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What problem does your solution solve?
Our team took the advantages and disadvantages of sodas to formulate a product that can exploit the benefits and avoid the negative aspects of traditional sodas. On the negative side, studies have shown that drinking sodas in excess is hazardous for your health since they contain large amounts of corn syrup and other unhealthy ingredients. Given that consumers do not act rationally, it is difficult to persuade them to stop drinking sodas. Therefore, we sought to create healthy sodas sweetened only with natural ingredients from fruit. Currently, we have produced six different flavors: Strawberry-Raspberry, Lemon-Mandarin, Passion Fruit, Sour Sap, Pineapple and Cas. Our product consists of three main ingredients: water, fruits and agave nectar. Agave is a low glycemic sweetener which makes it healthier and superior to sugar, an ingredient that has no nutritive value but rather only a load of calories.
What’s the market potential for your solution?
Our initial projection is to start in the craft market—targeting consumers that are looking for artisan products which are not made in big factories. This includes gourmet healthy restaurants, which are an established trend in Costa Rica, as well as upscale supermarkets and convenience stores where discerning consumers look for products of this type. Additionally, we will also be targeting school cafeterias in which soft drinks are generally banned in order to give an alternative for young people which would create visibility for our product and establish our name amongst key future consumers.
This is not a particular phenomenon of Costa Rica. The feedback I received from judges and participants that I met in the Diamond Challenge, expressed an international dimension that would have to be tested in the near future with an international survey. This product is globally appealing, since I have received support and positive reviews from India, Tunisia, Nicaragua and the United States.
Who are your customers?
Fresquiticos is a B2C (Business-to-consumer) company, which is aimed for people who like sodas, but detest the unhealthiness of some ingredients. Alongside, it will be devoted to people who like consuming natural juices and craft products.
We will sell through the distribution in different places. For example, we want to start distributing to upscale supermarkets and convenience stores first. Then, we want to distribute to school cafeterias. Since most sodas are banned from school, Fresquiticos will get a special position in school markets.
One year ago, I made a survey to 127 people, ranging from ages of 13-65. It was interesting to see that 60% of the surveyed had never consumed a naturally flavored soda before because of their unavailability in the market. Therefore, I asked people if they would drink naturally flavored sodas and 77,42% of people surveyed said they would. This means that many people, from all ages, would consume our product.
How will you reach your customers?
One of the main goals is boosting national identity and being able to call people who admires our country’s culture. Moreover, our product’s marketing and branding will be focused on the “Tico” culture. We will use Costa Rican flavors in the sodas and use Costa Rican phrases in the labels, that will create a relatable product for the everyday Costa Rican citizen. Costa Rica’s touristic branding is “Costa Rica—no artificial ingredients”, which is another main idea we will try to promote.
How will you make money?
Our main business model is the long-tail approach. As seen in past questions, we selected a niche market (craft soda) that serves the community in a way that mass companies cannot. The idea is that as this niche grows into a much larger one, our business model can expand into a high volume business.
In addition to this, “Fresquiticos” is a social venture, that tries to help the Costa Rican community while selling the sodas. The following are the different ways in which “Fresquiticos” helps the community:
• Applying the Multiplier Effect: By hiring unemployed people and buying fruits from local farmers, we are helping an underdeveloped region in Costa Rica.
• Tackling environmental issues: One of main goals of “Fresquiticos” is to provide an alternative solution to plastic bottles and effective energy production methods.
• Promoting education in youth: 10% of our profits gained from the sodas will be used to directly subsidise projects that promote education in Costa Rica.
What kind of partners will you need to make, support and distribute your solution?
Strategic marketing partners: They would help get our product known, especially since it is a new one. Successful marketing seems to be one of the keys to success of a business. Therefore, it is essential to find an effective marketing partner for these means.
Strategic financial partners: Accountants, bankers, investors or financial advisors that will help monitor the flow of income in Fresquiticos.
Technology partners: They would help to oversee Fresquiticos is using the latest technology in the most productive way.
Manufacturing partners: They will help with the actual manufacturing process of the sodas, to ensure that the product is both safe and delicious for the consumer.
Food technology partners: They will help us with all the permits needed to launch a product in Costa Rica and make sure that we are selling a wholesome product without any biological, chemical or physical damages.
What will your expenses include?
There has to be an initial investment of $10,500 to get all of the equipment needed. Right now, we have raised $6,500 gained by the Diamond Challenge, but we are still missing some funding to start producing and distributing. On the first year, 185,000 sodas will be sold at a price of $1 and we will make $83,700 in profit.
The second year, we will seek an investment to build our factory for us to bottle the sodas to lower the costs of production as much as possible. We will be investing all of the profits in the factory. Additionally, we will produce approximately 1,000,000 sodas in a year.
On the third year, we want to invest in sustainability by making our packaging ecofriendly and buying solar panels to utilize only renewable energy produced by us. We will then evaluate the possibility of expanding to other areas of Costa Rica and continue producing healthy beverages that benefit the people of our country, as well as consider the possibility of exporting our beverages.
Who is your competition and how do you differ?
Our main goal by launching this innovative product is to change the perspective of sodas in the market. Sodas are seen as unhealthy drinks and are usually packed in plastic bottles, which pollute the environment. Fresquiticos offers a variety of healthy drinks that are naturally sweetened by agave nectar and are packed in reusable glass containers. We do not have direct competition, like the one that exists between Pepsi and Coca Cola. However, at the same time these large soda companies will present a challenge because people might choose their product over ours, but, this is the perspective we need to change. In other words, the carbonated drinks that are already in the market are our indirect competition because they are in the same market, but our product is totally different. We believe that by making this drink artisanal and a reflection of our national identity we will motivate and encourage people to choose us over our competitors.