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What do you do to help other people lead healthier lives? Saúl Hernández, a native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, came up with the idea that he could create a healthy ready-to-drink drink or “ready to drink”, and thus Drink Plus, a line of functional drinks, was born.
“The idea with Drink Plus was to create a Mexican innovation company in healthy and functional beverages, mainly focused on mitigating health problems in the Mexican consumer,” Hernández explains in an interview with Entrepreneur en Español.
Together with his team, the entrepreneur dedicated himself to conducting a market study and found five ailments that afflict Mexicans: chronic fatigue, high levels of dehydration, low level of immune defenses, and fatigue due to high levels of stress.
According to the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) , 75% of Mexicans suffer from fatigue due to work stress, surpassing countries such as China and the United States.
Likewise, the research helped them understand that Mexicans have a problem when choosing products that help them improve their health in these five ways. One: “they are very expensive”, and two: “many or some of them require a prescription,” explains Hernández.
In this way, the Drink Plus team undertook the task of finding natural extracts that could be mixed with the aim of developing a product that “helps the consumer’s health without him feeling that he is taking a medicine.”
“You are drinking a drink with a flavor that you like and besides [the product] is going to have this functionality [to improve health] that is why in the industry they are known as functional drinks, because they help you to develop better in different functions.
What is a functional drink?
Functional drinks are those that are made with plant products and contain some ingredients aimed at getting our body to successfully achieve a specific function. They can also be completely natural like teas, which contain antioxidants on their own.
Drink Plus, started in 2015 with a capital of 500 thousand pesos, as of today it is distributed in three thousand points of sale nationwide with projected sales of 11 million Mexican pesos for this 2021.
This company has five drinks focused on a specific topic, each one defined by its name in English:
- Calm: which focuses on fighting stress.
- Hydrate: which seeks to rehydrate the body.
- Defense: which helps improve the immune system.
- Power: based on healthy energy.
- Focus: the one that supports our concentration and focus.
“If you don’t believe it then you can’t overcome the challenges”
Saúl Hernández comments that making a business model and developing an Excel with “very nice projections” is not everything because later “you run into reality and that’s when obstacles come.”
According to the entrepreneur, if you are very clear about what you are doing and, even more importantly, believe in it from the beginning, that is what will help you face any type of problem that comes your way.
But do not forget to choose your work team very well
“Obviously you have to have a team, but at the end of the day this can be a small team that has to be quite a link , where everyone does everything, [having] the ability to put on different caps on the same day, which is a constant challenge, ”says Hernández.
What makes you different?
Image: Courtesy of Shark Tank México.
The entrepreneur arrived at Shark Tank México, which airs every Friday at 9:30 p.m. on Canal Sony asking for two million pesos for 10% of his company. However, he received no offer from any of the sharks.
“In this they are right, and it is part of the challenge. At the end of the day, we are in the category of ready-to-drink drinks and in that category there are three big ones: Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestlé, in Mexico they represent 80% of what you see in the market. So one of the arguments they had was, ‘well, I see that it is a very competitive product category by big players in the industry’. But, my counter argument was that we are not a flavored drink, rather we are a functional drink that has all these health benefits ”, explains Hernández.
You are more than just an ‘ordinary’ product
Marketing processes can be difficult. How to explain to a consumer why they should choose you and not others is a great job. In this context, Hernández gives us three tips to achieve it.
“Find characteristics that your product has that other items on the market do not have or that you have a competitive advantage over them, whether in price, in the formulation, in the way in which you are going to distribute it, etc., so that lower the barriers to competition that you may have ”.
“A product can be used by different people, but there is still a characteristic that you can market more. For example: our product can be taken by diabetics, but we want to reach a youth market, so our strategy is very youthful, although we know that ladies and gentlemen of 40 and over will also buy us ”.
“Choosing your distribution strategy can also become a differentiator because some only focus on ecommerce, others on traditional channels and others on producing for export.”
“If I include these three points on how to differentiate yourself, I think the key is that you are very clear about who you want to reach and how you want to reach them … Yes, in the marketing process the most difficult thing is to make yourself known to the customer. And that’s when you have the opportunity to tell him, for example, in our case, we are not just one or more flavored drinks, but rather that our products have other benefits ”, he concludes.