In an interview with Restaurant India, Founder Dipti Motiani talks about Second Nature, the first-ever brand of cold-extracted juices in India, and the key challenges in the sector.
Second Nature was launched with the intention of delivering natural taste and nutrition directly from farm to consumers' doorstep. It is the first-ever brand of 'cold extracted' fresh fruits and veggie juices in India. Fruits are best had at the farm when they are fully ripe for picking. Second Nature endeavours to bring these natural tastes and nutrients to the consumers in the form of cold extracted juices, second only to the fresh fruits themselves in terms of nutrient retention and flavour.
"The uniqueness of Second Nature is ingrained in its ideologies and the overall process of production. The brand works directly with growers, training them in the best farming practices that are accepted globally, ensuring that the produce they grow meets the highest food safety standards in the world."
Dipti Motiani, Founder & Chief Product Officer of Second Nature
“We have empanelled renowned agronomists and experts to educate growers to ensure that fruits are grown and harvested when they are just right. We place a lot of emphasis on our products being second only to Nature, i.e. the best alternative to plucking fruits right off their branches and consuming them at the farm. Freshtrop has always focused on supplying the highest quality fresh fruits to demanding customers and the production and commercialization of cold-extracted juices and vegetable blends is a natural progression for the brand in their quest to promote the consumption of healthy produce,” says Dipti Motiani, Founder & Chief Product Officer of Second Nature.
Freshtrop Fruits Ltd. is a leading exporter of pomegranates and grapes that has forayed into cold-extracted juices segment under the Second Nature brand.
Dipti Motiani sees the rising need in the juice sector in India.
In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, Founder and Chief Product Officer Dipti Motiani talks about Second Nature, the first-ever brand of cold-extracted juices in India, and the beverage sector in the country.
How Second Nature's concept is different from other juice players in the industry?
A critical part of our process is that we actually go back to the farm to source our fruits and vegetables. In addition, we believe we handle our raw materials much better, and we are involved across the chain right from the growing process to the harvesting, post-harvest management, and processing the fruits. Our experience in dealing directly with farmers for the last 25 years holds us in good stead in this regard. As compared to the others, we have no additives at all (no-added sugar, no preservatives, no heat).
While all the players in the juice industry are cold-pressed juices, the concept of Cold Extraction by itself is a unique method of juicing fruits and vegetables. Juice and pulp are gently extracted and a vacuum environment is created to prevent oxidation and prevention of loss of natural flavours. This is in stark contrast to cold-pressed juices, which are extracted using pressure and straining in open to atmosphere conditions, causing fibre loss and oxidation.
By far, what all juices are people's favourite?
We have multiple variants that are very fast moving – since a large part of our range is seasonal fruits, they move very strongly in their respective seasons. However, we have seen our Black Grape, Pomegranate and Orange blend, as well as our Pineapple-Mint, blend very well everywhere. Our vegetable blend of spinach, celery, ginger and orange has also done quite well, as has our Almond Cocoa Date dairy-free nut milk smoothie. I think a large part of it is down to the fact that taste is a critical parameter for us while designing these recipes – we go through about 20-25 options before launching any new variants.
What is your favourite from the Second Nature's juices?
I personally don’t have any favourite. I find that my preferences depend on scenarios and occasion.
Where do you source your ingredients from? Are they local or imported?
At Second Nature, we believe in one simple philosophy – the juice is only as good as the fruit that goes into it. Most of our fruits and vegetables are sourced directly from farms in India. For nuts or certain fruits which are not cultivated in India, we source these from producers globally who are certified with the highest food safety standards, just like us. This means we ensure that the fruit and vegetables in our juices are sourced from the best and highest quality sources possible, whether they are local or from outside the country.
We work directly with about 1000 farmers across Maharashtra. Freshtrop has been instrumental in bringing best practices in farming to India, responsible for the first Global GAP certification drive in India, as far back as 2001.
What are your expansion plans with Second Nature?
We are currently available in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Nashik, Pune and Thane. Going forward, we plan to expand our products and geographies to reach a wider audience looking for healthy and delicious consumables. We plan to establish a pan-India presence while also exploring markets outside the country. Further down the line, we envision producing a range of associated food products, built around the fruit/vegetable area, beyond beverages. With our state-of-the-art facility, second-to-tree philosophy and willingness to create and maintain relationships with growers and customers, Second Nature is all set to strengthen its position as the leading manufacturer and supplier of unparalleled all-natural nutritious products for the increasingly health-conscious Indians.
How much the Indian market is aware of the cold-extracted juices?
There is rising consciousness among the consumers in India about the importance of a good lifestyle and the critical role that a healthy diet plays in it. As per market research commissioned by us, there are concerns among consumers about leading an unhealthy lifestyle, the nutritional value of the diet they are consuming and their exercise being insufficient. Also, there are worries about the products being consumed, whether they have too many artificial ingredients and what is the contribution of the ingredients towards their daily nutritional requirements.
There has been a noticeable increase in the understanding of nutritional vocabulary and customers are no longer just blindly accepting everything that is said to them.
Considering such results, it would be safe to say that the healthy and organic foods market in India, traditionally, a small market restricted to uber-urban areas, has started to see an awakening. We are seeing consumers across the spectrum demanding a better, more nourishing and completely natural product. They are willing to ask tough questions to the manufacturers and are actively looking for better alternatives.
How do you maintain the health and nutrition value of your products?
We ensure that the health and nutrition are maintained in our products by the following processes:
1) Post-harvest management is the key to retaining the taste and nutrition of fresh fruits. Second Nature’s team ensures that the fruit is harvested at the right time and is then shipped to the facility within hours of harvesting. At the facility, the fruits are immediately put into a temperature-controlled environment to ensure freshness and no nutrition loss. These are the fruits that will go into making each bottle of Second Nature.
2) Cold extraction is a method of juicing fruits and vegetables. Juice and pulp are gently extracted, and a vacuum environment is created to prevent oxidation and prevention of loss of natural flavours.
3) We use the latest technology, HPP (High-Pressure Processing) which is an environment-friendly process that respects the ingredients and ensures retention of the nutrition and original flavour of the fruits, vegetables and nuts.
4) Our top-of-the-line facility in Nasik, which is routinely audited by independent auditors to ensure superior hygiene and quality. We comply with global hygiene and food safety standards such as FSSC 22000. We are constantly working with our delivery partners to deliver fresh juices and nut milk right to the doorstep of customers.
Maintaining the cold chain is very important for retention of taste and nutrition, thus, all products are shipped by Second Nature team to maintain the requisite temperature and hygiene conditions all through the supply chain.
What are the key challenges of being in the juice sector?
Every business has its challenges. For juices, we in India lack an established cold chain infrastructure and the understanding, both at the consumer and retailer levels, of how much it impacts the quality of fresh produce. This lack of infrastructure undoes a lot of the good work put in at the farm level – today, grapes from Nasik are sent to both Mumbai and London. In Mumbai, they hit the shelves within 24-48 hours, while the process takes 4-6 weeks for London. However, the grapes in London are fresher after those six weeks as compared to the ones in Mumbai sold after a day or two. It is a critical part of the entire food and beverage puzzle that needs to be resolved in our country.