City life in India can get incredibly busy, stressful, and unhealthy, given the potent mix of work-life imbalance, pollution, spurious food items, and other such urban hazards. To counterbalance this, Millennials are increasingly focussing on their health — encompassing all aspects of fitness, healthy eating, and wellness.
Now, you can get your daily dose of health in a shot — of the non-alcoholic kind. Looking to provide a boost to people’s healthy food choices, Bengaluru-based SapFresh has introduced healthy juice shots made of wheatgrass, amla (Indian gooseberry), beetroot, and carrot, spiked with superfoods such as chlorella, a nutrient-rich algae; spirulina, a blue-green algae that is high in protein and a good source of antioxidants, B-vitamins, and other nutrients; and moringa leaves from the Indian drumstick tree, known for their powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and tissue-protective properties.
Founded by Vishal Goel in August 2017, SapFresh provides pure, fresh, cold-pressed, and 100% organic juice shots, delivered to Bengalureans every day on a subscription-based model. The company, which takes orders online on its website, has hit upon a simple but effective logistics mechanism to ensure smooth and timely deliveries.
SapFresh is using existing networks of newspaper delivery boys and milkmen along with its own delivery captains to deliver its products across Bengaluru.
Goel told Inc42 that he has seen a lot of people, including close friends and family, suffer from chronic diseases, many of them a byproduct of the modern, unhealthy lifestyle. This is what inspired him to venture into healthcare.
He believes it’s time people address health holistically. And he wants SapFresh to play an active part in achieving healthy results for all.
But why choose drinks over other food items? Goel explains that health drinks are convenient and fast to consume and people have an affinity for such drinks. “My aim was to push the right nutrition into people’s lifestyles. So we created a product that is easily consumable,” he says.
Currently, the SapFresh team comprises of five delivery staff, two people who juice and bottle simultaneously, and one person who takes care of its nursery. Besides, there are 14 people across marketing, customer services, human resources, and in the backend team, including Goel and another SapFresh director, Arjun Bir Singh.
SapFresh offers 15-30 day subscription packages and home delivers fresh juices made of superfoods every day. Despite slow growth, the company has been earning revenues from its products and has sold over 10K healthy shots till date.
The shots are priced at a reasonable INR 60 for 50ml, and if you take the monthly subscription package, the shots are delivered directly to your doorstep every morning at 7 am. The subscription comes for INR 1,800. For corporates, SapFresh offers a discounted monthly package for INR 1,500.
A Shot Of Health, Served At Your Doorstep
SapFresh is a stickler for quality — you really can’t be any other way if you’re a health food startup.
It has its own 3,500 sq ft infrastructure unit within a food-producing unit called Eat5, which is owned by its investor. The SapFresh unit includes an 800×1,000 sq ft greenhouse as well.
The startup grows its own greens such as wheatgrass in the nursery. There are some ingredients that SapFresh can’t grow due to environmental restrictions, so it procures them through organic sources.
After initial challenges in finding the right vendors, the company has now managed to set up a supply chain and is able to source good quality raw materials directly from its vendors. It sources other raw materials from farmers in Nelamangala, Karnataka.
“We import superfoods such as chlorella from the US and spirulina is procured from Pune in Maharashtra. We source moringa leaves, pulverised and powdered, from Dindigul in Tamil Nadu,” says Goel.
SapFresh employees start work very early in the morning to deliver a daily dose of healthy shots to its customers. The workers clean all the vegetables and herbs thoroughly before making the shots, which are then dispatched at 5am from the unit.
The company uses a fabricated machine called the PR100 for juicing. For smaller trials, it uses Omega Nutrimax juicers.
With a shelf life of 12 hours, SapFresh says it does not add any preservatives to its shots; the shelf life can be stretched to 24 hours if refrigerated.
Using Milkmen, Newspaper Boys To Deliver Shots
The company works on a hybrid model to ensure on-time and uninterrupted delivery of its health shots. It has leveraged simple and already available distribution channels — newspaper delivery boys and milkmen — besides putting its own fleet in place. The model helps the startup keep its production costs down.
