You’ve had the Eureka moment, now what? Creating a new product can bring huge rewards, but there are many obstacles to overcome along the way
By Luke Raskino
Launching a new beverage can be a hugely exciting but stressful time. How do you find out what consumers really think of your product before you’ve invested too much time and money? How do you get the packaging spot-on? And when you’re starting out, how do you deal with the logistics of having 100 crates of bottles to deliver but no distributors willing to take on a relatively small account?
Through developing the award-winning clean energy drink Flytewith my Flyteco-founder Jonathan Reeves, I’ve been on this rollercoaster journey myself. As a result, I founded Delicious Labs so I could use my experience to help other entrepreneurs, R&D teams and brands bring their ideas to life, while minimising the huge financial risk of launching a new product.
Entrepreneur Simon Coley, Co-founder and Creative Director of Karma Cola, remembers the challenges they faced on their way to the top. Karma Colais an ethical, Fairtrade drink, now available in 26 countries worldwide. Money from every bottle sold is given back to The Karma Cola Foundation, which works with eight villages in the Gola Rainforest in Sierra Leone, the suppliers of Karma Cola’s crucial ingredient: cola nuts. Since launch, the company has invested nearly £200,000 into community-led initiatives in Sierra Leone (around 5% of the wholesale price is donated.)
Simon’s first hurdle was changing the public perception of cola. “That was a big obstacle,” he admits. “Our packaging had to stand out in a crowded market and it was important that we explained on the label that every bottle would make a positive contribution to the communities in Sierra Leone. We needed to show that Karma Colawas a ‘not guilty’ pleasure.”
Perfecting the recipe wasn’t easy. “It’s a complex formula involving nutmeg, vanilla, coriander seed, lime and lemon zest,” says Simon. “We wanted to ensure we had the best organic, Fairtrade ingredients. We kept playing with the recipe until we were confident we had an authentic, great-tasting cola.”
Distribution was a big headache at first. “I wouldn’t recommend sending out crates of bottles via non-specialist couriers,” says Simon. “We had a lot of breakages in the early days, so we soon realised we needed to get a van and deliver them ourselves to our key accounts. It took us about two years until we were big enough for large-scale distributors to want to work with us.”
The most recent challenge for Simon and his two co-founders, brothers Chris and Matt Morrison, was how to get stocked in major supermarkets without a huge marketing spend.
Whether you’ve just started out or are a well-established beverage brand, many of these challenges may already be familiar to you. But you don’t need to go it alone. With our team of dedicated specialists, here are 10 ways Delicious Labs can help:
- We can help you identify your ‘North star’, the role your product / brand will play in the market.
- Our in-house team of award-winning scientists can perfect your formula, giving you a ‘clean’ label and a great taste with added health benefits (aka ‘flavour with function’).
- We can design your branding to give you maximum standout.
- We can reduce the delay between formulating your product and receiving market feedback from the usual one-year timeframe, to as little as ONE week, providing detailed feedback via 50 consumer interviews.
- In April 2019 we are opening our own natural food store in Putney, featuring on-site labs and offices, allowing us to stock your product and test it with consumers within just 24 hours.
- We already have over 100 stockists in London (including cafes, restaurants, health food shops, convenience stores etc.) where we can test your innovation quickly and easily for you and give you the validation / data you need for your next investment round or just to help you take your product, pack and commercials to the next stage.
- We can solve your logistics issues with our warehousing and 24-hour fulfilment capabilities.
- We can devise a targeted PR strategy and create engaging content for your brand on Instagram and YouTube, growing your following and deepening your reach.
- We can place your new product with our trusted network of bloggers to test its ‘blogability’.
10. Our sales team can secure a network of new accounts and manage repeat purchases. Under our Gold Programme, we can also help with national and international expansion. We offer a choice of Bronze, Silver and Gold Programmes, as well as an a-la-carte menu of help so you can choose the right level of support for your business.
Look forward to working with you!