Food and beverage from around the world
Our investment in Yummy Bazaar
During the summer, we met a New Jersey-based startup called Yummy Bazaar that aims to transform the $140+ billion specialty foods market via its online platform.
Specialty foods are high value food items that include unique, artisanal local products as well as authentic specialties from around the world. Consumers in metropolitan areas may be lucky to find some of them at local mom-and-pop shops, but each shop has very limited SKUs available; even Amazon/Whole Foods and Trader Joes do not have a whole lot of options. By contrast, at YummyBazaar.com, shoppers can find thousands of foods from around the globe. For example, Brioche Pasquier bread from France, Marella pasta from Italy, Delba Muesli from Germany, Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi coffee from Turkey, Shikoku Yuzu juice from Japan, Torres black truffle potato chips from Spain, Terrapin Ridge Farms hot pepper bacon jam from Florida and more.
There are three main trends supporting the market.
First, the specialty food and beverage (“F&B”) industry is growing as its products are sold across more channels outside local gourmet shops. The overall specialty F&B retail sales increased by 12.9% from 2015 to 2017 compared to 1.4% for the overall retail food category.
Second, consumers are purchasing more groceries and food online. From 2015 to 2017, there was a 20.9% increase in dollar sales of specialty foods from online channels, more than the 10% growth observed in brick-and-mortar retail channels. The online market is fragmented with various online stores that focus on specific categories or specific regional specialties that meaningfully limit their selection.
Source: Food Marketing Institute
Third, the millennial and Generation Z population have adopted specialty F&B into their lifestyles, especially as the millennial generation have become or are becoming first-time parents.
Source: Specialty Foods Industry Report — 2018
Yummy Bazaar’s mission to bring the world of specialty food online at affordable prices has experienced a great demand from a variety of customers. The popularity of specialty foods is not limited to residents of major metropolitan areas but also to those across the country. Yummy Bazaar has delivered packages to customers from Kansas to Montana, from Idaho to Florida.
From the beginning, we were very impressed with the highly complementary founding team of Rebecca Chou (CEO), David Meskhi (COO), and Weihua Yan (CTO). Weihua was the co-founder and CTO of Quidsi which was acquired by Amazon in 2011. The team not only has a diverse range of experiences in e-commerce marketing, finance, and technology, but they also each exhibited an incredible commitment to the company.
With very little outside capital, the team grew the platform with mostly organic growth while placing a high priority on customer satisfaction. For instance, Rebecca would monitor customers’ experiences and takes the time to personally answer and resolve customer questions if needed. Quite a few times, to ensure on-time delivery, the team did not hesitate to deliver packages to the airport themselves late at night rather than wait for carriers to pick them up the next morning. This degree of passion, devotion, and work ethics was certainly not to be underestimated.
Since iFly led the oversubscribed seed round, we have been actively involved with Yummy Bazaar despite the distance from Silicon Valley. There is a lot to do as the company continues to scale, and we are very excited to partner with the Yummy Bazaar team in a shared journey together.
Please check out Yummy Bazaar and use the promo code iFLY for a discount on any corporate order!