29 July, 2020, Karachi - Unilever Pakistan and VentureDive have unveiled details of their unique collaboration, Munchies. The start up is a disruptive snacking ecommerce solution that aims to provide consumers with instant delivery of snacking items using a dedicated delivery fleet. This was shared during an exclusive Fire side Chat organised by Nest I/O.
The session was hosted by Jehan Ara, as an acknowledgment of the NEST IO, where the idea was developed during a hackathon jointly organised by the Nest IO and Unilever in 2018. The chat detailed the workings of the hyper-local model that began with the ambition to “UBERise” the Company’s Ice Cream category.
Today, Munchies is making its space in a $2 billion snacking whitespace and even as a recent entrant in the impulse snacking category, the app has gained momentum quickly. Within six months it has moved from an initial 1,000 downloads to over 50,000 installations whilst amassing a loyal customer base.
Personified by its slogan “Lazy but proud”, Munchies has built a quirky, authentic and relatable brand personality that understands and simplifies instant snacking for fans and followers alike. The app empowers users with the choice of refueling on their favourite snackables – chocolates, chips or ice cream, whenever they crave it. This convenience is enabled by a hyperlocal model that sends orders placed to the nearest “buddy” in your location who fulfils the order from nearby retail stores and completes the loop with doorstep delivery.
Unilever and VentureDive are aggressively scaling the service. This is already evident in not only the in-app functionality and offering, but also the pace with which the service has grown to cover Karachi since its pilot days. The first step towards this goal is Munchies progression into an independent entity with its own dedicated leadership and team. As a replicable model that brings together a legacy of Unilever’s experience in the consumer goods space with VentureDive’s tech enablement and uses this to facilitate an ever escalating need for convenience, the outlook for Munchies signals a long term growth trajectory.
Amir Paracha Chairman and CEO of Unilever Pakistan Limited, said, “The genesis of the concept for Munchies actually came out of our endeavor to UBERise Wall’s delivery. In Pakistan, snack consumption is primarily driven by impulse purchase, and people generally don’t stock up on snacks. After tinkering with this insight over time, we decided to create an app which would provide consumers Ice Cream or any other snack within 30 mins on the press of a button.”
Atif Azim, CEO, VentureDive, added, “What hooked us onto the idea was the concept of a large forward facing MNC like Unilever wanting to collaborate with a tech company like Venture Dive with a shared goal to disrupt the industry. While we initially thought of Munchies as project-based engagement it soon morphed into a much deeper relationship to the point where we are now looking to collectively scale up and build an independent organization.”
Tasked to lead Unilever’s new Strategy and Digital Transformation function, Syed Fawad Ahmed also expressed his views on Munchies as a key component in Unilever’s foray into e-commerce, saying “Despite facing challenges typical to the hyper-local model, the initial reviews from consumers have been very positive, especially as we have been quite successful in fulfilling the promise of timely service. It is also a telling sign that we have already been proactively approached by several snack manufacturers, both local and multinational, as they identify Munchies as a solution to the Ecommerce challenge for impulse products.”
Saad Fazil, Co Founder and Managing Director at VentureDive, chimed in, saying, “We are extremely aggressive and focused in our mission to revolutionise the snacking industry. This is the niche that will always remain core to Munchies and we will provide an assortment and range that is exclusive to the platform. Our vision for the future is to promise a 24/7 service that delivers within 10 minutes.”