India’s nascent health food economy is not just disrupting the way people drink juices till now, but also inspiring the health and lifestyle of the person associated with it.
What is happening at the bottom of the pyramid is the proliferation of ‘service entrepreneurs’ that are earning as much as probably what you are sitting in office cubicles. Cold pressed juice is a segment that is betting big on India’s growing economy thanks to Norman W Walker’s invention of the process in the US way back in 1930s.
Mumbai-based Vishal Jain on one of his abroad trips in 2013 picked up these juices from the local supermarket and over a few weeks it did make a difference to him. He found his cravings for junk food coming down, energy levels increasing and found himself getting fitter. Thinking that it was wonderful product he started JusDivine in July 2013 coming back to the home town.
Much more than enabling growth of these ondemand businesses, technology and healthy food intake has disrupted India’s fast evolving junk food and packaged juices market. “The market is growing at a very fast pace with consumers warming up to the product. The key is customer education and our efforts over the last 2 years are paying off,” shared Jain whose company has grown 300% year on year.
But the major disruptor in the segment is Anuj Rakyan who comes from a family of health enthusiasts. Rakyan started RAW Pressery with an investment of Rs 1.1 crore in summer 2013 and today he has become one of the trend setter in the segment by attracting investment of Rs 30.8 crore ($4.5 million) from top investors including Sequoia India, Saama Capital and DSGCP.
“The idea on gaining momentum, aimed to bridge the need for a juice that balances nutrition and flavour. In summer 2013, we took up the challenge to make getting healthy easier for people,” added Rakyan who is seeking a revenue of Rs 35 crore in FY 16-17.
Counting on health
And, as this product has grown with health freaks and urban population, these players are seeing a good penetration in top cities. Delhi alone has over 20 such start-ups selling cold pressed juice sand cleanses in the NCR region. Similarly, Riju Gupa, a Delhi NCR based serial entrepreneur and fitness enthusiast, together with his two partners started Juice Up in late 2014 out of the need that India is becoming a health conscious nation, but when somebody is on the go or is travelling there is no option available other than the packaged juice and cookies.
“We are delivering around six variants of the juices to the households and corporate in Delhi-NCR. We are doing 16000 bottles in Delhi-NCR,” shared Gupta whose company is growing 20% month on month. Moreover, these start-ups have tied up with nutritionists and dieticians for perfect ingredients checks ensuring there are no added pesticides, flavours, sugar and other contents in it.
Having worked and lived in the US for some time, Kolkata based Abhishek Jhunjhunwala when returned to India, found that the juices people consume in India have high sugar content. He was unable to get fresh and cold pressed juices here. After thorough market research Jhunjhunwala saw a gap in the Kolkata market and started Inspirit.
“We brought the technology, nutritionist and dieticians with us and after 4-5 months now we are doing good business. People have started recognising the need to have cold pressed juices and the benefits attached to it,” said Jhunjhunwala who is very aggressive about expanding the brand to other regions.
Squeezing it right
Compared to the US and UK where the trend has become a part of the healthy life that they follow, it is still like touching the tip of the iceberg in India with the concept being well received by the upwardly moving urban population in the metros.
“We are learning everyday and adopting practices which have never been the norm in the industry – air freighting across the country to ensure freshness and customer experience, commitment to replace stocks ahead of the expiry date and delivering direct to- home orders with the Dabbawala network, to mention a few,” shared Rakyan who is planning to launch juices that are more familiar to the market.
Hence, they recently launched the BASIC range – Pineapple, Pomegranate, Orange & Watermelon. This is the first summer for RAW Pressery after they expanded their foot print beyond Mumbai and it will definitely throw up challenges.
Adding to the same lines, Jain who is planning to enter Delhi and Bengaluru by this year pointed, “Learning is huge. The Indian consumer is very different and the Indian palate is very different. We worked extensively in getting our flavours and quality right. Initially, right from sourcing the best raw materials to ensuring the product was delivered to the customer at the right temperature was a challenge. Fortunately, over the last 2 years, our hard work is paying off and is looking now expanding at a fast clip.”
Likewise, Juice Up is also looking at aggressive expansion after delivering right to the doorstep; the start-up has launched their first kiosk at the recently launched Mall of India in Noida. “At first we will open 3-4 kiosks, see the kind of model we can create, we can sell and get a brand recall, if it all works we will expand the model,” shared Gupta. Going by the trend, Inspirit is also looking to get funds to expand its services pan India.
“We are targeting to sell 10,000 bottles in a day and make our presence at all retail and commercial spaces,” shared Jhunjhunwala who has recently tied up with Spencer’s to sell juice at South City Mall and Quest Mall. Hence, Growing at an annual pace of 11 per cent, beverages market today sits at $15 billion-a-year market in the country. And, we can see many such players like Zoe Coldpressed, RawKing, Just Pressed entering in the fast evolving market.
This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (May 2016 Issue).