In an interaction with Restaurant India, Abhay Jaiswal and Arjun Gadkari, Co-Founder, Nilgai Foods talks about their entry into coconut water segment.
Coming from Nilgai family, what made you launch Cocofly?
COCOFLY is a continuation of the very same vision that has driven by us since day one. We are positive about the FMCG opportunities that India's rapidly changing consumer market offers to new entrants into the market. At Nilgai Foods we see ourselves building F&B brands for 21st century India, and COCOFLY is the latest attempt at achieving our vision. Our mission is to make premium food experiences more accessible to the wider Indian public, and we felt that a 100% natural coconut water with no added sugar and no preservatives is exactly what the Indian public is looking for right now.
How do you see the market for Cocofly and coconut water emerging in India?
The market is already estimated at 2600 crores, but this is the unorganised segment that consists of coconut vendors selling from push carts. We expect this market to grow considerably as packaged coconut water brings shelf life and portability benefits and therefore increases the footprint across the country where coconut water can be sold. We also expect packaged coconut water to eat into the fruit juices and nectars market as consumers switch to a healthier option of packaged drink. Over the next 5 years we think that the packaged coconut water market will grow to over 1000 crores from a starting point today at approximately 50 cr.
How are you marketing your product right to the customers?
Our launch in Delhi focused on our products USPs that makes COCOFLY stand out not only compared to other beverages but also when compared to competing coconut waters: we have highlights the fact that COCOFLY has no added sugar and no preservatives, which makes it the only truly guilt-free drink in the market. At Nilgai Foods we always look for ways to leverage technology to improve our effectiveness, so in addition to main stream ATL activities, we amplified the health message across social media and online publications.
You claim of having Cocofly 100 per cent natural. What is the shelf life of the product?
Without any preservatives we are able to achieve a 5 month shelf life for the product. Other coconut water brands can achieve a longer shelf life with the use of preservatives, but longevity is not the sole objective for us. We want to give our customers a beverage option that is genuinely free from anything negative. There can be no exceptions here. We are building a brand around honesty and integrity, and we want consumers to understand why are making these choices rather than giving them a shelf life that is commercially more viable but at the expense of their health.
From where did you source the coconuts?
We get our coconuts directly from farms in Tamil Nadu through a network of aggregation points. We try to package our drink as close to the source as possible, and we are always looking for ways to streamline and improve our supply chain.
Talking about packaging. How is the packaging for Cocofly done to deliver it fresh to customers?
We partnered with Tetra Pak during our development stage. Their state-of-the-art technology allows us to package the coconut water in the absence of any air so that their specialised heat treatment process kills any bacteria and packs the drink in 6 layers of protective packaging without the chance of contamination.
How are you selling Cocofly? Tell us about your presence in the market both in retail and HORECA?
We are in more than 3000 retail shops across the NCR including a few major supermarket chains such as Savemax, WH Smith and Religare Pharma. We have seen a huge amount of interest from both public and private sector institutions that are looking for healthier options but have only found drinks that contain lots of sugar. As a result it has been easy for us to activate HORECA accounts - we are in over 60 hospitals in the NCR, and sell to caterers, hotels and restaurants. We have recently started supplying COCOFLY to select army units, which we hope to build into a long term government supply contract. Cinema chains have also shown interest as they have seen a sharp decline in soft drink sales and need to look for healthier alternatives to give to their audience.
Going forward, what is the expansion plan?
Now that our launch in Delhi has beaten our expectations, we are looking at expanding into other cities especially in the north. We are looking at raising a round of funding that will go towards brand building and awareness. Over the next few years we want to be the market leader in coconut water and we hope that coconut water will rival the fruit juice market in size.
Also, when we talk about Nilgai as a whole what new is happening at Nilgai?
PICO, India's first hot sauce brand, is also expanding right now. We are expanding our range into great tasting 'daily essential' sauces that are a must-have feature of every pantry. In July we are introducing chutneys into the Mumbai market as a celebration of India's original hot sauce - the chutney. So far chutneys have been predominantly prepared at home but we are banking on the growing number of nuclear families and double income households who no longer have time to prepare simple everyday accompaniments from scratch. PICO's range of chutneys will liberate the woman of the house and give her more time to enjoy with her family. We are excited about this new phase in the PICO journey as it will open up a huge market that we previously left untapped with our original range of PICO hot sauces.