China Food

Dialogue with fino founder Zhang Kai: “it’s more important in the refrigerator than in the circle of friends”

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good drinking is the core of retaining consumers.
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Text: cbndata

Source: first financial business data center (ID: cbndata)

 
The raw coconut latte, which “sold well” this summer, was photographed by netizens that the raw material used by the barista was fino thick coconut milk, so it brought fire to fino, the coconut milk supplier behind it. Previously, the sales volume of unknown fino soared. This year, tmall’s double 11 increased by 482% year-on-year, ranking first in the sales category of domestic plant protein drinks. It also squeezed into the current four categories of all drinks, second only to nongnongshan spring, Yuanqi forest and oatly.
Fino thick coconut milk
Although fino’s unexpected popularity is very much like a well planned event marketing, the brand attributes it to the long-term layout of the upstream supply chain in the past and the favorable timing and location. In fact, fino’s attitude towards traffic is very vigilant. Zhang Kai, founder of fino, told cbndata: “good food and beverage brands should lie in consumers’ refrigerators and cabinets all year round, not in the circle of friends.”
Six years ago, Zhang Kai, who was engaged in the outdoor products industry, noticed that vegetable milk, which was popular in Europe and America under the concept of “health and environmental protection”, was missing in the development of the domestic market. Among the four vegetable milk raw materials of beans, Cereals, nuts and coconut, only coconut can be made into vegetable milk with coconut water and coconut meat without adding water. Seeing such an opportunity, Zhang Kai turned to the coconut based plant protein track and cut into the market with a coconut jelly.
In 2018, this coconut jelly became a popular online model in the family convenience store, which means that fino’s layout in production capacity is maturing. “One coconut jelly needs coconut raw materials equivalent to 10 bottles of coconut milk,” Zhang Kai said. “The production of coconut jelly can better help us find out the raw materials behind and the whole supply chain system.”
Fino coconut jelly
In 2020, fino innovated and developed thick coconut milk products to enter the b-end channel as coffee blending. After becoming popular on social media this year, fino quickly launched thick coconut milk in mini packaging for the needs of C-end consumers. At the same time, the domestic vegetable milk market as a whole also ushered in a new outlet. Cbndata data showed that the growth rate of online consumption of vegetable milk exceeded 300% last year.
In this issue of “several young families”, we talked with fino founder Zhang Kai about our insight into the coconut based vegetable milk market and fino’s brand growth strategy and layout.
The following are some interviews:
How does “coconut milk” occupy the mind?
Use coffee blending as the connection point
Cbndata: the thick coconut milk launched by fino actually creates a new category. What insight do you have into the market behind this? And how does fino realize consumers’ category cognition?
Fino Zhang Kai: new scenes + new products can give birth to new categories.
As a classic fruit, the taste of coconut is based on the masses. Everyone is too familiar with coconut milk. In this case, tell consumers that this is a new thing called coconut milk, which consumers may not fully accept.
Therefore, we use “thick coconut milk” as the milk base of coffee and milk tea to enter the blending market through the b-end. The decision logic of buying coffee comes first, and the coconut latte that chooses coconut milk instead of milk comes later. Let’s find that the coffee milk tea mixed with fino thick coconut milk is better than milk, and it also has the taste of coconut fragrance, which is plant-based. In this way, there is a foundation for the coconut milk category to break through the inherent cognition.
Fino thick coconut milk Mini packaging
Cbndata: the emergence of fino thick coconut milk has rapidly improved the brand’s popularity, but the sustainable growth of the brand is a long-term battle. What do you think is the difficulty in the continuous manufacture of popular brands and how to solve it?
Fino Zhang Kai: the prerequisite for becoming a brand is to stand the test of time. The long-term operation is right, but the core of long-term operation is to become a classic, not to innovate and explode.
Good food and beverage brands should lie in consumers’ refrigerators and cabinets all year round, not in the circle of friends. Repurchase is the key. Whether in terms of production and supply chain ports or brand ports, what we continue to solve is to provide better and classic products. The core of retaining consumers and building fino’s brand is that the products are “delicious and inexpensive”.
Cbndata: is the business model of both B and C ends planned or the strategic adjustment after the popularity of thick coconut milk? What are the differences in the focus of different channels?
Fino Zhang Kai: we planned this from the beginning. Coffee and tea are also one of the scenes to meet consumers.
B-end focuses on products and services, and b-end has higher requirements. Large enterprises have higher standards for cooperative enterprises than national standards. For b-end customers, we will carry out differentiated product customization, and we must meet the highest and latest needs of industry partners.
The C-end focuses on products and communication. In the face of consumer demand and feedback, we improve the taste of products and adjust the structure of products. By using the joint force of B and C ends, merging and parallel, we can finally achieve product upgrading.
