A baby’s formative years shape habits that will last a lifetime and at just one year old babies are still at high-risk of infection. However, after breast milk, there are few ways in which babies can receive the right nutrients to stay healthy.
Parents Lucie and Derek created Nurture Fruity Water+ as a solution to this challenge, filling a gap in a market that is increasingly rejecting existing sugary drinks in favour of healthier alternatives.
The total value of the UK baby food juice categories was £260m in 2015, and in a major international survey 88% of respondents were interested in food or beverages with immune health benefits. Nurture is the first mover in the children’s healthy drinks category.
Nurture’s drinks have added nutrients to support immunity, and lower naturally occurring sugars, allowing it to exceed the School Standards Government Guidelines. Voted the best children’s drink at the World Beverage Innovation Awards 2014, the company has already established deals with Tesco, easyJet, Ocado, Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods Market and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Natural Immune Products has a team of world-class directors and investors with a track record of successful investments and has established a dedicated supply line with vetted strategic partners. It is seeking additional funding so it is able to fulfil existing customer orders. The company is shortly commencing a 4 week ‘sample with purchase’ promotion in conjunction with Little Dish – an established children’s food brand – at Ocado.
Nurture offers a unique healthier drink for children from 1 year upwards. It has an exceptionally low – naturally occurring – sugar content and added nutrients to support immunity. With just 4.3g of sugar per 100ml (less than a teaspoon) it is the lowest sugar 100% natural juice drink in the market for children.
The company already has 15 product listings set for 2016. Listing locations include Ocado, Whole Foods Market, London & Whipsnade Zoos and the Great Ormond Street Hospital, as well as locations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland. Nutritionists at Great Ormond Street Hospital are so keen on Nurture’s drinks they have expressed interest in including the drinks on their patient menus. Further interest has been secured from distributors in China and South Africa.
Listings in grocery and pharma multiples will target the baby food and drinks aisle where sales of premium priced pouches flourish, as well as ‘Grab & Go’ chillers, in-transit retail, family leisure locations, education and health specific locations.
Managing Director Derek Sanders believes he has developed a unique strategy to establish contact with notoriously hard to reach buyers. All major multiples have an in-house nutritionist. Derek established a rapport with the nutritionists at Boots and NutriCentre (Tesco) and requested their review of the new Nurture pack copy, EU health claims, and product specifications. Not only did they complete positive reviews, they also proactively recommended Nurture to the applicable buyer, which in the case of Boots resulted in an immediate meeting request to discuss a listing. This route to buyer through nutritionist will be replicated with the applicable buyers for targeted multiples, with Waitrose and Sainsbury’s the next to be approached.
Since rebranding to Nurture and cutting the sugar level of its products further, the company is well on its way to reaching its short term objective of confirming a total of 20 listings in the UK and in export markets by the end of February 2016.
Nurture has confirmed listings for 2016 from 7 companies in the UK, including Ocado, Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods Market and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Buyers who have requested samples and expressed interest to list the new Nurture range include Boots, NutriCentre (Tesco), Co-op, Costco, easyJet (all flights from June 2016), London & Whipsnade Zoos, and 5 UK wholesalers. The nutritionist at Great Ormond Street Hospital is so interested in Nurture drinks, they are looking into whether it would fit in with the hospital menu requirements for patients.
Non-exclusive listings of the new Nurture range have been confirmed with 9 export distributors in the Czech republic, Slovakia, Poland and China, and discussions are continuing with several others including Waitrose in Dubai. This positive traction has caught the attention of leading global distributor of British brands Tudor Rose, and discussions for Tudor Rose to grow the Nurture brand in targeted markets have commenced.
A 200ml pouch of Nurture is retailed at 99p to £1.49 (£1.80 on easyJet), which offers strong margins that will enable significant in-store promotions to drive sales volume.
Key attributes of Nurture Fruity Water+:
» Delicious natural fruit flavours with a fraction of the naturally occurring sugars (4.3g/100ml) found in 100% juice and smoothies.
» Enriched with 7 vitamins, beta glucans, calcium, and zinc proven to support children’s immunity.
» School Approved (45% juice & 55% water with no added nonsense): meets and well exceeds School Standards Government Guidelines.
» UK’s first mess-free pouch for on-the-go convenience.
Protecting Market Share
Nurture is a first mover in the children’s healthy drinks category, and currently does not have any like-for-like direct competitors, as there are no other drinks specifically created for children from 1 year upwards, or drinks packed in mess-free pouches.
Natural Immune Products has engaged leading intellectual property experts Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP who are developing a bespoke international trademark strategy. Applications have been filed to protect Trade Mark of NURTURE and FIRSTY (which has been granted) and Nurture IP in all markets where Nurture is active.
Sales and Marketing
Nurture Target Audience:
» Bull’s eye: first-time mothers with children 1 – 3 years old
» Core: mothers of children between 1 – 5 years old
» Broad: parents, grandparents, and people caring for children 1 – 5 years old
During Nurture’s first 18 months on the market c.375,000 Nurture pitches were produced, c.330,000 were sold, and c.45,000 were sampled. During this market trial the company learned the following key proof of market insights that it believes will improve its offering, and have integrated these into their new range.
