On one of those pleasant cold February mornings, Sanjay Nandrajog, the Chief Executive Officer of FieldFresh Foods Private Limited, pondered the future. He had just returned to Delhi from the company’s Agri Centre of Excellence (ACE), an R&D farm where he celebrated the dispatch of 500 metric tons of fresh baby corn to Europe. The top management team at FieldFresh was justifiably proud of this achievement as it had required tremendous effort to become an important exporter of Indian produce.
FieldFresh had been incorporated in 2004 with the vision of linking Indian fields to the world. India had a number of natural advantages in terms of climate, acres in production, and labor force to become a major power in agriculture. However, a poor infrastructure and an antiquated regulatory regime had stymied efforts to unleash India’s promise. FieldFresh hoped to overcome those challenges to bring India to the forefront of the world’s agriculture.
During its initial years of operation, FieldFresh had found out how difficult it was to build a supply chain for produce in India. The company had been through a phase of experimentation where it tried different sourcing models, logistical options, and crops. After less than stellar results, the company had decided to concentrate on one crop, baby corn. Over the next 24 months, the FieldFresh team adapted logistics to overcome crowded and crumbling roads, irregular power supply, and bureaucratic procedures. The company worked with thousands of farmers to gain their trust. By 2010, the FieldFresh team had been able to create an efficient supply chain for baby corn across Punjab and Maharashtra at all levels— input delivery, credit, irrigation, timely scientific advice, production as per specifications of European market, careful harvesting, improved produce handling, clean and fast transportation, proper management of cold chain storage environment, gaining safety certification, as well as grading, packaging, and labeling to meet international standards.
But success brought with it the expectation of growth. Nandrajog had a number of questions to answer before he could articulate a plan. Should FieldFresh grow opportunistically into different foreign markets as retailers and wholesalers demanded different products for their respective markets? Should FieldFresh continue to focus on baby corn, whose supply chain-market linkages it had perfected, or should the company expand the range of products it would supply? Should FieldFresh continue to maintain its primary export focus, or shift relative emphasis to the growing domestic market?
Published Date: 10/12/2010
Suggested Citation: Mukesh Pandey, K Sudhir, Raman Ahuja, and Deepali Tewari, "FieldFresh Foods," Yale SOM Case 10-036, December 10, 2010
Keywords: Agriculture, Supply chain