Healthy lifestyle was always high on the radar for conscious consumers. However, the pandemic proved to be a big eye opener for the rest, who chose to pause and reconsider their food habits and their exposure to varied food products. This allowed niche brands the confidence and opportunity to tap the untapped potential of the healthy food market.
The scenario was very different before the pandemic and normally international health food brands were dominating the market in this category. However, the smaller brands, began to eye the opportunity with more clarity and weighing in the opportunity, entered the market to face the increasing demand. According to Verified Market Research, the global effervescent tablet market was valued at US$ 23.28 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach US$ 43.13 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 7.97% from 2020 to 2027.
To know more about this market, we spoke to Sahil Mehta, Managing Director, MuscleXP. Muscle XP established in 2018 is a D2C brand that provides nutritional supplements by providing products truth in labeling, ingredient safety and product potency. The brand has 60 SKU’s and is planning to launch more than 100 plus products.
Starting with a passion
Sahil Mehta shared the journey with us about how he incepted the brand, “We began our journey with St.Botanica & Oriental Botanics, which were bought by The Good Glam Group last year. Emmbros Overseas launched the brand MuscleXP in India. We’re forming the company with minimal funds and low marketing spends. Our main marketing strategy was word of mouth, and a strong R&D team. Our brand aims to spend less in marketing as demand is more and supply is less. That’s the only way we have succeeded quickly with less funds and less sources.”
Growing by the click
E-commerce has transformed the business landscape in India. Mehta when talking about how his brand’s growth was given the right push owing to the growth of the online market, mentioned “The market was bound to grow, while it was lagging behind, given e-commerce contributing to hardly 3-5% sales of the customer, today the Indian e-commerce space is slowly increasing due to high internet speed and companies coming up with quick-delivery options have encouraged people to shop more.”.
He further added to this, “Different platforms are emerging which are more customer oriented. This was not just because of the pandemic, but it was bound to happen and see a lot of impetus for growth. This is the future worldwide and the future of Indian retail, as well.”
Succeeding with a D2C Business model
With the fast growing D2C space, there is cut throat competition in the market with hundreds of brands venturing into the space. The brand needs to focus on the market with a sustainable approach and have a unique offering to succeed in the increasingly competitive market. Mehta with his years of experience shared the points to succeed in the fierce market “D2C brands can only survive in the market if they have either of this things : If the brand had a huge investment that can burn the capital to launch huge range of products or there should be a lot of innovation involved with a strong R&D team that can understand the consumers’ feedback. So, Innovation and Capital are two different things. If the brand has a lot of capital, then they can focus on innovation but the mindset will be more focused towards revenue.”
He added that, “If the company has less funds, then they can focus more on R&D and innovating a product which has a strong demand in the market. As the ultimate goal is to make a product for the customers not for the investors.”
Catering to discerning customers
Consumers are getting more choosy about the way they purchase. Nowadays, the customers are on the lookout for an authentic brand experience. They want to buy from brands, which can make the purchase experience extraordinary and lasting. To which Sahil Mehta explained, “When we launched the Vitamin C serum, it was the first-of-its-kind in India and we did a lot of R&D before launching it. But, what we found out was surprising. We got to know that the customers are aware of the salt that is used in the serum.”
“The case is similar in case of proteins as well, as there are whey protein/ plant protein and other forms of protein. Customers have become knowledgeable about their consumption. And a brand needs to give them a product that the customer desires to have”, Sahil Mehta highlighted.