‘Beyond calorie calculation’: GoliSoda banks on ‘ancient wisdom’ and product diversification for 250% growth

By Pearly Neo contact

- Last updated on GMT

Indian beverage start-up GoliSoda is targeting 250% growth this year, and is banking on its ‘ancient wisdom’-inspired drink range, as well as diversification of its product portfolio to include traditional desserts for success. ©GoliSoda
Indian beverage start-up GoliSoda is targeting 250% growth this year, and is banking on its ‘ancient wisdom’-inspired drink range, as well as diversification of its product portfolio to include traditional desserts for success. ©GoliSoda

Related tags: India, soda, Dessert

Indian beverage start-up GoliSoda is targeting 250% growth this year, and is banking on its ‘ancient wisdom’-inspired drink range, as well as diversification of its product portfolio to include traditional desserts for success.

GoliSoda is based in the South Indian city of Hyderabad, and its portfolio currently mainly consists of ethnic beverages with an emphasis on tradition and health.

“GoliSoda manufactures ethnic beverages without adding any preservatives and in the most authentic and original form,”​ the firm’s founder Ravi Teja told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“Our main inspiration lies in ancient Indian wisdom, which is enormously rich around dietetics and nutrition. It has stood the test of time, goes beyond calorie calculation.

“It is one of the most comprehensive wisdom materials ever, even more so than Western dietary understanding, has limitations in understanding the breadth and depth.”

Citing coconut water as an example, Teja explained that the firm also avoids modern processing methods, which are ‘harsh’ on food and beverage products.

“Conventionally today, [beverage] companies add preservatives or pasteurise their products etc. These are harsh methods - you cannot retain the goodness of the products this way. The taste, nutrition, good bacteria - everything is damaged,” ​he said.

“We have figured a method that requires very minimal processing, such that our products stay intact.”

At present, GoliSoda’s beverage portfolio comprises of coconut water, sugar cane juice, nannari (Indian sarsaparilla) sherbet, spiced buttermilk, Arabian pulpy grape juice, panakam (herbal cooling drink) and kokum jeera (Garcinia Indica with cumin) sherbet.

The firm expanded to include traditional desserts earlier this year, which will cover items such as paayasam/kheer (pudding) and ariselu (rice-based sweet snack). Major ingredients to be used will include milk as well as ‘indigenous bases’ like rice, semiya (vermicelli), and coconut.

“Ethnic desserts come with [lots of] goodness. They are nutritious, have withstood the test of time, and [have been] proven to be [a] base for health and joy for centuries. [To enhance the nutrition aspect], we have also replaced sugar in these with jaggery (unrefined cane/date palm sugar),”​ added Teja.

“We sell these through our cloud stores, as well as B2B to restaurants. [Unlike] the new age western foods like ice-cream, [there] are no empty calories in these foods.”

Ethnic health

Health and nutrition are very important guiding factors for GoliSoda, and Tevi claims that ethnic drinks have a clear edge over ‘modern day’ ones.

“Modern day drinks are kind of extreme – [For example,] you have heavy carbonated and sugary drinks or milk shakes which are not healthy, and I’m not just talking about the sugar but also the empty calories,”​ he said.

“Ethnic drinks, on the other hand, have great health additions to them. For instance, Nannari sherbets or coconut water have a bit of sugar but also come with loads of nutrition and goodness, like being summer coolants.

“Our unique selling point is to be absolutely ethnic and include no preservatives. So far, our traction clearly indicates the latent demand for such products, and [we are confident that we] will stand out with this.”

Further expansion

Such is the firm’s confidence in its products that it has announced a 250% growth target in 2020 over its 2019 revenue of INR50mn (US$711,000), which would bring it to some INR125mn (US$1.8mn).

“GoliSoda launched cloud stores in Bangalore last year to drive revenue growth and maximize ROI, [and in 2020] we have tapped into premium wedding events to further expand consumption volumes in the ethnic drinks market [and] have also ventured into catering for other restaurants to solve the gap -lack of good beverage menu.,” ​said Tevi.

The firm recently also established a new production facility to increase its production capacity to 25,000 bottles daily, so as to cope with growing local demand.

“We have some new product developments in the pipeline – for example, we are currently working on an age-old drink from rural parts of Tamil Nadu in India,”​ he added.

GoliSoda is currently only available in India, with no concrete plans to develop overseas just yet.

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