Chickens are seen in a contaminate farm while workers from the Animal Protection Ministry prepare to cull them to contain an outbreak of bird flu, at a farm in the village of Modeste, Ivory Coast, August 14, 2015. Ivory Coast said on Friday that H5N1 bird flu had spread to a third location in the country, in the latest in a series of outbreaks in West Africa. The case was discovered on a farm in the village of Modeste, about 15 km (nine miles) east of the commercial capital Abidjan. REUTERS
While the Bird Flu outbreak in India has hit the unorganised sector hard with an estimated dip of nearly 60-70 percent in chicken sales, the story is different for organised players.
Online platforms like Zappfresh, Tendercuts, Licious, FreshToHome have seen little to no decline in consumption of chicken.
"There is a slight dip in chicken consumption around 15-20 percent currently. But we sell other variety of meat as well. And mutton currently is in high demand and it is seeing 10-15 percent increase," Deepanshu Manchanda, CEO and Co-founder, Zappfresh, told Moneycontrol.
Another platform Tendercuts is seeing 6-7 percent drop.
"Number of farms that are affected are in single-digit numbers and that too in North India. In the South, only a few farms are affected. However, it is the fear that is resulting in a marginal drop. But we are already seeing recovery as the drop was initially 8-9 percent and now it is hovering around five percent. Plus, mutton contribution on the platform has gone up by 25 percent. Seafood contribution has also gone up," said Nishanth Chandran, Founder, Tendercuts.
Both Manchanda and Chandran said this is a temporary lull in chicken consumption and they expect demand to be back by end of this month.
Other platforms like Licious and FreshToHome said they have not seen any dip in the sale of chicken.
While a Licious spokesperson said they have not seen any significant negative impact on sales, FreshToHome's CEO and Co-founder Shan Kadavil said the volume of chicken on the platform is 45 percent and continues to remain the same.
In a month these platforms sell chicken meat in the range of 1,000-1,500 tonnes.
Nandu's, an omnichannel meat retail brand, which sells meat both online and offline is seeing similar consumption trend like the online platforms.
"Nandu’s which completes close to 5,000 orders in a day, has seen a fluctuation in daily orders with demand for poultry products going down by 5-7 percent. And the demand for mutton marginally increased by eight percent," said Narendra Pasuparthy, CEO and Founder of Nandu’s.
Why is the decline limited on online platforms?
First, most of these platforms either work with contract farms or have their own farms.
For example, Nandu's has its own hatcheries, feed mills, breeding farms, broiler farms, processing centres, food factories and cold chain infrastructure.
Platforms like Tendercuts have partnered with contract farms that only produce and supply to the company.
And in such farms, there are many safety checks.
"Bird flu is a yearly phenomenon and it happens in migratory birds. Commercial poultry is bio-fenced which means a migratory bird coming in a shed is very rare. In an organised segment, there are multiple stages of poultry breeding. The breeder birds who generate the hatching eggs, they are bio-segrated and kept in EC (environmentally controlled) sheds. And for a human to enter, they have to sanitise themselves. Then there are laboratories that do the validation," said Kadavil.
Adding to this, Chandran said bird flu is not something is new and there is a lot of preparedness for it in the industry.