January , 2021 (Mumbai) Epigamia has launched the Step-Up Program with a mission to provide food & water to communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Driven by a purpose to improve food & food systems within the country, Epigamia has set up many initiatives under this program, right from providing food to migrant workers, to improving access to water in villages around the country. Danone Manifesto Ventures, one of the investors in Epigamia, is supporting the Step-Up program through its global COVID-19 Relief Fund, which helps its investee companies across the world by supporting the latter’s community outreach programs to improve the lives of those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, among other initiatives.
Rohan Mirchandani, Co-Founder, and CEO, Epigamia, said, “The pandemic & subsequent impact on migrant workers in the cities got us going. We launched the Step-Up program in May 2020 and have donated and distributed over 7.5 lacs cups & bottles of yogurts. We have partnered with Danone Manifesto Ventures, who supported us for this initiative and provided some guidance on planning & execution. The Step-Up initiative is now a rallying cry in the organization with active participation from employees and our supply chain partners. Over 215 members of Epigamia’s team also stepped-up and donated a portion of their salary towards the distribution of cups”.
The first phase of the Step-Up program was completed in September through partners such as Robin Hood Army, Zomato Feeding India, Annapurna Movement, Rise Against Hunger, Akshaya Patra, and Goonj, to name a few. For the second phase, Epigamia is focusing on supporting rural communities across the country. Epigamia has partnered with Habitat for Humanity India to help improve access to safe drinking water, and help the communities through training and support for livelihood options including agricultural productivity.
“Since Day 1, Epigamia has been a very generous donor supporting Annapurna Movement’s on-ground food relief efforts. Through their Step-Up program, we could reach out to thousands of homeless children across Mumbai. These children who were only surviving on rice & dal meals finally had a chance to taste the extremely delicious & nutritional products from Epigamia! The smile on their faces has been priceless!” added Shievani Upadhyay Co-founder, Annapurna Movement.
Laurent Marcel, CEO of Danone Manifesto Ventures, said, “In 2020, we witnessed parts of the world suffer irrecoverable losses to their lives and livelihoods, and decided to support our portfolio companies’ initiatives to tackle unprecedented challenges through a dedicated COVID-19 Relief Fund. This led us to support Epigamia’s team and the frontline workers who fought the toughest of daily battles by aiding their financial, health, and safety initiatives. We are proud to assist Epigamia to fulfill their responsibility as a Corporate Citizen of the country in these challenging times”.
Danone Manifesto Ventures has also supported other projects led by Epigamia in the areas of People, Health, and Safety (focused on employment preservation by providing financial security and personal protective equipment) and Food Supply Continuity (ensuring frontline workers received hardship allowances). For this exceptional impact investment of approx. INR 5.23 crores in Epigamia made through its COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is outside of its usual investment activities, Danone Manifesto Ventures will be issued a special class of shares.
Launched in June 2015, Epigamia is currently available in 30 SKUs under Greek Yogurt, Artisanal Curd, Snack Pack, Mishti Doi, Smoothies, and Spreads – made with Ghee, Plant-based Coconut Milk Yogurt and Almond Milk. The brand retails across approximately 12,000 touchpoints in 25 towns, including modern trade chains like Reliance Fresh, Godrej Nature’s Basket, Future Group, Foodhall, Big Bazaar, and Hypercity; e-commerce platforms including Big Basket and Amazon; and numerous general trade retailers. Additionally, the brand recently launched its Direct-to-Consumer online platform available in Tier 1 and 2 cities in the country.