Meat startup Licious becomes latest India unicorn after raising US$52m in latest funding round

INDIA –  Licious, a direct-to-consumer fresh meat and seafood brand, is the latest Indian food startup to achieve the highly sought-after Unicorn status after raising US$52 million in a Series G funding round.  The round, led by IIFL’s Late Stage Tech Fund and Avendus, takes the company to a post-money valuation of US$1.05 billion, making it the latest entrant to the coveted unicorn club of companies having more than a billion dollars in valuation.  Lucious cofounder Vivek Gupta,  told reporters in an interview that the startup planned to use the recently acquired funds to…

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Alcohol shortage looms in India’s Delhi state as private liquor stores shut down

INDIA – India’s national capital Delhi is facing a possible shortage of alcohol supply shortage after the 260 privately-run liquor shops closed down on September 30. Under its new excise policy, the Delhi government ordered the closure of private liquor stores and has allocated fresh licenses to private firms for 850 shops that will enter the retail business from November 17.  During the one and half month transition period, only government stores – which number about 460- will remain operational creating fears of alcohol shortage among residents.  Naresh Goel, president of…

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India competition commission fines UBL, Carlsberg for cartelisation of beer supply chain

INDIA – The Competition Commission of India has imposed penalties totaling over Rs 873 crore (US$117.5m) on major brewing companies in the country for what it termed as cartelisation in the sale and supply of beer.  The list of companies that were found to be in contravention of the law include United Breweries Ltd, Carlsberg India, and SABMiller India Ltd, now renamed as Anheuser Busch InBev India Ltd (AB InBev).   All India Brewers’ Association (AIBA) was also found to be actively involved in facilitating such cartelisation.  Following the ruling, the CCI chose to give the three companies…

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Indian QSR operator Jubilant Foodworks acquires minority stake in nutrition company Wellversed

INDIA – Jubilant Foodworks Ltd (JFL), a leading Indian quick service restaurants operator has acquired 25 per cent stake in Gurugram-based nutrition company Wellversed Health.  Wellversed Health offers a variety of food products that are customised for specific nutrition and dietary needs including gluten-free, keto, vegan, high-protein, diabetic conditions, and regular immunity.  According to a regulatory filing by JFL to the stock exchanges, the net revenue of Wellversed in fiscal 2019-20 was Rs 4.89 crore (US$663542).    Following the acquisition, Jubilant FoodWorks will have the right to nominate one non-retiring director to the board of Wellversed, and an observer…

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Nestlé India doubles down on women employment as Grofers works on building an inclusive work environment

INDIA –   Nestlé India, a leading food manufacturer known for its Maggi noodles and Nescafe coffee brand, is increasing the number of its women employees as part of its gender diversity efforts.   According to company Chairman and Managing Director Suresh Narayanan, around 23 per cent of Nestle India’s workforce are women, a major improvement from only 16% in 2015.   “That is not the end, we would like to do much better than this. And in fact last year in 2020, 42 per cent of all the recruitment that we did within the company were…

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India to introduce ‘front of package label’ to help consumers make healthier food choices

INDIA – The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has announced plans to introduce front-of-package (FoP) labeling on packaged foods to help consumers make healthier food choices.  The move by the Indian food regulator is in response to concern over increasing consumption of junk food leading to obesity in youth and children in India.  According to a recently published study, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in India has increased rapidly in recent decades and is projected to worsen during the forecast period ending 2040.   According to the PLoS study, the prevalence…

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Mane Kancor expands R&D capabilities with launch of new Innovation center

INDIA – Mane Kancor, a subsidiary of French flavour specialist Mane, has inaugrated a new Innovation center at its campus in Angamaly, India.   According to a statement from the food ingredients supplier, the new innovation center is housed in a 24000 Sq.ft building set in a vast stretch of land.   The state-of-the-art facility integrates all the research activities and product development initiatives in one comprehensive site with the support of expert analytical teams and top-of-the-line technologies.  Mane Kancor notes that the new facility will focus on innovations in natural shelf-life solutions, natural color solutions, culinary taste…

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Kroger partners Instacart to launch 30-minute delivery service as Zomato shutters grocery delivery service

US –  American retail company Kroger is teaming up with Instacart on a new delivery service that can get grocery items to customers in as little as 30 minutes.   Called Kroger Delivery, the service will offer customers up to 25,000 items to choose from and is targeting to reach up to 50 million homes, the company said in a statement.   Kroger which boasts of more than 2,700 stores, will offer the service for its namesake stores as well as Ralphs, Fred Meyer, King Soopers, Fry’s, Mariano’s, and Smith’s locations.  Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen noted that the fast delivery will help the…

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Carrefour debuts first automated cashier-less store in the Middle East

DUBAI – French retailer Carrefour has debuted an automated cashier-less store in Dubai in line with its vision to bring futuristic shopping experiences to the Middle East.   The store, the first of its kind in the region, looks like any ordinary convenience store, brimming with sodas and snacks, tucked between sprawling storefronts of this city-state.  The automation however lies in the background and features a sophisticated system of cameras and sensors which tracks people’s movements and the products they pick from shelves.  Once outside the store, customer phones ping…

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Amazon deploys cutting edge tech to empower India’s farmers, to hire 8,000 employees to support growth

INDIA – Seattle headquartered e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc., is investing in the modernization of India’s outmoded agricultural sector in an effort to improve yields and woo farmers into its platform.   Amazon has already begun offering real-time advice and information through a dedicated mobile app to help farmers make decisions on crops and even deploy machine learning technology.   The program — which Amazon dubs Reactive and Proactive Crop plans — promises to provide growers with cutting-edge technology and insights.  Farmers enrolled in the app have access to alerts and addresses on soil, pests, weather,…

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