This software engineer’s startup gives a 2nd life to Nearing Expiry or rejected products with dented but safe packaging – sells at 50% discount

Gauraa, a Kolkata-based startup, is tackling the problem of food wastage in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry. The platform provides rejected products with a second life, offering them at a 50% discount, thereby reducing the amount of food that ends up in landfills.

The founder of Gauraa, Milind Shah, is a software engineer from Kolkata who previously worked at Amazon. Concerned about the wastage of FMCG products, Milind decided to research the issue and discovered that 69 million tonnes of food are sent to landfills each year due to supply chain mismanagement. In 2019, he joined his family’s FMCG distribution venture to better understand the issue.

After gaining a deeper understanding of the issue, Milind founded Gauraa, which aims to bridge the gap in the supply chain and reduce waste. Milind initially tried to persuade retailers to accept stock that had crossed the recommended percentage but was still viable for use. However, the retailers refused to do so, citing customer complaints.

To overcome this obstacle, Milind created Gauraa, a platform that enables rejected products to have a second life by offering them at a 50% discount. Gauraa saves 2,500 units of various FMCG products from going to waste on a monthly basis.

The problem of food waste in India

Food wastage is a significant problem in India, with approximately 40% of the food produced in the country going to waste every year. According to a report by the United Nations Development Programme, India ranks 94th out of 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index. At the same time, the country wastes an estimated 67 million tonnes of food annually. This situation is particularly challenging as India is home to around 190 million undernourished people.

The causes of food wastage in India are complex and multifaceted. For example, inadequate storage facilities and transportation infrastructure lead to significant losses in perishable goods, such as fruits and vegetables.

Food wastage also occurs in the retail and distribution sectors. Retailers often overstock shelves with products that have a short shelf life, leading to spoilage and waste. Moreover, many supermarkets have strict standards for the appearance and quality of produce, leading to the rejection of perfectly good but misshapen or blemished fruits and vegetables.

Gauraa: A ray of hope

The startup is managed by a team of over 30 individuals and operates from a 6,000 square feet warehouse at Cossipore Road in Kolkata. The platform reduces the amount of food that ends up in landfills by selling products that have a reduced shelf life or damaged packaging.

Milind has set a cutoff of 20% for the shelf life of products stored in the family warehouse that are intended for sale to retailers. Unfortunately, many products in the warehouse end up with reduced shelf life. Additionally, products with damaged packaging are also kept in the warehouse. These products are eventually sold on Gauraa at a 50% discount. It’s important to note that all the products sold on the platform are safe to consume.

Gauraa retails to major eCommerce platforms such as Flipkart, Amazon, and Swiggy Instamart. It has collaborated with Hindustan Unilever, Haldiram’s, Bajaj, and other major players in the FMCG industry.

Gauraa’s efforts to reduce food wastage in the FMCG industry have been widely appreciated. By providing a platform for rejected products to have a second life, Gauraa is helping to reduce the amount of food that ends up in landfills, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.

India’s food industry has been growing exponentially, with innovative startups such as Gauraa making significant contributions to reducing waste in the supply chain. In a country where food wastage is a significant issue, Gauraa’s efforts to provide a second life to rejected products are commendable.