Although the pandemic confined us to our homes, it also helped emphasize the importance of health in our lives. Nowadays, men, in particular, have become more conscious of their dietary choices and physical fitness. Whether it's opting for nutritious foods or engaging in various exercises and yoga, taking care of our bodies has gained significance.
However, the mere mention of "frozen food" often conjures images of unhealthy, greasy, fatty, and cheesy options. Frozen food has long been associated with being both unhealthy and laden with chemicals.
Despite the perception that women are the primary caregivers, it's often men who make family dining decisions, especially when eating out. In such circumstances, our parents have frequently warned us about the unhealthiness of frozen foods like pizza.
Sharan Goyal, the founder of 'Pizzo & Crozzo,' is challenging this stereotype by offering frozen food that is not only free of chemicals and preservatives but also devoid of artificial flavors. This concept emerged in 2019 and expanded from a business-to-business (B2B) model to serving consumers during the lockdown.
Sharan explains, "We began in April 2019 as a pure B2B pizza company. Within six months, we had secured some significant clients who were purchasing and serving our pizza. When COVID-19 struck in March 2020, we found ourselves with seven and a half thousand frozen pizzas in storage. We faced two choices: let our product go to waste or find a way to distribute it. We began reaching out to consumers through various channels, including door-to-door pizza sales. This marked our shift from a B2B model to a B2C model."
According to a report by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), the Indian food services industry declined by 53 percent in FY21 (April 2020 to March 2021). While the world was shutting down and the food industry was in steep decline, 'Pizzo & Crozzo' was forging its own path.
Their passion for creating delectable food and providing the world with great taste fueled Sharan and his team. He elaborates, "On the day the lockdown was announced, we immediately went to the police station to obtain essential service permits and licenses. The very next day, we were in the kitchen experimenting and developing new products. It was an exciting experience."
However, the perception that frozen food is synonymous with unhealthy, chemically-laden fare that is detrimental to our health and hearts remains a persistent myth. Dispelling this myth and stereotype posed a significant challenge for Sharan and his team.
Reflecting on the hurdles they faced, Sharan shares, "Convincing customers of the benefits of frozen food was an uphill battle. None of our products contain preservatives, chemicals, artificial ingredients, and so on. Our philosophy is to create only what I would happily feed to my own family, knowing it's good for them, tasty, and nutritious."
While the assurance that the food is nutritious and delicious is reassuring, the question of "how" naturally arises. The company employs a proprietary blast-freezing system for its frozen food products. Sharan elucidates, "Our proprietary blast freezing setup is custom-built for us. It rapidly chills the product, taking it from room temperature (about 32 degrees) to frozen (minus 18 degrees) in less than 20 minutes. This preserves the product's nutrition, taste, and texture without the need for harmful additives."
The market and consumers have warmly embraced the brand, and while Sharan isn't planning a third venture, he's committed to making the brand a household name. Sharan states, "We're expanding our distribution, exploring fundraising options, and aiming to take it to the next level—to grow rapidly and robustly. The goal is to achieve exponential growth, taking us from where we are today to a hundred times, even a thousand times, bigger."
With principles and support like that, every business has the potential to thrive and overcome any obstacle, including a pandemic.
Written by: Aakanksha Bajpai
Edited by: Aniket Joshi