This meat store employs butchers with a 'cutting edge' degree
Whenever you enter a butcher shop in the city, you’d want to leave the place as quickly as you can, but at this place you’d probably want to stay back and shop a little more. At the Fipola outlet in Anna Nagar, there’s no blood or feathers on the floor, there are no chicken crammed in cages and the people who cut the meat even have a specialised degree in butchering.
“Fipola’s parent company has been associated with seafood exports for more than 35 years. And when we were looking to get into retailing meat, we found that the entire industry suffers from a fundamental problem: the butcher shops have not evolved. We wanted to change that,” says the MD Sushil Kanugolu.
The outlet is well-lit and air conditioned, and the butchered meat is neatly arranged in temperature-controlled counters. “We store the meat at one to four degrees celsius,” says the company’s COO Chandrakanth Mallavarapu. Children run around and excitedly point to the fish behind the counters.
“People generally would never take kids to a butcher shop. This is how we want it to be. You should always be able to walk in and pick up products, just like how you would in a supermarket,” Chandra Kanth adds. While I try to identify the species of fish displayed on a bed of ice, he shows us a chart which names them -- both in Tamil and English -- and mentions the places from where meat is sourced.
On the other side of the store are shelves stacked with their marinades, pickles and frozen food creations prepared by their in-house chefs. From Andhra mutton pickle to a Chipotle chicken spread; you can eat them straight out of the jar. And if you’re in a hurry, you can pick up one of their neatly packaged marinated meat creations for a fastrack prep option. Norwegian smoked salmon slices (Rs 775) and Australian lamb rack (Rs 4,704) stand out in their exotic section. And in a fridge nearby, there are frozen mutton samosas and fish cutlets.
Fipola follows a ‘farm to fork’ model, they procure animals directly from the farmers. The animals are then sent to government-approved slaughterhouses. Chandra Kanth points to a blue seal on a lamb rack. “That blue seal means that a veterinarian has certified that it is safe to eat”.
The meat is then transferred in refrigerated containers to their Central Commissary, located 15 km away from Anna Nagar. In the Commissary, under the supervision of a head chef, butchers portion out the meat. From there, the meat is delivered to their outlets. Chandra Kanth says that they now get 1,500 orders on a weekend. With stores in OMR, ECR and the aforementioned Anna Nagar, they’re planning to set up seven more stores in Chennai before setting up services in other cities.