IT’S a fruity year for Arielle G. Escalona. The managing director of Fruit Magic Co. Inc., the company behind the “Pure Nectar” brand, sees business expanding.
She sees commissaries and more partners sprouting outside Metro Manila as the number of bottled fruit and vegetable juice consumers, as well as public curiosity, continue to grow.
The 27-year-old Escalona attributes the spike in the consumption of bottled juices of fruits and vegetables to the increasing health and wellness consciousness among the public, and the fast-paced lifestyle, especially in urban areas.
The company currently produces a daily average of around 3,500 300-milliliter bottles of fruit and vegetable juices, she said.
This was well above the less than 100 bottles the company produced in a day in 2014.
“We are looking at Cebu and Davao” for expansion, she said.
THE positive feedbacks the company has been receiving recently have mostly come from two of the largest cities in the Visayas and Mindanao, she added.
“I personally handle the social-media account,” Escalona said. “So we have a lot of inquiry from Davao and Cebu.”
She added that social media has played a big part in getting the products to the public’s awareness.
“One of the challenges we encountered when we introduced Pure Nectar in 2014 was they found the products expensive,” Escalona said. What we did then was educate the market through the social media, explaining the products were not really pricey as the standards applied involved value in ensuring quality, she added.
Social media was harnessed to help consumers get answer to virtually every question usually asked, like how the commissary look liked, how the products were made, the best time to consume them, and other things.
“We really [spent] time online to answer questions,” Escalona said. “I think social media was a very big tool for business expansion because that’s how we got inquiry from big brands to have us in their menu.”
She said social media serves as the company’s main tool in advertising products.
Looking at entirety
SHORTLY after graduating from Ateneo De Manila University in 2014, Escalona joined the business in June as a marketing officer, assuming the responsibility of product promotions.
“But eventually, when I looked into the entire business I saw there was an opportunity to grow it even more,” Escalona said.
That year, the “Fruit Magic” brand was transformed into Pure Nectar.
The concepts were carefully conceptualized.
“I did the logo, the branding, the packaging and we tested it out that year,” she said. “We also did the research. The company was fully launched as Pure Nectar by the end of year.”
The company started selling bottled fruit and vegetable juices in locations with existing Fruit Magic stores. At the time, Fruit Magic had over 20 stores in Metro Manila.
“When I entered the business, I felt there was a need for delivery, and e-commerce,” she said. “I wanted something on-the-go. Fruit Magic was purely shakes and smoothies, so you would have to wait in line for five to 10 minutes.”
Integrating with partners
WITH bottled fruit and vegetable juices, one would not need to queue that long, Escalona explained. One could instantly grab his or her choice at a store and enjoy it anytime and anywhere.
“We revolutionized it,” she said. “What really grew the business was when we started partnering with brands.”
Pure Nectar stores could sell products in stores other than its own because the fruit and vegetable juices are in bottles, unlike fruit and vegetable shakes, she explained.
The company puts refrigerators in partner-stores that include Pure Nectar’s products to their menu.
The company has currently over 250 outlets, including partner-stores.
Some of the partner-stores label Pure Nectar’s fruit and vegetable juices with their own company name.
The Pure Nectar brand is currently partnered with Shell’s “Deli2Go” brand, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf coffee shop, and Pepper Lunch-brand restaurants.
“We’ll be selling the juices in their selected stores so you can buy it,” Escalona said. “At Shell Deli2Go and Coffee Bean, it’s their own label. At Pepper Lunch, it’s Pure Nectar.”
THE company currently offers some 40 flavors of fruit and vegetable juices that come in nearly all colors, except blue, Escalona said.
Some of the flavors are mixed juices of several fruits and vegetables. Others are juices of one or two fruits; some with vegetable extracts and some pure vegetable.
Their products have no sugar, no additives and no colorants, Escalona said. The products are natural and bottled, as well as stored without preservatives, she added. People can choose from about 40 flavors and have to drink their choice in just a few days for best consumption.
Some flavors are made of up to a dozen fruits and vegetables, Escalona said, citing the company’s best-seller “Green Supreme” flavor.
“Pure Nectar advocates good taste in the beverage.”
Escalona noted there still is the notion that a healthy drink must be expensive and the tongue should find the taste awful.
“We really wanted to change that,” she said. “So, when I entered the business, the challenge I saw in a working person was where he would find a healthy grab-and-go drink. What we wanted to do was to cater to the taste of Filipinos.”
Evolved over time
THE company sources farmers in Davao, Olangapo City, and other parts of the country for fruits and vegetables.
“We order about 2 tons of coconut a week,” Escalona said. “Since the business had actually started in 1993, we have a lot of farmers [whom] we support.”
Making the products accessible to people has been an issue that was worked out along the way, she pointed out.
“That’s where the business model has evolved over time,” Escalona said, adding that previous feedbacks included inquiry on why the products were not available in particular areas.
“What we did to speed up distribution was to partner with brands that have existing multiple branches,” she said. “That’s the strategy now. We are partnering with brands.” Pure Nectar has about 20 outlets of its own in Metro Manila, Escalona added.
“People associate healthy lifestyle with fruits and vegetables,” she said. “You really have to include fruits and vegetables in your diet. Since it’s part of your lifestyle, we made it convenient for you. I think that’s what made us successful.”
Responding to needs
ESCALONA believes the bottled fruit and vegetable juices market is growing because of the demand of a fast-paced lifestyle.
She said they also meet the need of those who want healthy beverage but don’t have the time to prepare the juice.
It takes too much time: from going to a market to choosing fruits and vegetables and extracting the substance at home in a juicer, according to Escalona, who graduated in high school from Saint Pedro Poveda College.
“Why people need us is because we are very available,” she said. “Right now, we also have online delivery.”
The company’s products are formulated by an expert in the field of nutrition, noted Escalona, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies at Ateneo de Manila University.
“All of our flavors are created by an in-house nutritionist, especially created for Filipino lifestyle,” she said.
They cold-press—uses 14,000 pounds of pressure—and blend the fruits and vegetables to get the juice, Escalona said.
THROUGH cold-press, fruits and vegetables yield most of their nutrients, she explained. Blending, on the other hand, the fruits and vegetables yield the fiber.
Mango, for one, could not be cold-pressed since most of its fiber would effectively yield only to blending, she said.
“A lot of people are getting more conscious about what they eat, so they want to read about it,” she said. “And we are honest with the things written on our bottles and in our marketing. We don’t claim anything that we are not sure of.”
The company is looking at making the products accessible in more locations inside and outside of Metro Manila in the next five years, she said.
Pure Nectar has put up an outlet in Singapore in May this year after establishing presence in Brunei Darussalam in July 2018. The company is also looking at putting up another in Cambodia late this year or early 2020.
This article is written by the Author in the by-line and was originally posted by Business Mirror in their website which can be accessed at https://businessmirror.com.ph/2019/08/04/beverage-maker-cites-social-media-help-in-growing-bottled-fruit-veggie-juice-business/