Goel says, “We work on a hybrid model where we have our own delivery captains who deliver our shots to certain apartment complexes. We have also tied up with some newspaper and milk vendors where we follow two-way deliveries. Our product goes from our production units through our own team to these vendors, who then deliver it to the customers.”
This strategy of leveraging existing hyperlocal delivery networks of newspaper delivery boys and milkmen has helped SapFresh shave off 10X of its logistics cost.
Challenging Patanjali From Bengaluru
Goel further shares with Inc42 that SapFresh is not a juice company, but rather a superfoods product company which sells fresh shots. This, he believes, is SapFresh’s USP, which no one has tapped into yet.
“We believe every cell has life. We deliver fresh products that still is entirely fresh and living when its sold. So, this is really what makes a difference,” says Goel.
But there is India’s homegrown brand Patanjali, which sells packaged amla, aloe vera, giloy, etc juices at very reasonable prices. While Patanjali’s offerings may not quite be in the same league as SapFresh, it has the advantage of having become a household name across India with several of its own stores and partnerships with major ecommerce sites as well as retail outlets.
But Goel doesn’t view Patanjali as competition. He believes that Patanjali’s product segment and customer segment is not as same as theirs.
“Patanjali caters to everyone. The cost of their products is less but we sell superfoods. We have amla juice but we infuse it with superfoods, which helps raise the quality of our product by so much more.” He adds, however, that the fact that Patanjali’s products are accessible to and affordable to all is really “applaudable”.
Apart from Patanjali, there are several other players catering to the demand for superfoods, healthy food, and juices in Bengaluru.
One of the leading fitness, health, and wellness startups in the country — Cure.Fit — serves healthy drinks such as Antioxidant Kick which includes electrolyte-rich coconut water; Hydration Lift, which includes anti-inflammatory goji berries; Core Cleanse, which has anti-inflammatory fruits and veggies, through its Eat.Fit vertical. The juices, priced at INR 99, are available on the Cure.fit app and also on Zomato under Eat.Fit. They’re also sold offline at Cult centres.
Then there is Doctor Juice, which provides vitality shot juices made of ashwagandha, watermelon seeds, walnuts, poonaikali, etc, priced at INR 110; wheatgrass juice at INR 50; amla curry juice at INR 50, and more. These are available on its website as well as through other food delivery apps.
To diversify further and strengthen its operations, SapFresh recently raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Dr BS Rao, who is also the founder of Eat5, a startup producing toxin-free patient food.
The company has used most of its funds to build its facility at Eat5 and to procure the best-in-class machinery, which required to produce a high-quality product.
At present, SapFresh is also investing in its marketing activities to increase its reach. Available only in Bengaluru apartments as of now, the company is looking to tap corporates in the next stage of its expansion.
The Hyperlocal Delivery Market In India
Digitalisation has become an undeniable part of our everyday life. From ordering groceries, food, and apparel on apps to attempts at healthy living through online workout programmes, nutrition plans, digital fitness wearables and trackers — we literally run our lives through our smartphones these days.
The physical products, meanwhile, are delivered to our doorsteps by companies deploying tech-enabled offline-online models including smooth logistics and supply chains.
This demand for any time, anywhere deliveries of all kinds of products has given rise to the hyperlocal delivery market in India. According to a July 2017 report, the Indian hyperlocal market is expected to grow at a considerable CAGR, exceeding $335.82 Mn (INR 2,306 Cr) by 2020.
It is further expected that if the Indian GDP (currently at $2.5 Tn) continues to grow at 6-7% for the next 10 years, the Indian fitness industry would triple upto $2.5 Bn by the end of 2027.
According to ‘Beverages: Indian Scenario’ report, the health beverages market currently stands at $300 Mn and is the fastest growing market among beverages.
Looking ahead, SapFresh is planning to enable its customers to visit their farmer partners in Nelamangala and is also planning to organise scheduled factory visits for them.
This is a good marketing strategy in present times when people are becoming increasingly conscious and want to get closer to the sources of the food they consume.
As SapFresh looks at the fresh and growing opportunity in the health food and beverages industry, the company, with its unique hyperlocal delivery model and product, has stumbled upon a huge untapped potential market to address.