This unique straw is all you need to get your children to drink their milk

Indore-based Strawfit is a unique patented product that flavours the milk it is added to. It acts as the perfect replacement for sugary and preservative-heavy milk flavours and additives.
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Getting children to drink their milk can be quite a task. Hence, many parents have relied on sugary milk-flavouring options for decades. Fortunately, now they can cut the sugar intake significantly by using a simple device to flavour their children’s drinks – a straw!

Indore-based company Bourgeon Foods has introduced a truly innovative product to the market called Strawfit. Founded by brothers Shashank Jain and Rajat Jain in 2019, this patented straw is one you wouldn’t want to throw away.

“We always wanted to explore something in the food industry, and during our research, we realised that there had been no major advancements in milk flavouring techniques in the last two decades. This kickstarted the idea to create something revolutionary for the Indian customer base. More surveys revealed that though the product was meant for kids, our target buyers were their parents. Listening to parents’ woes, we realised that milk flavouring using straws to enjoy flavours while making the milk nutritious, would be the way forward,” explain the co-founders as they join YS Weekender for a chat.

How it started?

Shashank and Rajat completed their civil engineering from India before pursuing an MSc in Construction Management. Shashank received a degree from the University of Birmingham, while Rajat went to the University of Manchester.

After returning to India, they started a real estate business in which their first project was building commercial farmhouses. However, as foodies with international exposure, they knew they wanted to contribute to the FMCG industry in India and started Bourgeon Foods by launching StrawFit.

“The vision of the company is very straightforward. We are keen that each one of our products has some feature that is rare and unique in its respective category. There has been an explosion of products in the FMCG industry, and people are bombarded with many options of the same kind of product, which in turn has led to stagnation. This is where Bourgeon Foods comes in to fill the gap with healthy and innovative products. Strawfit - The New Way of Drinking Milk, is just the start,” says Shashank.

The research and development for formulating their products is outsourced to a third party. The team is based out of Maharashtra, and every member has around 25 years of experience in food-related R&D.

Rajat explains, “As our primary customers are Gen-Alphas, we use social media to keep up and engage with them. We are currently present on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We are also implementing other online promotional strategies like Facebook and Google Ads and staying connected with mom communities.”

A truly unique product

With Strawfit being their flagship product, R&D is underway to create more innovative products. They highlight Strawfit as being different from any other product in the market because it is completely natural – there is no added colouring or artificial flavouring that goes into it. This makes it significantly more nutritious than other products that have been available in the market for the last few decades.

Further, along with adopting ISO approved standards and procedures, Strawfit also contains colostrum - the first milk that the cow produces after giving birth, which is known to be high in nutritional value but is not readily available to humans. Strawfit claims to be the first and only product in the country with this special feature.

Shashank describes their top selling product as the Strawfit Assorted Treat Pack of 30. This pack contains all three flavours - chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry - which makes it the most popular option. “A close runner up is the Cheerful Chocolate Pack of 30, as chocolate is the most loved flavour worldwide,” he adds.

Strawfit is available on all leading online platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, FirstCry, Bigbasket, and others, as well as on their own website. They are currently also testing offline sales by placing the product in select gourmet departmental stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Goa, Jammu, Chennai, Indore, and Ahmedabad.

“Our product caters to kids of ages 3-15 years, so our target is their parents. Potential buyers are parents and guardians aged 18 - 45 years. In general, since mothers are more particular about children’s diets, there is a ratio of 65 percent to 35 percent for females and males, respectively. Though our primary consumers are kids, the response from the youth has been excellent. They make approximately 15 percent of our total customer base,” smiles Rajat.

Challenges and growth

“Both the concept and the product were new for the region, so it was a while before awareness could be raised, but we were gradually able to gain trust and secure a special place in the hearts of over a lakh families. The real challenge was the pandemic. A lot of businesses hit rock bottom, but the uniqueness of Strawfit is Colostrum, which is famous for building immunity, and this ingredient turned out to be the need of the hour. Thanks to this, Strawfit’s business slowly and steadily picked up, and we were able to expand our customer base throughout the country,” says Shashank.

The IMARC Group shared data in 2021 that showed the flavoured milk market in India as having a value of Rs 33.2 billion, and is expected to reach Rs 127.7 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 26.01 percent. Since most flavoured milk options contain sugar and preservatives, Strawfit is sure to do well as a healthier alternative.

Since its inception in 2017, the brothers have invested around Rs 5 crore for R&D, manufacturing, and distribution in the business. They have seen a month-on-month growth of over 25 percent, a yearly growth of over 100 percent, and have a projected growth for FY 2022-23 as 300 percent.

Rajat highlights, “As Strawfit is a unique and patented product, there is no direct competition as such. But when it comes to milk flavouring techniques, the following can be considered indirect competitors – Boost, Bournvita, Horlicks, and other malt-based products. We hope to make Strawfit a staple in every household. We have also successfully delivered our first international consignment to Cambodia and are speaking to over 10 other countries to establish a global customer base. On the R&D front, our straws are environment friendly and recyclable, and the next step is to convert them into biodegradable ones, which we hope to achieve soon.”

The company is also planning to expand its range of products from milk flavouring straws to mocktails and health drinks through straws. The brothers have also been approached by the R&D department of a leader in the pharmaceutical industry to use the product design for medicines for children. They sign off with the reassurance that their products are safe and healthy enough to be consumed by themselves, their family, and near and dear ones.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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