Launched just before the onset of the pandemic crisis, the first digital peasant cooperative in Romania offers access to natural, unprocessed products, based on a new concept on the Romanian market – meat booking – reservation before sacrifice. The unique recipe that appeared in a favorable context for the online market generated sales above expectations even after the removal of the pandemic restrictions, bringing Obor21 to a turnover of EUR 100,000 after 10 months.
The unpredictable context of 2020 generated an accelerated growth in online commerce, Romanians going online for a much wider range of products, especially in the essential’s category. Also, the evolution of the market shows an increasing interest towards fresh products with a clear traceability, as little processed as possible. These were the main growth engines for Obor21.ro, the first digital peasant cooperative in Romania.
The dynamics of sales was also determined by a constant increase in the number of customers and, simultaneously, the value of their orders, reaching an average of RON 230 /customer. After the first months of operation, the Obor21.ro client has emerged as a person aged between 25 and 44, with average and above average incomes, with a healthy lifestyle, passionate about cooking, and to experience new tastes. At the same time, a common characteristic of the customers is the concern for a responsible lifestyle, which plans meals and make purchases accordingly. 54% of customers are women.
Obor21.ro is the digital bridge between the village and the city, which offers access to authentic meat from the countryside, with 21st century sanitary-veterinary conditions, offering to the farmers a market and taxed income. Caring for the environment is a concern, so reserving meat before sacrifice is both a guarantee for freshness and a solution for responsible, sustainable consumption, without losses and without unjustified animal sacrifice, explained Florian Mateiță, co-founder of Obor21.
Focus on responsible consumption
Another factor that contributed to the success of the digital cooperative was the acquisition of new customers by recommendation. 1 customer out of 6 recommended Obor21 after the first order or returned to the online shop. The value of the average basket increased by 20% during the holidays, respectively April and December. On average, 5 products are added to the basket (3-6 kilograms), and the most popular are the beef ones (70%), followed by mutton and goat meat (10%), the rest of the orders being for specialties.
Also, to ensure more than 98% of the meat distributed after slaughter, the founders of Obor21 have developed partnerships in the HoReCa industry. Monthly, a percentage of 30-40% of customers are from the B2B area – traditional restaurants and groceries -, the percentage varying depending on B2C orders.
For 2021, the founders of Obor21 aim at expanding outside the Bucharest-Ilfov delivery area and, to the extent of logistical possibilities, diversifying the portfolio to new product categories, to support the concept of digital peasant cooperative. This includes dairy products, but also a category of vegetables and fruits.
We are exploring the possibility of expanding to other areas of the country, but for us it is important to stay true to the Obor21 concept and ensure product traceability. The prospects are encouraging, considering the change in customer behavior, which remained oriented towards the comfort of online orders even after the lifting of restrictions, said Florian Mateiță.
The Obor21.ro platform was launched in February 2020 by Iunia and Florian Mateiță, with an initial investment of over 80,000 euros. The meat reserved through Obor21.ro comes mostly from the peasant households from Botoșani and Suceava counties.
The meat is delivered to the final consumer exclusively by courier, in controlled temperature conditions, within 72 hours from sacrifice, accompanied by a quality certificate. Meat reservation is a guarantee of freshness for customers. Each label contains detailed information on the origin of the products, including the village where the animal was raised, as well as the date of sacrifice, the date of vacuum packaging and the expiry date of the product.
The meat processing, including its packaging, takes place in an EU authorized space (mentioned on the label), and the entire flow, up to the customer’s door, is taxed and designed to comply with the sanitary-veterinary norms.