» Improve recipes by reducing naturally occurring sugar content, without having a negative impact on flavours
» Improve pouch spout to make it easier to drink from, whilst keeping the pouch mess-free
» Create engaging and endearing pack designs which will resonate with mums and children
It is intended that new Nurture customers will include the demographic of customers purchasing:
» Healthy children’s drinks with significantly lower naturally occurring sugar
than 100% juice and smoothies
» Baby juice brands for infants from 4 months to 1 year, from when they reach 1 year
» Ella’s Kitchen and other fruit purees in pouches sold in the baby aisle
» Leading healthier children’s meals and snacks brands that compliment Nurture such as Little Dish,
Organix, Goodies, and Bear Nibbles
» Innocent Fruity Water for kids (50% juice/50% water) sold in the juice chiller
Sales channels Nurture is targeting:
» Grocery and pharma multiples – baby aisle and grab and go chillers with strong
sales of premium priced pouches
» Travel and in-transit retail and food service
» Tamily leisure locations
» Education specific locations
» Health specific locations
Marketing & Communications Strategy
Fully IP protected Nurture branding – with bespoke brand guidelines – has been created, and an expertise-led team of professionals has been established to take responsibility for Nurture’s marketing and communications. Managing Director Derek Sanders will lead up brand strategy and the development of Nurture marketing and communications alongside new Creative Director Ilija Smiljanic. Derek and Ilija will work closely with Springetts Design Director Lou Elms, Nucco Brain MD Stefano Marrone, Rock PR MD David Clarke, and the Nurture team at Social Network Solutions and The Blogger Programme.
Affinity, discovery, and content sharing are the core elements of the Nurture marketing and communications strategy. Nurture marketing and communications should always work to enable the company’s target audience to discover Nurture Fruity Water+, and provide them with Nurture content (key brand attributes and marketing collateral in development outlined below) that they will want to organically share with other target audience Mums.
Nurture has recently rebranded to create engaging pack designs which feature an endearing mother elephant nurturing her calf, which it has trademarked Firsty™. This is being rolled out to its new website and new social media for marketing. Nurture is also producing animated newsletters, email campaigns and audio/video campaigns and has plans to add extra key brand collateral in the form of a trunk-to-tail mobile, head-to-toe Nurture growth chart, birthday kit with party invitations, goody bags and Firsty™ plushy.
Nurture is actively developing industry-standard communications for children’s food and drink attributes. Two of the most important Nurture brand attributes are that is school approved, and that Nurture has “No Added Sugar” and “Only Naturally Occurring Sugar From Fruit”. There are no existing approved logos for these attributes, and different children’s brands are use different approaches to communicate them as they become increasingly more important for target consumers. Co-founders Lucie and Derek Sanders are working closely with Creative Director Ilija Smijanic to create bespoke logos that clearly and succinctly communicate these product attributes, trademark them, and offer their usage to other brands with the intention of developing them into de facto industry standard communications.
The new Nurture multilingual website communicating the new brand design and recipe is scheduled to be completed (along with re-designed social media handles) by mid-February 2016.
Nurture currently has a total of 13,000+ followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and an active database of 10,000+ consumers that have opted in to receive the brand’s bi-monthly e-newsletter.
Nurture has a number of strategic partnerships.
Nurture co-founder Derek Sanders was recently approached by the founders of Little Dish, a leading children’s food brand providing healthy ready-made meals for the same age range that Nurture’s products target, to explore strategic partnership initiatives. The first confirmed initiative is a 4 week ‘sample with purchase’ promo at Ocado. Consumers will receive a free Nurture with every purchase of Little Dish, and when the customer subsequently shops on Ocado, Nurture will automatically appear on their shopping list.
There is an opportunity to replicate this promo with other major UK multiples where Little Dish is already listed.
Doehler is a global leader in drinks and is completing Nurture new product development at no charge, as well as providing preferential ingredients supply and invoicing.
Springetts is a world class design agency that is working with Nurture, providing brand design and development services in return for equity.
Nucco Brain is a leading creator of animated videos, and will work closely with Ilija Smiljanic and Springetts to create bespoke Nurture animated videos to communicate with consumers (mums and children), as well as trade to catch buyer interest and help secure listings.
An exit is anticipated to commence in 2019/2020 through sale to a major producer, food company, or distributor with a minimum valuation of 3-4x annual sales i.e. c.£12-16m.
Examples of comparable sales include Innocent to Coca-Cola, Glaceau Vitamin Water to Coca-Cola, and Ella’s Kitchen to Hain Celestial.
Market and Industry
Natural Immune Products operates in the children’s drinks market, specifically targeting children aged between one and five. The market for baby food and baby juice in the UK was £260m in 2015, while the total value of the UK pure juice market stood at £1.2bn in 2013. Both the pure juice market and the smoothie market declined in 2013 by 1.9% and 4% respectively. The reason: there has been a growing awareness of the amount of sugar and calories in these drinks meaning they are no longer perceived to be as healthy as they once were.
During the same period, the ‘Water Plus’ category has grown year on year by 7.7% according to the Britvic Review 2013. But these drinks are still first and foremost aimed at adults.
The results of a major international survey carried out by Data Monitor in 20 Countries in 2012 found that 88% of respondents were interested in food or beverages with immune health benefits, but only 40% actively bought them. This indicates the size of the potential market that Nurture intends to tap into.
Children’s immune systems are less developed than adults’ and more at risk infection the younger their age. According to Social Network Solutions, 87% of parents are concerned about their child’s immunity.
As a result, the industry has been moving towards offering healthier drinks options, with no added sugar or lower naturally occurring sugar content. Furthermore, the need for on-the-go convenience is making pouch packaging more prevalent.
The market leaders in both the soft drink and pure juice categories are Tropicana and Innocent, whose products are not suitable for very young children due to the high levels of sugar they contain. While both companies have recently brought out ranges that include added ingredients to support immunity, these are still aimed at adults. The market for one to five year olds is severely underserved and there are currently no other convenience childrens drinks with added nutrients available.