Mumbai-based startup wants fitness-conscious consumers to drink to their health
Yose Drinks takes subscriptions and delivers healthy lemonades and detox drinks to your doorstep; the company has sold 30,000-plus bottles till now and is gearing up to scale the business.
While working with CapGemini, Ankit Agrawal often felt the need for a natural drink that would be delivered to his doorstep every day. Being in Powai, he was confident he could find a good option. To his surprise, all available healthy drinks had preservatives and were expensive.
Not long after, his colleague, Brinda Dhruv, shared her recipe for a detox drink. Ankit tried it for almost a week and felt great about his health. He saw a potential business and joined hands with Brinda to found what’s now called Yose.
Yose is the Sanskrit word for health. It’s a brand of healthy lemonades in three variants - minty lime, tangy lemonade and activated charcoal lemonade – along with detox drinks. The startup delivers these natural drinks, packaged, hygienic and fresh, upon subscription. None of the drinks have added preservatives or sugar.
The team conducted an online survey apart from BTL activities in and around Powai before launching the product.
“We started getting monthly subscriptions soon after the survey and realised that our idea had got validation from our target customer base. We launched the product at a startup event in Powai,” Brinda shares.
Yose is currently bootstrapped and looking for funding.
“I've always had basil-infused lemonade in my childhood. We are Gujaratis and serve it to Lord Krishna. When I saw infused herb drinks trending among western celebrities, it was an authentication of a traditional belief. Our product revolves around the concept of infusion. Hence we wanted to give a traditional name to the brand - YOSE - highlighting the strong foundation of age-old remedies."
Targeting the healthy beverage market
Founded in September 2016 in Powai, Yose has sold 30,000-plus bottles till date across Mumbai. When a customer subscribes, he/she may opt for a daily delivery or alternate day delivery of Yose drinks. The drinks are also retailed at fitness centres and a few retail stores.
“While Powai is quickly becoming a startup valley, a lot of entrepreneurs and their team members neglect their health, which affects their productivity in the long run. Our drink is extremely healthy, cuts stress and helps super-busy startup folks stay healthy and be productive,” Ankit says.
Brinda says: “Yose has been positioned at the highest growing vertical in the food industry today (20-25% Y-o-Y) and we have a clear differentiating factor apart from good traction.”
“We deliver pan-Mumbai through a fleet of delivery boys. We have a strategic tie-up with dabbawalas for a seamless experience.”
Apart from the two co-founders, Yose has a consulting food technologist and three full-time employees on board.
Who are they competing with in the market? “Although Yose has no direct competition, the closest competitors are cold-pressed juicing companies like RAW Pressery. But these are juicing companies while we make water-based lime water with added flavours. So, there’s a lot of difference. No other brand makes healthy, packaged beverages in India,” she adds.
“While most beverages in the market are inclined towards good taste, Yose promises to serve pure health and happiness. It has ‘no sugar’ and approximately 8.1Kcalories per serving. And the pricing starts at Rs 40 only for 300ml,” Ankit says.
But how ready is this market? Are there health-conscious buyers ready to pay for a health drink?
According to a Business Today report, conglomerates such as Kellogg’s, Mohan Meakin, PepsiCo, Heinz India and Dabur are targeting the health food market with breakfast cereal being the focus of the market. A Zeebiz report also asserted that FMCG companies are turning their focus to healthy snacking in India.
“The market is not just ready but is convoluting full-fledged. While tech and service companies strive to provide a solution, FMCG companies strive to create brands. At Yose, we strive to create a health brand for the common man. Brand promise is one of the most important things for consumer sector companies,” Ankit says.
The challenges of the FMCG market
Team Yose is confident that this may be the right time to create a trustworthy brand around health “as the consumer base is shifting their focus towards health”.
Creating the right values leads to repeat customers, Brinda says. However, there’s a barrier to FMCG brands: the consumer mindset.
“Despite all odds, Patanjali came in as a huge brand because consumers bought it. The biggest challenge for startups in this segment is the market being capital-intensive. You have to invest a lot in marketing and communicating the brand value to consumers. Setting up distribution and scaling is another challenge,” she admits.
Ankit feels it’s important to come up with the “right idea at the right time”, adding that they feel the time is right for Yose.
“As long as you can provide your target audience with something that is meaningful to them, they will come back to you again and again.We have seen this with Yose."
Yose soon plans to introduce more variants that are difficult to procure for the end customer. “We are looking for alliances across retail. We also plan to increase the shelf life of our drinks with the help of some advanced technologies that keep nutritional values intact without affecting taste. We are making profits and are actively seeking investments,” Brinda says.
Team Yose is confident about scaling up since their drinks have picked up in the market. Brinda says, “We plan to expand to metros and if possible, Middle East Asia.” She ends with a Victor Hugo quote: “No army can stop an idea whose time has come.”