Facing the C-end consumers, in addition to the thick coconut milk as a beverage, next year we will launch five or six fino coconut milk series products to meet the demand of the direct drinking market.
The end of vegetable milk competition
It is a contest between raw materials and R & D
Cbndata: unlike many new consumer brands that focus on marketing, fino is very vigilant about traffic even after becoming popular, and the proportion of investment in marketing is also low. What are the considerations behind this?
Fino Zhang Kai: maybe many people really don’t understand why fino doesn’t launch on a large scale, but we don’t think the flow is bad. Just buying the flow now has no decisive benefit to the brand growth. Using the flow well is not fino’s current winner or loser.
The current consumer industry is oversupplied. If you buy traffic today and don’t buy it tomorrow, consumers will leave.. Flow is just a window, which allows more people to see you, but the core is whether to stay for you after seeing you. Therefore, what we care more about is that there are good products, which can withstand repeated deliberation and deserve consumers’ recognition and repurchase. Delivery is also very expensive. It’s better to return the money to consumers.
In terms of objective laws, the development of all things, “stability” is more important than sudden outbreak.
Cbndata: we have learned that fino manages exclusive coconut forests covering an area of 38000 mu in Hainan, Vietnam, Thailand and other places, and has two own factories and six strategic cooperation factories. When did fino start to layout its own raw material producing areas and factories? Why do you choose to invest so much in the supply chain?
Fino Zhang Kai: in fact, fino has been laying out raw materials and factories since 2015, because we believe that the final fight of vegetable milk is raw materials and R & D. coconut milk belongs to raw material products, and good raw materials can make good products. Just as milk needs to pay attention to the milk source, the root of plant milk also lies in raw materials. Coconut is the root of our coconut based plant milk. In the long run, we have to do a good job in the supply chain and raw materials sooner or later. Therefore, when we started this project, we took the supply chain and factory R & D as our core strategic components.
Source: visual China
The future of coconut based vegetable milk
Go hand in hand with milk
Cbndata: in addition to focusing on thick coconut milk prepared by coffee and tea, from fino’s experience, what new opportunities do you think there are in the coconut based vegetable milk market with consumption upgrading?
Fino Zhang Kai: before the launch of fino thick coconut milk, there were mainly two kinds of coconut products: one was beverages such as coconut milk, and the other was ingredients made of coconut as raw materials, such as coconut fruit and coconut milk.
The picture shows the raw materials of coconut milk, coconut milk and thick coconut milk
With the emergence of thick coconut milk in the coffee and tea scene this year, coconut milk has become a substitute for milk. The data of many coffee and tea customers show that the consumption of coconut milk has exceeded that of milk.
In the future, milk can be used as products, and vegetable milk can also be used. This product range is very wide. For example, milk fermentation includes yogurt and cheese, and vegetable milk can also have yogurt. However, the nutritional components of the two are different and can complement each other in the future, which is similar to meat and vegetable matching. Therefore, the category of vegetable milk will be continuously expanded according to the different needs of consumers.
Cbndata: what direction will fino focus on and what will be the specific layout?
Fino Zhang Kai: we will focus on raw materials, R & D and brand.
At the raw material supply chain port, we will increase investment in Indonesia and Hainan based on the current coconut forest and factories, and further improve the output and taste stability of raw materials through standardized process management.
At the level of product R & D, expand tastes and categories, such as fino yogurt with yogurt series, fino lactic acid bacteria, etc.
In terms of brand building, through R & D and supply chain development, fino will occupy the brand position in coconut based plant dairy products, and build fino into a valuable domestic plant milk brand.
Fino thick coconut milk
CBN data: does fino position itself as a new consumer brand? What do you think of the many cutting-edge brands launched in the past two years.
Fino Zhang Kai: I think the new and the old are relative. Now many things are too labeled, and the new will become the old sooner or later. We think there is no “new” brand. As mentioned earlier, only those that have passed the test of time are called brands.
Therefore, fino pays more attention to creating value for consumers and society with products: how to provide consumers with a plant-based product that is really worth his liking and re purchase, how to create a new category, provide more choices for human nutrition acquisition, and provide more responsibilities and obligations for human health and social environment that we can practice. In this way, we feel that fino’s mission has been achieved. We don’t want to prove whether it is new, but it is beneficial to consumers and society, which is what we have to do and improve all the time.
Original title: dialogue with fino founder Zhang Kai: “it’s more important in the refrigerator than in the circle of friends” | there are several young families
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