Over the past few decades, carbonated beverages have been heavily promoted as health drinks. However, as the population has diverted their attention towards healthier options, the carbonated soft drink sales have witnessed a sharp decline. The consumers of today require four main things: tasty products, healthier alternatives, innovation, and natural flavors and ingredients. Acknowledging these factors, Greig Jansen (CEO of PURA soda) has introduced an innovative brand called PURA Soda. This refreshing alternative for carbonated drinks is the ultimate combination of healthy and tasty.
Live a Little PURA
PURA Soda commenced its journey in 2017, as a healthier alternative to the mainstream soda brands. The main idea behind the establishment was to be responsible for the environment and the broader world we live in. “If you are in a position to make a difference, then you should, and if everyone had this philosophy then the world would be a better place,” said Greig. However, it is easy to say, but difficult to do. Greig has kept the focus on working towards the betterment of the environment and advises everyone to do so.
Everyone has busy lives and many day-to-day commitments and stresses. All these commitments make it difficult to enjoy life to the fullest. At PURA Soda, the team believes in living their lives a little PURA—to do the small things every day that make a difference. Looking at the fragmented beverage market of carbonated drinks, Greig came up with an innovative cost-effective product, which is a combination of five ingredients and formulated to fall under the tax threshold of four grams of sugar per 100ml.
PURA Soda offers seven pioneering flavors’ giving the traditional beverage an innovative twist. The reason behind introducing the exotic flavors’ was to help people live a little healthier life also while enjoying a carbonated soft drink. This innovative list of flavors includes Cucumber and Lime, Seville Orange, Lemon and Elderflower, Pomegranate, Ginger and Lemon, Juniper, and Cranberry. “With just a sprinkle of sugar, all-natural flavors, and zero colorants, everyone can—live a little PURA,” asserts Greig.
The product is 100% developed on consumer insights and market research, which highlighted the need for a better alternative for soft drink and still deliver the same taste and refreshment to the consumers at a pocket-friendly price. The company currently holds roots in Cape Town, South Africa, and is a globally positioned brand that exports to around 13 countries including the US, UAE, and UK. The popularity of the beverage was also rewarded with “Best Tasting Non-Alcoholic Beverage” at Aurora International Taste Challenge, 2019. PURA Soda has continued this winning streak in 2020 too and has been coined as the “Best Cold Beverage” at Product of the Year 2020, the world’s largest consumer-voted award for product innovation.
Word on the Street
Word of mouth has been the strategy behind the popularity of the brand. The product is purely developed heeding the requirements of the consumers. Greig is the brains behind the establishment of PURA Soda and introduced the strategy that will challenge the reputable brands. He was part of the FMCG industry for a long time. Greig is the former CEO of the East African Bottling Company, the Ethiopian subsidiary of Coca-Cola. After leaving Coca-Cola he still wanted to be part of the beverage industry however, Greig wanted to add their spin on things based on the consumer insights he learned. This was when PURA Soda was conceptualized.
As the CEO, Greig oversees that all the operations function smoothly following the overarching strategy of the company. As a leader, he has to be affirming with the decisions and offer the employees a clear structure, whilst remaining flexible so that the employee feels comfortable sharing their ideas. The key here is to maintain the balance between the strong decision-maker and open communication to welcome new ideas.
The newly launched company is competing head-on with some of the biggest brands from across the world. Greig explains how he tackled initial challenges that the company faced, “We were a small start-up with no leverage – nobody knew us. We needed to get everyone in the company to believe that there were ways to solve these challenges so the simplest way was to change our language about problems.” So Jansen brought a “problem jar” to the office. Every time someone mention the word “problem”, they had to deposit money that was then donated to charity.
More Cautious towards Health
Having spent almost a decade in the beverage industry, Greig has first-handily witnessed the transformation of the industry. Consumer interests have taken a drastic shift. The traditional soda approach had to be disposed of as the population is looking for special moments, personal interactions, or something that adds complexity to the beverage experience. This has posed several challenges as well as opportunities for the beverage manufactures. Consequently, to float in the competition Greig suggests that the companies have to innovate with their products.
The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world. The global health crisis has equally damaged several industries economically and the beverage industry is no exception. Due to the pandemic, people have become more cautious with their health and their health preferences. Greig adds, “I believe that these are signs of new consumer behaviors that, accelerated by the impact of coronavirus, will only increase.”
Future of Beverage Landscape
The pandemic has somehow benefited the beverage industry as the consumers are now shifting to healthier alternatives. Similarly, brands need to meet the demand for health, natural ingredients, responsible sourcing, and sustainability. PURA Soda fits in the revamped criteria of the beverage market. “At PURA Soda, we are working hard to introduce new ‘better-for-you products into the market, so watch this space,” adds Greig.
The beverage industry has uniquely positioned itself in the rapid rate of adoption of new twists on traditional drinks as well as the increase of new and innovative concepts. Likewise, several carbonated beverage brands are modernizing their strategies and brand image to gain ground in the new health-conscious and social media perceptive consumer world. Alike, PURA Soda will continually build new strategies to appeal to consumers. Greig concludes, “As larger beverage companies align their portfolios to reflect emerging consumer preferences, I look forward to seeing further changes in the beverage landscape in the near future.”
Read Full issue: The 10 Prominent Food and Beverage Leaders to Look for in 2021