Cowboys – A Company Dedicated to Dairy Activities and Allied Agriculture
Cowboys is a farm-to-home organic milk brand in its true sense and has been serving patrons from South Delhi since over 18 months and is growing only on word-of-mouth without any promotional activities.
Cowboys was incorporated in 2015 with the aim to directly provide fresh and healthy farm produce to Delhi & N.C.R. The idea was to produce at farm, sell directly in city and bypass the useless levy of distribution expenses on end-customer. Cowboys offerings are grown in-house and not collected from different unknown sources each time. The farm itself is amongst the biggest modern agricultural farms in India, with an array of activities including dairy, cattle-breeding, greenhouse cultivation, cash crops, green fodder, natural manure/vermicompost, floriculture, horticulture, pond-culture and more.
Cowboys is a farm-to-home organic milk brand in its true sense and has been serving patrons from South Delhi since over 18 months and is growing only on word-of-mouth without any promotional activities. Cowboys is currently available via a subscription model in South and Lutyens Delhi. Cowboys is already a known name in Delhi NCR even after limited geographical coverage and has managed to tap the niche premium market for milk priced at Rs. 80 a litre.
In an interaction with Sujata Sangwan of BWDisrupt, Aalekh Agarwal, Founder, Cowboys, shares details about his venture.
The farm was a family holding and initially only catering to some close families with milk, vegetables and grains and an open space to be at on the weekends. The zeal to share our offerings and gather praises grew and everything else followed. The Farm started growing in size, operations and expertise and finally Cowboys was born in 2015 with an initial livestock of 8 cows and an aim to provide 100% natural and organic produce to the consumers. This ideology stemmed from the need to eliminate rampant adulteration and malpractices which are prevalent in the food produce market. Once the farm operations were standardized and the quality of milk was consistent, Cowboys started retailing the milk in Delhi in January 2015.
Unique key features
The practices at farm are totally organic and all major operations of the farm are mechanized. Milk is extracted using Automatic Milking Parlors, cows are fed using TMRs and so on. The cows are housed in modern housing with all amenable facilities. A major component of cow’s diet (i.e. the fodder) fed to the cows is grown at our own farm without the use of chemical fertilizers.
Add to that, the personalized experience we try to provide to each of our patrons. We accommodate requests for plant saplings.
Cowboys is the only true holistic farm to home milk brand. Ours is an integrated and interdependent agricultural ecosystem. We grow our own fodder for which we use our cows’ dung. Our cows graze on our pastures which are replenished by their own manure. We are the only end-to-end brand where we control virtually every aspect and component of our milk production starting from feeding the cows to packaging and delivery to the end customer.
We are a closely held concern and are self-funded. The expansion and operations are moving with the speed of our own revenues and growth.
We have a subscriber base of 500+ households in South & Lutyens Delhi where we deliver milk on a daily basis. Our Cow Ghee, Honey, Mustard Oil, Spices etc have also been received well by our customers. Milk constitutes around 67% of our sales value.
The subscriber base has grown from only 4 customers to 500+ by word of mouth and without any promotional activities. The customer base is loyal and unwavering owing to the consistent quality of the product and the subscription experience.
We are also present on online portals like Amazon, Grofers, Instamojo, Milk Basket etc.
We are targeting premium residential apartments in Gurgaon and premium colonies of West Delhi for our new offering i.e. Pasteurized Cow Milk in a poly-pouch
We are planning to expand our range of offerings by adding Paneer, Butter etc. and more natural goodness in the form of otherwise rarely available superfood like Cow Colostrum.
We are also developing our farm as a destination for farm-stays and natural healing.
A key dissuade for Organic milk is the premium price point. We have managed to bring down our supply chain and logistics cost to an extent that allows us to market Pasteurized Organic Milk at the rate of Rs. 50 a litre which is unheard of in the Premium Organic Milk market. With the pricing model, we are targeting the lower-middle and middle class market that is lured by the benefits of organic food but is hesitant to purchase because of premium pricing. We are aiming to work on a BTL strategy combined with Guerilla Marketing tactics to penetrate the market with our never before pricing. We plan to penetrate the kitchens with our stepping stone i.e. milk and then push our other products to the household.
Challenges faces were manifold starting from the operations and standardization at farm to promoting the goodness of our offerings in an already flooded market.
The founder did not have any formal education in agriculture nor any practical experience in a related domain. Initially it was very difficult to set up the farm as a self-sustaining project and standardize the quality of produce. Once that was taken care of, next major challenge was to understand the demands of retail market, logistics, cold-chain and distribution process of milk.
Up next was the task of educating customers on the differentiation between packet milk and Cowboys. It took a fair bit of time, effort and sampling to convince the prospects.
Marketing Size and Opportunity
Organic products have shifted from being a lifestyle choice for a small share of consumers to being consumed at least occasionally by a majority of people.
Out of Delhi NCR’s consumption of 85 lakh litres of milk a day, even 1% business translates to 85000 litres. Add to that, an annual growth rate of 20 percent and the scope of introducing value added products like Ghee, Paneer, Curd etc. and it is a huge market to address.