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Bridging the gap in the health drink market

  • Health drinks that do not have preservatives face a myriad of issues
  • There are many healthy beverages in the market, there were hardly any options of drinks that offered hydration

Ankit Agarwal (above) and Brinda Dhruv (below) wanted a beverage which offers hydration while being healthy.
Ankit Agarwal (above) and Brinda Dhruv (below) wanted a beverage which offers hydration while being healthy.

In a world full of healthy beverage options, a few stand out for their uniqueness. Yose, is one such brand, started by Ankit Agarwal, 28, and Brinda Dhruv, 27, that gives consumers the option of healthy detoxifying lemonades. “Yose" in Sanskrit means health.

The idea of the startup really came when fitness enthusiast Agarwal found that while there were many healthy beverages in the market, there were hardly any options of drinks that offered hydration. The drinks available had too much sugar, filled with preservatives and were highly priced. This led to a conversation with his co-founder, Dhruv, who suggested her personal recipe for a hydrating and detoxifying drink using simple infusions of age-old ingredients. After using it and experiencing the benefits, Agarwal and Dhruv found their eureka moment as entrepreneurs. The duo met at Capgemini in 2015 through common friends. In 2016, they went on to quit their jobs as consultants, to bring to the market a hydrating beverage drink. “The initial mix was created by me with a combination of lemonade loaded with infusions of honey, ginger and mint to name a few. We extract these infusions ensuring that the active ingredient isn’t lost," says Dhruv. Currently, they have a food technologist who works on creating new flavours and also improving the quality of the drinks.

After six months of toiling and setting up their operations, they were able to market their drink through a subscription model in Mumbai, to begin with. Agarwal takes care of the operations while Dhruv handles the sales and marketing, and both are involved with creating new flavours.


Yose is available in a few retail stores in Mumbai as well as trial packs in fitness centres and medical stores and offers two types of lemonades that include Minty Lime, Tangy Lemonade and specialized drinks like Activated Charcoal Lemonade, Bioactive Hibiscus and Matcha Detox. None of the drinks contain added sugar and preservatives and have a short shelf life of three days. “The drinks are created with ingredients that are extremely important for a healthy gut but are not easily available to the regular consumer, such as activated charcoal and Matcha. We were able to source these in bulk and extend our line of drinks," says Dhruv.

Making its place

Among the common issues of health and detox drinks in the market, is lack of taste, which is something the co-founders decided to work on. The formulation of Yose is based on a recipe backed by Ayurveda, and it alkalises the body. “Consumers are usually occupied with their work and daily lives so much that they often end up neglecting their health which leads to various ailments," says Agarwal.

The pricing ( 40-120) and offering of Yose makes it suitable to the Indian consumer and the lemonades and detox drinks are strategically crafted. Yose’s consumer base is 60% through subscriptions and 40% through retail store sales.

Challenges

Health drinks that do not have preservatives face a myriad of issues as they do not have a very long shelf life. “The drinks last for three-four days under refrigeration. It is difficult to penetrate the market with such a limited shelf life," says Agarwal. There is also the factor of educating the consumer about the importance of detoxification every day. “Most detox drinks recommend five days of continuous drinking and nothing else after that. But at Yose, we believe that we need detoxification every day considering our food habits and if you can get hydration too then it’s a great combination," says Dhruv.

Awareness is the only method by which the popularity of the drink can be increased and the Yose team is very active on social media to ensure that they educate consumers about the need to opt for healthier options and the need to detox.

Growing stronger

Yose is looking to raise funds to strengthen their distribution and operations. “We are also working on increasing the life of the drinks in natural ways. We are experimenting with more flavours, which are traditionally available," says Agrawal.

Cheers To That is a series which looks at beverage startups set up by millennials and how they deal with trials and triumphs.

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