China Food

How far can the bubbles of vitality forest float when going to sea to fight?

 

元气森林,出海应战。

 


元气森林旗下产品一经问世,在国内市场可谓顺风顺水,但近期的几大动作仿佛显露出来,元气森林正在经历一场大危机。
4月1日,元气森林气泡水系列传出或将涨价的消息。目前元气森林回应,涨价只针对经销商的每箱出厂价,终端建议零售价并未调整。同时,“元气森林高管柳甄上任15个月后离职”的消息也在网络上引起广泛讨论。其实之前从三月底开始,网上就多次出现了元气森林正在裁员的消息。
无可否认,元气森林正在面临“产品”和“互联网遗留问题”的双重考验。
move forward , or you ‘ll fall behind,
The troubles of the gas forest are bubbling
Since its debut, Yuanqi forest has always occupied a place in the hearts of domestic consumers. In the view of consumers, Yuanqi forest is a “net red” brand, which benefits from the concept of “making beverage products with the spirit of the Internet” by founder Tang Binsen. Under the guidance of this concept, in terms of products, Yuanqi forest focuses on 0 sugar, 0 fat and 0 card, which not only changes the traditional concept of “bubble water is unhealthy” of consumers, but also embeds health into the hearts of consumers.
In terms of marketing, vitality forest is also at full power. Tang Binsen once said in an interview: we dare to spend 1.8 billion on advertising when our income is 2 billion. With this courage, Yuan Yang invited Zhang Yuqi, Yi Rong Qian Xi, Gu Ailing and other stars to speak for the endorsement. It is also known as the B station on the Internet, and it is called “the band” and “brother brother” and so on. Therefore, this domestic beverage brand, founded in 2016, quickly captured the hearts of consumers by relying on the concept of health and Japanese small and fresh packaging.
 
Recently, Zhongqing online released a ranking list of “top 10 brand influence of cutting-edge dairy products after” 00 “. In terms of product attraction and health that young consumers are most concerned about, Beihai ranch under Yuanqi forest ranks first and third.
On December 20, 2021, in the “global Unicorn list in 2021” released by Hurun Research Institute, Yuanqi forest, which has been established for only five years, ranked ninth in China’s top 10 list, with a valuation of 95 billion yuan. In the beverage industry full of giants, the fledgling vitality forest has quickly become the hottest online popularity, which is beyond the reach of other domestic beverage brands.
 
But even with the preference of consumers, the vigorous forest singing all the way seems to have encountered a bottleneck recently. Even with the continuous doubling of marketing performance before, Tang Binsen still relaxed in an interview at the end of 2021. “It’s OK to ensure an annualized growth of 50% ~ 60% in the next three years – I don’t require two or three times a year.” From Tang Binsen’s goal, he also realized that the development of vitality forest has touched the ceiling of domestic drinks.
 
The distress of the vitality forest has traces to follow. In fact, although it has never relaxed in marketing, it is difficult for Yuanqi forest to maintain its previous growth after it has occupied a considerable market share of the so-called sugar free drinks. Especially after the bubble water wheels of major manufacturers appeared, the bubble water products were reshuffled.
Before 2019, the market share of Yuanqi forest will reach 85%, but after all competitors catch up in 2020, the market share of Yuanqi forest will drop to 50% at most in the second half of 2021. The rising star Coca Cola’s small universe Ahha and nongnongshan spring soda bubble water are about 25% and 18% respectively.
 
In this environment, Yuanqi forest urgently needs to find the next hot money other than bubble water to explore new performance growth points. According to relevant statistics, the products of Yuanqi forest, bubble water and burning tea, account for nearly 90% of the company’s sales, of which the proportion of bubble water is higher than that of burning tea, accounting for nearly 90%.
However, despite its many products, there are few explosive products that can replace bubble water. Yuanqi forest has successively launched dozens of products, including milk tea, yogurt, electrolyte water, mineral water and other subdivided tracks, but the results are not satisfactory. Not only did the popular products fail to appear, but they had to economize on food and clothing because of the loss of R & D expenses.
 
Internal R & D has been frustrated, and the external clamp has not been relaxed at all. The channel is “attacked” by traditional beverage giants such as Coca Cola and nongnongshan spring, and the upstream supply chain is also limited. The reason for the publicity of “0 sugar, 0 fat and 0 card” is that Yuanqi forest found erythritol + sucralose to replace the sweetness of sucrose. However, affected by the shortage of supply, the price of erythritol continued to rise, and the upstream manufacturers directly stopped the supply of erythritol to Yuanqi forest.
As no new supplier was found, the shortage of erythritol directly limited the output of Yuanqi forest, resulting in a loss of nearly 1 billion yuan. Erythritol once brought great benefits to the vitality forest, but now it has become a constraint.
 
