A few months back I was facilitating an Idea generation session at a Entrepreneurs Development program at an incubation center. Most entrepreneurs in this group were focussed on the food industry and I for one has never worked with this one industry though as a consumer you just can not escape them. Initially all the ideas came from what is the trend – healthy packaged food – pack this, pack that – nothing that was really new and non-existent. So when I challenged the participants to come up with something that does not exist as a product, one of the ideas came was that of flavored water.
The idea obviously came from the fact that we wanted a drink with no sugar and or other chemicals and we wanted a drink that was more than water. Something like a water plus, and something that can come in many variants as that is a natural way to give choice to the consumer and to expand the business. So came the idea of water flavored with various Indian spices – it could well be called spiced water. Initially the ideas came about single spice flavors like Jeera or Cumin Water or Cardamom water or Clove water or Saumf or Fennel water. Some even had ideas like betel leave water as lot of Indians are addicted to that flavor. In no time. imaginations were running wild and people wanted to combine two or three flavors – everyone had their own choice of flavors. Not to mention people recounted the health benefits of each of these flavors and what can be used by people suffering from what ailments. The whole naturopathy angle came into the picture.
I thought the idea had a business potential, though may require a bit of technical as well as market research.
After the session I did a basic search on flavored water on the Internet and found that some brands of flavored water do exist around the world, but most of them focus on fruit flavors and use the drinks for vitamin fortifications so that they are sold as supplements. In India it seems Bisleri did explore the opportunity a few years back but they too explored fruit flavors only and I do not recall any launch of their product. But its possible I missed it as I no longer live in a big city. The only spice flavored water I came across was a mint flavored water that a reviewer said was quite good. There are some flavored water manufacturers in India but not for the retail segment it seems but more as essence or flavors for the processed food industry.
Based on this basic research I think the idea of a product range of ‘ Spiced Flavored Water’ has a business potential. A bit of research effort would be needed to develop and research the exact products to begin with. The product would have to go through the regular product launch process. I have a feeling lot of existing beverage companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi may be able to develop this in no time, but if it fits into their strategy or not is a different question. However some new beverage companies in India like Hector Beverages who have a successful portfolio of a range of Indian drinks may be better positioned to experiment on this, as it is a natural fit for their range and go well with their existing branding.
Of course, it may be a challenge to explore for new entrepreneurs. Remember Limca, Thums Up & Maaza were developed right here in India though they may belong to a global brand now.
Please share your views on this idea.