licious co-founders Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta said in a statement.

The company paid close attention to the nutritional profile as well, making it a protein-rich vegetarian fare free of artificial preservatives and MSG, they said.

They were referring to monosodium glutamate which is a flavour enhancer used by restaurants and in meats. It is also found in some natural foods but a debate rages over its health effects.

“With UnCrave, our aim is to introduce the country to newer ways of experiencing meat,” they said.

The company expects the addressable market for the category to be the same as the meat market, with the addition of “curious vegetarians” who would explore it.

According to market research firm RedSeer, the meat market will be worth $80-$85 billion by 2024.

Licious has over 2.5 million customers registered on the platform and gets 85 percent of its business from repeat customers on a monthly basis.

In 2021, the company raised $52 million at a valuation of a billion dollars. It raised another $150 million earlier this year.
Invite your friends and family to sign up for MC Tech 3, our daily newsletter that breaks down the biggest tech and startup stories of the day

Sanghamitra Kar
first published: Oct 10, 2022 01:16 pm