Sometimes, it takes a pandemic to start a brand. Until early last year, Gururaj Rao, Arvind Murali, Avinash R, and Santosh Narasipura were managing 100 acres of greenhouses, supplying vegetables to 130 restaurants in Bengaluru, and were happy that their farm-to-fork business was growing, when the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown almost brought it to a standstill. The founders had been using 15 sub-one tonne trucks to deliver 5,000 tonnes of vegetables every year. So, during the first few months of the pandemic, April-June 2020, the business made losses on at least 300 tonnes of vegetables because buyers — hotels and cloud kitchens — had shut down.

As saving the business was their priority, they decided to send the trucks to apartment complexes to supply fruits and vegetables to people, who could not visit retail stores. What started out as a means of survival turned into daily delivery routes leading to 60 apartments in Bengaluru. This success, of selling directly to customers at a desperate time, led the founders to create a brand called Deep Rooted, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) farm-to-fork business that sells packaged and curated fruits and vegetables.

Deep Rooted.Co is also available as a mobile app, on which consumers place orders for fruits and vegetables grown on farms contracted by the brand. The app’s algorithm gauges consumer demand and enables farmers to plan their next production season. More than 70 fruits and vegetables can be ordered on the app. Deep Rooted.Co also packs vegetables and sells them under its brand name at more than 150 retail stores, including Spar and Star Bazaar, in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

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