When Aditi Somani Satnaliwala returned home after completing her undergraduate course at the University of Warwick, England in 2013, the only thing she missed during her time abroad was her flavored morning coffee.
âA good cup of coffee is so important to me and it was so accessible while studying abroad. In India, flavored coffees were not readily available. Even if it was, an ordinary person couldn’t afford to have it every day because of the prices, âsaid Aditi. Your story.
She then started to contact a few suppliers in the UK, who would let her become the supplier of their flavored coffee. âBut it didn’t work. Many did not trust me due to the lack of experience in importing and exporting, âshe said.
Aditi resorted to experimentation adding flavors such as caramel and coconut to her instant coffees, and this is where the wheels for Country bean started rolling.
Launched in 2017, the Kolkata-based brand offers coffee flavors like caramel, hazelnut and coconut. Recently, the startup has added more flavors like cocoa mint, berries, and cardamom to its portfolio.
Country Bean kernel flavors vanilla, caramel and hazelnut
âSome variations, including caramel and vanilla, are our permanent flavors. But we experiment a lot with different flavors during the holidays and other seasons of the year. Last year, during the monsoon, we launched the cardamom flavored coffee, and our customers liked it so much that we ended up putting it on our permanent menu, âsays Aditi.
After nearly a year of launching, Aditi’s husband, Aneesh Satnaliwala, former Goldman Sachs investment banking analyst and founder of several startups, joined the Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) coffee brand as co -founder.
The startup makes nearly 90% of its sales through online channels, including its own website, and e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart, among others. The remaining 10 percent comes from sales through retail channels such as Future Group’s Foodhall delicatessen.
Country Bean claims to have seen 200% growth in activity from pre-pandemic levels, with its customer base reaching 2.5 lakh to date of 50,000 customers in the early days of the business. However, the bootstrap startup has not disclosed how much has been invested in the business so far.
Growth during the pandemic
The pandemic has been extremely beneficial for D2C brands as a whole. Locked-in consumers had no choice but to shop through online channels, making it easier to find new brands.
Industry leaders saw their results improve, including cosmetics brand D2C Sugar, which recorded its highest sales in November 2020, and D2C baby and mother care brand MamaEarth, which reached a valuation of 300 million dollars after reaching a turnover of Rs 700 crore.
Another Kolkata-based D2C skin care brand, Dot and Key, launched in 2018, has grown 30 times faster in the last three years of business.
Country Bean has also seen its repeat purchases reach 25% during the pandemic, and the average order value reaching between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
The brand has already started to expand its offering with Hazelnut Latte and Dalgona spreads, as well as coffee accessories like a milk frother and coffee cups.
Country Bean Milk Frother
The market and the competition
According to Statistical, the Indian coffee and tea market rose to Rs 420 billion in 2017, against approximately Rs 252 billion in 2013.
Country Bean’s proposition may be unique, but the brand operates in a space where competition continues to grow.
The flavored coffee brand faces competition not only from Sleepy Owl, backed by Rukam Capital, Slay Coffee, backed by Fireside Ventures and Blue Tokai Coffee Roosters, but also the FMCG giants.
To capitalize on the increase in online shopping of niche brands, Tata Consumer Pvt. Ltd. last year launched a premium coffee brand called Tata Sonnets for high-income consumers.
While Aditi says it doesn’t take too much pressure to maintain strict product launch goals, the brand continues to work on five to six products at a time and aims to launch two to three products each quarter, with three to four potential products still in the pipeline. Currently, the brand is working on a few products, including coffee flavors and spreads to be launched in the coming quarters.
The only way Country Bean can stay ahead of this crowded market is to keep its offerings fresh and unique.