Over the past few years, India has witnessed a tremendous growth in the non-alcoholic beverage market. As entrepreneurs Shuchir Suri and Punweet Singh wanted to capitalize on the lack of options in homegrown drinks, kicking off with a tonic water and ginger ale. “There has been a paradigm shift in the millennial drinker’s awareness for consuming lesser calories. Hence we launched Jade Forest, a low calorie beverage brand that does not compromise on taste,” shared Suri who has spent years in marketing, strategy and product development. Excerpts from the interview:
How do you see the market for tonic water in India? Who is your client?
In 2019, over 20 lac cases of gin were sold with the market growing at a 9% CAGR annually. In tandem, the market of tonic water is also riding this boom currently, benefitting from an increase in disposable incomes, rapid urbanization, and access to western consumption trends. Our major consumption comes from the age bracket between 18-45years, our target audience being the millennial consumer not only from metros but from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities as well.
How much have you invested in the brand?
A lot of sweat and sleepless nights.
Are you also doing HORECA?
Yes, our go-to-market strategy was to focus on the HORECA segment. This was due to the fact that one of our founders; Shuchir Suri of Food Talk India has a plethora of connections in the F&B industry. We are currently pouring in over 100+ outlets in Delhi NCR, Jaipur & Chandigarh.
As both of you have diverse background; one a specialist in F&B marketing and other in manufacturing. How is it helping you grow Jade?
One of our founders Punweet Singh has a strong background in manufacturing that enables him to use his skill sets in streamlining our production and supply chain mandates. Our other founder Shuchir executes our marketing and sales strategies using his skills to onboard outlets in both the HORECA as well the Retail segment.
Why there is sudden demand of low calorie and low sugar carbonated drink?
Over the past two years, the trend of being health conscious has motivated people to be picky with the drinks they consume. Sugary drinks with artificial colors have been on a decline with consumers looking to replace regular colas with fresh and healthy alternatives.
What is the shelf life of your products?
The shelf life of our beverages is 12 months.
What is the price range?
Jade Forest Indian Tonic Water is priced at INR 80 and Original Ginger Ale at INR 85.
What will be the top beverages trend for 2020?
We feel that demand for homegrown beverages in the market will be on a rise. Healthier options that refrain from using harmful/artificial ingredients are expected to be trendsetters.
How are you marketing your products?
We have a robust social media strategy that is aimed towards the tech savvy generation where we highlight our product differentiation and consumption landscape. We enter into strategic partnerships with established brands and events to showcase our products. Recently we were partners at events like the Gin Explorer’s Club and Zomaland, which witnessed a footfall of over 30,000 people each. Another form of marketing is in-store and in-restaurant marketing with menu listing and visual collaterals.
We see there is sudden growth of cocktails in every restaurant’s menu. Why so?
People’s palates have evolved due to their travels abroad. They want their local drinks to be able to emulate international levels when it comes to cocktail recipes and techniques. Adding that eye-catching garnish on a cocktail also warrants a social media post, worthwhile to both the consumer and restaurant.
According to our forecast model, we would like to capture a majority of the market of our home base, Delhi NCR in the preliminary stage. We are currently listed on Amazon that enables customers to order our beverages from all corners of the country. We intend to build the same model in other metros like Mumbai and Bangalore by on boarding the top HORECA and Retail outlets and by building a strong sales team on-ground. Our portfolio of drinks will see an expansion with new and exciting products in the pipeline.