In an interview with Restaurant India, Abhay Jaiswal, Co-Founder & CEO- Nilgai Foods talks about their business plans.
What’s happening at Nilgai Foods?
There has been a lot happening of lately at Nilgai Foods. We are at the onset of launching our new variant of coconut water with an entirely new packaging at a highly affordable price. The packaging will be a re-sealable bottle at Rs. 20 for 200 ML. We have already sold more than 1.6 million packs of Cocofly within a single season. To tell you more about the happenings Cocofly has being rapidly adopted by 30+ new distributers and 4000 shops across Delhi-NCR. At over 3 million litres of installed capacity, Nilgai Foods has established the largest supply chain of packaged coconut water in the country.In the recent past, Nilgai Foods Pvt. Ltd. management team noticed a dramatic interest from the international markets such as Africa, Middle East and Western Europe (UK & Russia). Surprised on the upside, the team plans to focus on building the export market in the above mentioned countries. Having received a fabulous response, we have now set up a wholly owned subsidiary in UK and will build the export market based from there, for both, Pico and Cocofly. Orders have already started to flow in from several international markets.
What made you launch Pico? What is the whole idea and from where did it came from?
PICO started off as a gourmet food brand with product offerings in several categories. The idea was to create a domestically manufactured portfolio that is at par with internationally sourced gourmet products. However over time we noticed that that our customers particularly liked our spicy products within that portfolio more than anything else. We also realised that hot sauces is 18 billion dollar market globally and yet, India, the land of spices, does not have an internationally recognised spicy products brand in general and hot sauce brand in particular. So, PICO now is a spicy products brand focused on chutneys and hot sauces that represent Indian flavours. The product quality, packaging and presentation are very much of international standards, but the flavours are local and the pricing is highly affordable.
How much are you investing in the Pico brand?
Not much right now as we remain focused on the coconut water opportunity. However, PICO continues to be popular on e-commerce platforms where we continue to make the product available and amongst exporters in India and importers abroad who procure in bulk shipments from us for their distribution networks in other countries.
Tell us about your retail presence and distribution network?
Our focus remains Delhi-NCR, which is our main distribution market right now where we have built for COCOFLY a distribution reach of about 4000 odd stores across formats like general trade shops, modern trade, hotels, bars, restaurants, hospitals, cinemas etc. Other tan this we continuously get trade enquiries for distribution in other states, which we evaluate and whenever we find suitably experienced partners who are willing to build the business their local market we proceed.
We also sell online, through our own store cocofly.co as well as popular third party platforms like amazon and Big Basket.
It is believed that the products like yours highly depend on supply chain management. How have you built the backend?
That is absolutely correct. In packaging coconut water, the grade and quality of coconuts, the season of harvest, the region of the country where it gets sourced from and price at which we procure the water are all very important factors, both for product quality as well as unit level profitability. Then the packaging and processing side of it is also incredibly important and the processing parameters used at the manufacturing plant for filtration, decontamination, heat application, shelf life enhancement etc directly impact product quality and flavor. It has now been three years that we have been working on these issues and have built deep expertise in each of these areas.
What are the different kinds of varieties available? How have you decided the price range?Pico sauces and chutneys are priced at Rs. 49/-. And include popular flavours of Indian chutneys like Imli chutney and BambaiyyaHari chutney, Green Chilli sauce, Sweet Chillisauce, Makhanisauce and the extremely hot BhutJolokia sauce.
COCOFLY has two variants, the first being “COCOFLY Natura” priced at Rs. 35/- in tetra pak which is a natural coconut water with no added sugar and no preservatives. The second is our new formulation in bottles priced at Rs. 20/- with no added sugar and a shelf life of 12 months.
Tell us about your Cocofly brand.
Cocofly is 100% pure coconut packaged coconut water designed to reach thirsty customers away from Coastal areas without being prohibitively expensive. Cocofly is a low calorie, cholesterol free drink, bursting with natural goodness. The water that we use is extracted from young coconuts of superior quality and is repackaged in a more convenient Tetrapak carton with as little change as possible.
As you claim it to be natural and 100% nariyalpaani. How are you keeping it fresh?
We use Ultra High Temperature (UHT) processing method to enhance the shelf life of the product, in a manner similar to how the shelf life of milk is enhanced. In the case of “COCOFLY Natura” the six layer terapak carton also helps in maintaining freshness by keeping out light and air.
How are you marketing the brand?
We have recently signed up as the health beverage partner for Stepathlon kids that is backed by Virat Kohli to create a culture of sports and fitness amongst kids in India. We are working on partnerships that communicate our purpose and values to our consumers. Online and social media communications help us target specific user communities for the purposes of customer acquisition.
What is the plan expanding the brand to other regions?
Right now, we remain focused on Delhi-NCR to actively increase our distribution presence. Other than that, when suitably experienced partners approach us with the desire to build markets in other territories then we definitely engage and proceed if the fit is right.
How are you overcoming those competitions?
Our product quality and taste remains our biggest advantage. On top of that we layer our strengths in R&D to continuously innovate and remain a few steps ahead of the competition whether it is through diversification of our supply chain or coming up with much more affordable variants that have the potential to be a game changer for the industry.