FreshToHome, the e-commerce platform for fresh meat, fish and seafood, has been claiming profitability at operational level with a topline of around Rs 1,500-2,000 crore. But its financial statements from FY22 seem to bely that claim. The company’s operating revenue for the fiscal year ending March 2022 barely crossed Rs 100 crore while its losses inched towards Rs 500 crore.
FreshToHome’s revenue from operations grew 51% to $13.53 million (~Rs 102.5 crore) during FY22 from $8.96 million (Rs 67.9 crore) in FY21, according to its consolidated financial statements by the group holding firm in Singapore.
The sale of products including chicken, seafood, and other meats from its own supply accounted for 77.7% of the total operating revenue. Collection from this vertical increased 57.3% to $10.51 million in the last fiscal year from $6.68 million in FY21.
FreshToHome also collects commissions from vendors on the total value of the invoice at a pre-agreed rate. This vertical registered 29.2% growth and stood at $2.74 million in FY22.
The company charged royalties from the vendors as a percentage of the revenue generated from the sale made by the vendor to the end customer for the use of software licenses. This income contributed $0.28 million to the firm’s coffers in the last fiscal year.
On the expense front, marketing and advertising formed 64.5% of the overall cost which surged 3.57X to $50.91 million in FY22. The cost of procurement of products like (chicken, meat, seafood, and others) grew 75.6% to $9.52 million in the same period. Employee benefit costs and delivery charges grew 46.3% and 23.2% to $7.14 million and $1.86 million respectively.
In the end, its total cost spiked 2.6X to $78.95 million in FY22 from $30.3 million in FY21. The upsurge in cost translated into a 3.1X rise in its losses which blew to $63 million (Rs 477 crore) in the last fiscal.
Its ROCE and EBITDA margin worsened to -226.70% and -394.17%. On a unit level, the company spent $5.84 to earn a single US dollar of operating revenue in FY22.
FreshToHome’s closest competitor Licious was at least six times bigger than FreshToHome in terms of scale. Licious’ operating income registered a 64.3% growth to Rs 682.6 crore during FY22 as compared to Rs 415.5 crore in FY21.It also counts Zappfresh, BBDaily, and Easymeat among a few others as competition.
The FreshToHome story seems to be following the old ecom playbook of acquiring users at an immense cost, and hoping they stay on. Frankly, nothing we have seen in the past decade shows that to be an optimum use of resources in India. This writer will wager that for all the advertising about fresh, antibiotic free and more, users will still happily check out other options if the price is right, or they see ‘value’. To that extent, rather than dropping in ‘Fresh Cash’ every now and then into user wallets, FreshToHome really needs to find a way to build a core group of loyal users with a combination of value pricing and relevant ‘menus’.
Coming back to the numbers, it is clear that the firm has built a superstructure that will probably come close to profitability at a much higher turnover, and to that extent, talk of profitability seems a distant prospect. If it does happen in FY23, then this writer will happily enroll for a major financial analysis upgrade, not to mention commit to buying FreshToHome till the next financial year.