Bringing immunity to the boil: India’s Avid Nutrilabs gears up for functional coffee exports

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

JOMO’s coffee are formulated with low fat milk, low GI herbal sugar, stevia, various vitamins, and functional ingredients like Wellmune yeast beta-glucan for the immunity function and KSM-66 ashwagandha for the anti-stress function ©Avid Nutrilabs
JOMO’s coffee are formulated with low fat milk, low GI herbal sugar, stevia, various vitamins, and functional ingredients like Wellmune yeast beta-glucan for the immunity function and KSM-66 ashwagandha for the anti-stress function ©Avid Nutrilabs

Related tags: India, Immunity, Coffee

Indian start-up Avid Nutrilabs is forecasting sales of its functional coffee, which contains Kerry’s Wellmune ingredient, to grow by 10 times as it gears up to distribute products overseas.

Marketed under the JOMO brand, the range of functional instant coffee products are targeted at immunity and stress concerns.

First launched in India in April, sales of JOMO reached 2,000 boxes (24,000 sachets) within six months.

With coffee being the most popular drink worldwide, with two billion cups are consumed daily,

the firm is hoping to launch JOMO into Singapore, US and UAE next year, after receiving positive feedback from a pilot launch in these markets.

Combining domestic and export sales, Avid Nutrilabs’ chief scientific officer Akshay T Mutt is optimistic that sales will increase by 10 times next year.

Why coffee

The firm was founded in 2020, and now has three brands; Fitletic (sports drinks), Yosvita (a nutritional shake for children and adults) and JOMO.

Mutt said the firm was motivated to launch a functional coffee brand due to limited innovation in this category.

In India, there are many products coming up with immune health claims from supplements, beverages and tea, but there was not much developments around a better-for-you, convenient coffee that can increase immunity​.”

Although India is historically a tea-drinking country, consumers are increasingly attracted to coffee for its convenience and health benefits.

The quick and easy preparation in a short span of time is the crucial aspect of the rise in the market of instant coffee as well as its rich in antioxidant content​.

This product (JOMO) is catered to the urban population where these consumers strive to live healthier lifestyles, and demand for healthier options. With people confined to their homes and spending most part of the day in front of their computers, they prefer more instant and convenient coffee​.”

Immunity impact

JOMO’s coffee are formulated with low fat milk, low GI herbal sugar, stevia, various vitamins, and functional ingredients like Wellmune yeast beta-glucan for the immunity function and KSM-66 ashwagandha for the anti-stress function.

These functional ingredients have been clinically proven to strengthen immune system, and relieve stress and anxiety.

For the Yosvita brand, its nutritional shakes also incorporate Wellmune. Mutt said: “It's easy to incorporate it (Wellmune) in food and beverages because of its clean taste​.”

According to Wellmune’s producer, Kerry, it is working on formulating Wellmune into bullet proof coffee powder in Malaysia.

He highlighted how consumers awareness for immunity-related products is growing, but most people still tend to look for popular ingredients like vitamin C, D, propolis or zinc.

The coffee is sourced from the Arakku Valley in India, a region known for its sustainably grown coffee.

Mutt said there are plans to plan the functional coffee range, as well as explore the RTD coffee market, a nascent but promising market in India.

We also hope to go into RTD beverages, creating products antioxidants claims, and no sugar. People are generally aware of antioxidants, and associate them with immune and skin health so it is a good area to explore​.”

In India, JOMO’s products are available on its e-commerce store, Amazon, Flipkart, Big Basket, 1mg, Swiggy and it hopes to expand into online health stores.

Immune support is now the most important reason for buying healthy lifestyle products in India. According to Kerry’s Global 2021 Consumer Research, 50% Indian consumers say they would purchase products that have health benefits explained on the packaging and 43% refer to science backed claims on the product. This shows that using science backed ingredients and transparency encourages purchase of healthy lifestyle products.

Because ingredient transparency is key, JOMO’s immunity coffee comes with a QR code where users can scan to read more about Wellmune and its health benefits, according to Aanchal A Kumar, applied health and nutrition business development manager at Kerry.

Beverages and snacks are the most frequently bought categories during grocery shopping and present an opportunity for manufacturers to introduce health enhancing ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, probiotics as well as familiar kitchen ingredients like honey, ginger, and turmeric, which have a strong association with immune health benefits. Pairing these with science-backed ingredients in beverage and snacks offer the most potential in the immune space in India​,” said Kumar.

Kerry’s collaboration with Avid NutriLab continues for their upcoming range of functional beverages.

Related topics: Tea and Coffee, Functional Beverages

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