Cut. Peeled. Squeezed. Sliced. Pressed.

Cut sections of fruits
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Have you watched a YouTube fruit cutting video? You should. They are fascinating. The ones that simplify cutting complex fruits have millions of views. The easiest one to eat must be the banana. Perfectly packed in its own eco-friendly container. All you have to do is peel back the skin when ripe and bite. Apples and mangoes can be devoured bit by bit because they have delectable flesh around a hard core. That almost sounds pornographic. Suffice to say that uncommon fruits have their fans and they don’t give up their secrets easily. You’ll make a mess before you understand the techniques that triumph.

Take pomegranates for example. Luscious red rubies glistening around irregular mounds. So what’s the best way in? Don’t massacre the fruit by slicing through it. ‘Scalp’ the top off first to reveal the sections within. On the skin, draw your knife to cut through the outer layer of the sections. Then, pull each one apart and you’ll find that the rubies can almost be peeled off the mounds, applying a little pressure. Rain them off into a bowl and enjoy that astringent sweetness in a rush. So, why this whole fuss about fruits?

Fruits as health products

Fruit display at a stall
Fruits displayed at a stall
Photo by ja ma on Unsplash

The branded juices at supermarkets are decidedly sweet, in a way nature never is – the real ingredients are merely for authentic flavour. In some ways, they are guilt substitutes. While fruits are seen as healthy, the trade-off between the time required to cut them, get family members to eat healthy portions and stock a variety according to seasonal variations is a task most households don’t have the time and energy for. Fruits are not exciting in the way that carbonated beverages are. It’s no surprise that the most popular ones are the easiest to pack, cut and eat. Apples, bananas, mangoes, oranges and grapes. We look at every aspect of our life through the filter of convenience and time-saving. Which is unfortunate. If you don’t agree, look at the number of custard apples in stock at any Indian store. Or jackfruits. 

Dragon fruit is a pleasant surprise. It has complicated layers of thick overlapping pink skin. But slice it through the middle and you’ll have two cups of white flesh dotted with crunchy little black seeds, a visual feast. It’s one of the easiest fruits to eat. Simply scoop it out with a spoon. The taste may not be to everyone’s liking – it is mildly sweet but the texture is like packed ice cream with a melony aftertaste. Rare fruits have a small footprint. But the fruit juice market overall is massive.

A juicy growing market

Fruit juices in glasses
A big market for fruit juices
Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Goldstein Research: analyst forecast fruit juices have created a space for themselves in Indian household menus, as a part of a family’s breakfast, social gatherings, and evening snacks. Further, the market is anticipated to reach USD 4.9 billion at a CAGR of 17.1% over the forecast period (2016-2024) backed by the significant adoption of health drinks by young consumers in India.

Here’s the way the market is structured, which indicates that fruit juice consumption and disposable income growth go hand in hand. From the report: Geographically, Tier-I cities accounted for the highest revenue share in India fruit juice market with around 55% market share. Tier-II and Tier-III cities are likely to be the most opportunistic regions owing to growing demand for fruit juices in tier-II cities and significant growing consumption of fruit drinks in Tier-III cities of India.So, if you want to see a trend of growing prosperity and consumption, look where the fruit juice market is flowing. It could be a metric for rising affluence.

At the top of the fruit chain

A range of raw fruit juices – RAW Pressery

Raw Pressery, the brand, came into being in 2014. Anuj Rakyan, diamond trader and investment banker turned juice evangelist saw the opportunity to create a category above the brands competing in the organised space. Raw Pressery goes as high as Rs.135 (about $2) for a 200-250 ml bottle of juice. That’s five times more expensive than the mass market. What was the differentiator? Raw juices pressed from fruits and vegetables grown organically. The promise is certainly not taste – there are YouTube video comments denouncing it. So, how does it work?

Its aimed at a highly targeted demographic – the fitness-obsessed who have an entire ecosystem that panders to them. From personalised trainers at the gym to dieticians providing a meal by meal breakdown. And designer clothes hugging taut shapes. With shoes to match. What was missing? The juice with bragging rights. They can’t be seen to be drinking just about any mass-market juice. It needs to make a statement. That’s what the brand confers – and with brand ambassadors, like actor Jaqueline Fernandes, it has a hotline to Bollywood’s bright and beautiful stars. Splashed liberally across Instagram in a series of hot bod posts.

Is the run sustainable?

The process

The market for a juice priced in this range is woefully small, even with all the marketing muscle and the social media breathlessness that accompanies it. One recent trend on Twitter is to promote the use of the juices as a mixer for alcoholic drinks. That’s going to mask the taste and appeal by combining virtue with sin. Expansion of the range is an option – and almond milk is the first. That’s aimed at the tribe of vegans who overlap with the fitness conscious. So there is a discernible growth map.

The juices are sold as combos with Subway sandwiches. Or with Faasos meals. The cross-promotions help the first time sampling at lower prices to customers who may resist paying the high price for single-serve juices on supermarket shelves.  If it gets traction, the expanded range could, over time, establish the brand’s foothold. The company is also pushing subscriptions aggressively on the site. That’s regular income with assured returns and reduced distribution costs. One benefit the brand has is social media costs a fraction of mass media television spends. Here, they can target the precise demographic and build credibility over time. The narrower the appeal, the more focused media spends can become. 

Owning the supply chain

One of the most expensive building blocks of the brand has been the fruit sourcing and the cold chain for distribution. Anuj Rakyan had to work on getting several farmers with small landholdings on board to follow a process that used no pesticides or fertilizers. The only way they agreed was to be paid upfront for the crop in advance. The other was to own the entire cold chain distribution – from the trucks to the freezers to be monitored all the time. With a shelf life of 21 days as compared to six months for regular juices, the window of opportunity is tight. 

If the brand grows, more farmers will switch and reduce their usage of harmful chemicals. And the cold chain can benefit many brands who can ride on the infrastructure. With a background in the diamond business, the founder already knows the rarefied atmosphere of luxury and the motivations that drive customer spends. That’s a big advantage in the long-term.

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Author short bio: I head Ideascape, an agency that I started over 14 years ago. I have over 35 years of experience building brands in businesses as diverse as payroll services, software, cycles, HR services, hospitals, hospitality and project management.

We’re a boutique creative agency but we provide the full range of branding services in partnership with several associates in digital marketing, web development, and event management. This blog is a collection of my experiences and my point of view on marketing and advertising