Craving sugarcane juice? This Haryana-based startup has it bottled up for easy use
Nutricane Beverages is an F&B company that manufactures and sells natural sugarcane juice.
At a glance:
Startup: Nutricane Beverages
Founders: Dipin Kapur, Neeraj Jalan and Sachin Goel
Based out of: Haryana
Sector: Food and Beverages
Year it was founded: 2017
Not much can be as refreshing as fresh sugarcane juice. It was this very thought that had friends Dipin Kapur and Neeraj Jalan making a pit stop during a road trip. Though excited for a glass of juice, the unhygienic conditions under which it was extracted put a dampener on their enthusiasm.
It was then the duo had a thought - why not have sugarcane juice hygienically extracted and packaged? This was the beginning of Nutricane Beverages. The two decided to first research the challenges that the process entailed and then launch operations.
They met with several food scientists, and visited research institutes to explore the possibilities of preserving and packaging sugarcane juice, but did not get satisfactory details to meet the standards they had set for themselves.
“In fact, we were told how impossible our task seemed, and it was no wonder that no one had accomplished it before. This only spurred us on, and we put together our own team of food technologists and scientists and set up a small lab to start research. Two years of intense work and consumer trials later, we were ready to set up the manufacturing facility we call the 'juicery', and finally launched our product OMG! (from the term, Oh My Ganna) in November 2017,” says Dipin.
The two developed a patent-pending proprietary process, which they termed as FreshFusion, which allows the company to offer a product that is over 80 percent natural juice content.
Setting up the team
Once the duo had the working of the idea in place, their friend Sachin Goel stepped in. With nearly 20 years of experience, Sachin has been instrumental in building successful teams, accelerating revenues and setting up new ventures in the food and beverage space, as a co-promoter and director of Prime Gourmet Pvt Ltd. Dipin and Neeraj were both part of an e-business, and promoters of the wrestling team - Haryana Hammers.
Nutricane's bottled sugarcane juice comes with a non-refrigerated shelf life of six months, and has no chemical preservatives. The brief, Dipin explains, was simple - to package sugarcane juice, keeping its natural taste, flavour, and nutrients intact.
Building the manufacturing setup
Nutricane set up its 'juicery' in a three-acre plot in Jhajjar district of Haryana, and had machines customised. The location was ideal due to the easy availability of raw material, and for its close proximity to the Delhi NCR region, as it planned to launch the product first in the region. The team raised seed capital to set up the manufacturing facility from Ashish Dhawan, founding partner of Chryscapital.
“From cleaning the sugarcane plant to extracting and bottling the juice, we maintain strict standards of hygiene and so, getting the FSSAI certification was not much of a challenge. As an environmentally-conscious company, we introduced OMG! in a 250 ml recyclable glass bottle priced at Rs 40,” says Dipin.
The team formally launched OMG! at the World Food India event in November last year. The team claims that monthly sales are growing at an average 50 percent month-on-month, and that the company is on track to meet its target of selling over seven million bottles by the end of its first financial year.
“We use glass bottles as they offer better preservation and help keep both our and the consumers’ carbon footprint low through recyclability, in alignment with the global trend,” says Dipin.
Numbers and growth
Nutricane Beverages claims to have a gross margin of 60 percent, which the team aims to improve with scale. Dipin adds that the trade margins range from 25 percent to 30 percent within the current structure. He explains that marketing and promotion cost is a major component and a large investment is required over time to build awareness about the product and establish a distribution network.
According to TechSci Report, the packaged coconut water market in India was at $15.38 million as of 2016. This is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 17 percent between 2017 and 2022, and is expected to touch $40.73 million. There is a growing trend for natural beverages. Bengaluru-based Tenco, packages coconut water. Reports suggest that other giants are keenly looking to enter the natural beverages segment.
With OMG! the team aims to have a three percent market share in the Indian juice market by 2020. The fruit juice and natural beverages market in India is dominated by Hamdard Roohafza, Dabur Real and ITC's B Natural. Other competitors include Raw Pressery and Paper Boat.
Nutricane Beverages is available in 1,300 general trade and 130 modern retail trade stores, and the startup intends to reach nearly 20,000 retail points by the end of 2019. The team is in talks with Reliance Retail, Walmart and Big Bazaar to further expand its retail footprint in the country. It is also present on online platforms like Drinkomg, Twigly and Milkbasket, that will soon extend to marketplaces like Big Basket, Grofers, and Amazon.
In the first phase, the team is targeting Delhi-NCR, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu and the second phase will target the rest of India.
“In the next three years, we intend to see OMG! as the preferred beverage in every nook and corner of the country,” says Dipin.