PONTIAN-based fresh food retail platform Fresh At Heart is looking to raise RM1.15mil to expand its offline presence across Malaysia.
The company will be raising funds through Equity Crowdfunding platform Ata Plus.
The online-to-offline fresh food retailer is hoping to use the funds to expand its product range and market reach across the country.
Fresh At Heart was founded by Eddie Goh and Joel Chong, who had left their careers in e-commerce and finance to return to the industry in which their families have long established themselves, in 2016.
The company buys directly from fresh food producers – primarily seafood from farms and fishermen – and offers their customers the option of in-store pickup from their 16 locations across Malaysia’s major cities or through home delivery.
Last year, the company expanded their product range to include other meats, poultry and fresh produce.
Since its launch, Fresh At Heart has grown its online following to 30,000 and has seen steady growth in sales, hitting RM200,000 a month for this quarter.
“Our key difference from other premium grocers is our flexibility in bringing to market producers of any size, without the traditional limitations of shelf space,” said Goh, chief executive officer of Fresh At Heart.
“This translates to more variety and transparency for the customer. Customers also appreciate the convenience of having their purchased groceries delivered to their homes instead of having to drive to a store,” he added.
Fresh At Heart’s business model mitigates the familiar issues faced by fresh food retailers over the years: products are perishable, prices are volatile and suppliers are fragmented.
These issues arise due to the long supply chain involved between actual producers of fresh produce and the end consumer.
While the old system evolved from an environment where information technology and logistics were restrictive, today’s development in e-commerce technology and logistics no longer justifies the inefficiencies and opacity in terms of sources and practices that buyers of fresh produce have long endured, noted Chong.
“Consumers in urban areas in Malaysia and Asean do not yet have good access and choice in terms of food transparency and food safety.
“Fresh produce and groceries that are sold through major retail networks in the cities carry little if any information on the sources of the produce. Consumers have no access and clarity on the production, processing, handling and use of preservatives in their groceries,” said Chong, the company’s chief operating officer.
As Malaysians are picking up on global health trends and are becoming more interested in their health and wellness, the duo expects demand for fresh, local, and naturally-sourced premium foods to increase.
“The fresh food industry is about to see exponential growth with the growing trend in health consciousness among Malaysian consumers. We are extremely impressed by the traction Fresh At Heart’s team has achieved since their launch,” said Kyri Andreou, co-founder and director of Ata Plus.
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