The vitality forest, in the case of being unable to fight hard, also used 18 kinds of martial arts to actively “save itself”. First, build factories upstream. In order to prevent giants from getting stuck, Yuanqi forest has completed the layout of five self built factories, which are located in Tang Binsen’s hometown Chuzhou, Anhui, Xiqing, Tianjin, Zhaoqing, Guangdong, Xianning, Hubei and Dujiangyan, Sichuan. It is reported that these five factories can support the production capacity of 11 billion goods.
Second, lay offline sales channels downstream. By increasing the investment and expansion of offline salesmen and rapidly laying intelligent freezers, lucky forest has opened up an exclusive sales line. However, these measures to deal with competitors have made the production cost higher and higher. According to relevant internal personnel, “reducing cost and increasing efficiency” has become the key word of Yuanqi forest.
 
There are no more than two kinds of development for the vitality forest, which is clamped down by capital and attacked by giants. One is to lay out a multi product matrix, and the other is to go to sea strategy to seek more growth curves. In 2020, Tang Binsen, the founder of Yuanqi forest, made bold remarks. In 2021, Yuanqi forest set a sales target of 7.5 billion yuan. This goal is bound to rely on the help of overseas markets for the vigorous forest whose current market share is much lower than before.
Take the initiative,
Vigorous forest goes to sea to fight
In the domestic market, the vigorous forest has long received the attention of overseas giants. Insiders at the middle and senior levels of Coca Cola once confided to the relevant media: “in 2022, there will be no more bubble water from the vitality forest on the market. Both sides of ‘liangle’ have held meetings and made up their minds to bring down the vitality forest.” It is imperative to go abroad and attack overseas.
 
Liu Zhen’s entry is regarded as an important step in the overseas layout of Yuanqi forest. According to previous reports, Liu Zhen has helped many famous enterprises realize overseas business layout. Since joining Yuanqi forest for more than a year, Liu Zhen has been specially responsible for the overseas business of Yuanqi forest. Now Liu Zhen leaves the company after 15 months. It seems that the overseas pace of Yuanqi forest is not going well.
 
Yuanqi forest international business department was established in 2020. Since 2019, Yuanqi forest has begun to gradually layout the overseas market, and there are also special principals for different overseas regions. At present, it has successively entered the mainstream channels of many developed countries. At present, its products have entered more than 40 overseas markets such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.
 
With sufficient preliminary preparations, the first step of Yuanqi forest to attack the overseas market was sonorous and powerful, and two good news came. First, in the middle of December last year, Yuanqi forest’s overseas version of bubble water broke into the top 10 of Amazon’s best-selling list of bubble water in the United States. At the same time, it won the top 3 of the new product list, becoming the first and only Chinese brand to enter the list.
On the other hand, in January this year, the mother of Tesla CEO musk took a group photo with her friends at home. There was a bottle of gas soaked in water on the table. Not only was the group photo itself widely forwarded on social networking sites, causing a lot of discussion, but also Yuanqi forest gained a new round of popularity with the help of the celebrity effect. Vitality forest bubble water, so loud and powerful, broke into American life.
 
For different overseas markets, Yuanqi forest continues to launch new localized products. From the packaging, bubble water is replaced by smaller and exquisite mini aluminum cans. At the same time, the packaging is also more concise. For example, remove the original background after the canned gas soaking sign “気”, and replace the word “burning” of burning tea with a capital “R”, which makes the milk tea more thorough. The cartoon image of the younger sister of Yuanqi forest milk tea is replaced with black and white simple strokes.
In terms of taste, it not only continues the rich types of bubble water taste in China, but also introduces some unique local tastes. For example, the overseas version of “green bamboo aloe” bubble water is not available in China. Yuanqi forest has won the taste buds of Americans with its unique taste. In the eyes of American consumers, Yuanqi forest bubble water has a unique taste, but it is not like the traditional bubble water they recognize, but more like fruit flavored sugar free coke.
 
Yuanqi forest has not limited its attention to the North American market. The Middle East is a market where Yuanqi forest has high hopes. At the Dubai World Expo, Yuanqi forest became a senior sponsor of the China Pavilion. On the enterprise day of the World Expo Yuanqi forest, Yuanqi forest announced the three favorite bubble water flavors in the UAE, namely white peach, summer black grape and Kaman orange.
 
