The company is also launching its first round of investment to propel it to ‘the next level,’ which includes a hard launch this summer. Bella Berry’s co-founder and CEO, Suzannah Baker, tells BeverageDaily that getting the right investors – those with industry know-how – will be crucial for the brand’s further development.
Collagen and beauty drinks
Bella Berry beauty drinks contain natural juice; vitamins C, B complex and zinc; green tea extract, and collagen. It is free from added sugar, preservatives and flavorings.
It comes in the varieties of ‘superfruit’ (pomegranate, blueberry and acai), ‘summer fruit’ (raspberry, apple and pear) and ‘tropical’ (pineapple, lime and mint), in 250ml bottles.
The beverage has been designed to take on a mass market – something you can buy and enjoy like any other drink – "you don’t want to be reminded over lunch that it’s got this percentage this and that, and will increase your skin elasticity," Baker told BeverageDaily as the brand geared up for launch last year (you can read more about the beverage itself in full here).
But explaining the beverage to the mass market has been one of the biggest tasks over the last 10 months since the brand’s soft launch, said Baker.
“We have been creating a new category, so there has been a huge amount of explaining to do with customers and retailers – and we are only at the start of that journey,” she said.
“Leaders in adjacent pharmaceutical categories – in particular the fabulous Gold Collagen [a 50ml shot] – have been investing a lot to open consumers up to collagen and beauty drinks, and so we have benefited from that.
“The category is actually one of the fastest growing globally, albeit from a low base in Europe, and we remain uniquely positioned.”
Baker says the drink has flown off the shelves in the right retailers – but the brand has had to learn who these retailers are.
“Whole Foods and Ocado have seen fantastic sales rates, and have consistently positive reviews on the drink,” she said. “It has also been interesting to see the emergence of Amazon and other e-sites growing as a portion of the sales.
“We haven’t sold well in very small convenience stores where Bella Berry is one of the most expensive drinks on the shelf, and the customer base isn’t too engaged in finding out about functional benefits.”
International markets are also key for Bella Berry, given an increased awareness in the category in markets such as Asia.
“We have listed with international markets – this is not typical for a company at our stage but in the case of nutraceuticals and beauty drinks, Asia, the Middle East and Nordic countries (where we are sold) are much more advanced than the UK,” said Baker.
Industry insiders crucial to a growing brand
The company is now gathering investors and has already gained support from some cornerstone individuals who are familiar with the drinks and nutraceutical industries.
And Baker says it’s this industry expertise that becomes even more important to a brand as it grows.
It has gained a slot in the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), which offers tax breaks to investors, in return for investment in a qualifying UK start-up.
“We want industry insiders as our investors – getting money is relatively easy given the SEIS scheme, which means only around 30% of any investment is at risk, and profits are tax free,” said Baker.
“But I want to bring people in who can bring advice and connections and add value to the business, to help us get to the next level.”