Tang Binsen is familiar with going to sea. Before the establishment of Yuanqi forest, he broke through the markets of developed countries with his self-developed game clash of kings and won the 6th best seller list in North America. But it was the first time for the vitality forest.
From the perspective of Amazon, there is still a wide gap between the bubble water giants in terms of sales and comments, and the brand awareness is also far from each other. Moreover, the product pricing of Yuanqi forest is currently 1.5-2 times that of competitive products, which does not have an obvious advantage in pricing. Compared with European and American brands with mature sales system, it takes time to test whether Yuanqi forest can take root overseas and be recognized by overseas consumers.
Under pressure,
Is drinking at sea really a new way out?
In recent years, the maturity of cross-border e-commerce and social software has enabled more domestic products to be displayed in front of global consumers. With the increasingly fierce competition in the domestic market, many Chinese food and beverage brands choose to go overseas. In 2009, centenarian mountain, the leader of domestic beverage, took the lead in going to sea and became the most successful brand of domestic beverage going to sea.
 
However, for China’s beverage industry, it is not easy to really occupy the overseas market. Admittedly, going to sea is an important means to expand brand influence and sales, but it also means fighting with classic brands that have been cultivated abroad for more than ten years or even hundreds of years.
In foreign markets, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nestle and other industry giants occupy the leading position in the beverage industry in the world market all year round, control shopping malls and form an inseparable relationship with various channel providers.
 
In addition to the giants’ supply chain control, the food and beverage industry also has its particularity, that is, it needs to obtain the compliance certificate of local food safety. Only by completing the compliance and obtaining the “access license” of the product can we enter the mainstream consumption channels such as local supermarkets and convenience stores.
 
But the key is that many overseas countries have strict and different requirements for imported products. For example, in North America, the requirements of the United States and Canada are clear, complete and strict; In Asia, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea and the Philippines have the most detailed requirements on compliance and access. Before the products are imported into these four countries, they need to pass the FDA (food and Drug Administration) inspection of the country. The products are required to complete the standards similar to the FDA of the United States and provide a special nutritional composition table before they can be imported. Otherwise, customs clearance cannot be completed.
 
Nevertheless, the overseas market is still quite attractive to domestic brands. Yuanqi forest is not the first to develop its own domestic beverage brand with the help of overseas tracks. After centenarian mountain successfully went abroad in 2009, Wahaha and nongnongshanquan also followed suit and started the process of internationalization.
However, even the centenarian mountain, which has occupied the first place in China’s food export list for many years, has faced complex challenges in entering the European and American markets. It can be seen that regardless of the high cost of going to sea, in the face of the encirclement and interception of traditional brands in the industry, the vigorous forest with only four or five years of development may not be able to take advantage of it, and its road to explore overseas markets will be full of difficulties.
 
From the layout of more than 40 countries and regions where Yuanqi forest goes to sea and the local mainstream consumption channels, the goal of Yuanqi forest is not only overseas Chinese business, but also committed to building international brands in domestic drinks. However, the domestic beverage industry has many restrictions on overseas development, and lacks experience in overseas products, channels, supply chain and brand construction, which requires Yuanqi forest to advance bravely and take a new road overseas.
 
At the same time, under the global epidemic, it is even more difficult for beverage brands to “go to sea”. Going to sea itself increases the sales costs of logistics and cargo damage. Due to the impact of the epidemic, the sea freight is soaring, and the shortage of cabins is also an adverse factor that can not be ignored. As a beverage product, because it is inferior in value and weight compared with other export products, it will only encounter more difficulties when going to sea.
 
At a time of hardship, vitality forest urgently needs to prove to the market that it still has the ability to maintain its “vitality”.

Author: lin ning; Source: consumer (ID: xiaofeijie316), reprint has been authorized. Reprint authorization and media business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246); Foodaily Expo 2022] in line with the original intention of providing the whole value chain and one-stop industrial innovation services for the industry, foodaily Expo 2022 (2022.05.31-06.02, Shanghai) is further upgraded. In addition to the upstream and downstream of the food industry, it also covers and gathers multiple resources such as e-commerce, social media, traffic, channels and capital, aiming to bring you an annual innovation feast. Here, products, content, technology, marketing and other aspects related to food & brand innovation will be presented in the form of “professional exhibition + innovative content + interactive experience”, breaking through and differentiating in the consistent form of industry exhibition.

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