Chongqing- Founded in 2016 in Asia, Genki Forest is a disruptive beverage innovator in China. Unlike most beverage-making firms that are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, even the virus couldn’t dampen Genki Forest’s growing momentum. Under the sales pitch “0 sugar, 0 calories, and 0 fat”, its pre-pandemic growth carried well into 2020, and its valuation soared from $4 billion in 2019 to $15 billion in 2021.
So what are the secrets behind the company’s success?
According to Genki Forest’s founder Tang Binsen, the company is willing to spend $1.8 billion on advertising when it made $2 billion in revenue. And its marketing budget is often well-targeted. For example, at the beginning of 2021, Genki Forest secured the right to sponsor the Spring Festival Gala of bilibili.com, the most popular website among the brand’s targets, and grew its fan base from 0 to 1.5 million through this sponsorship.
Even though Genki Forest takes root on the internet, the company spares no effort in building a strong offline distribution network. While global brands such as Coca-Cola dominate supermarkets, the company focuses on convenience stores and vending machines, which attract the very demographic it’s trying to woo—young people craving new brands and products. They also actively promote their products by placing them prominently in these shops.
According to some observers, Genki Forest prides its products on “0 sugar, 0 calories, and 0 fat.” It achieves this through the use of a natural sugar substitute called erythritol, which is a less common ingredient used by beverage manufacturers because of its high price. It costs about 70 times more than other sugar replacements. Meanwhile, on average, the company takes five and a half months to develop a new product, compared to the one-year cycle of releasing a new product for industry giants. Genki Forest also has a keener eye for market trends; new products often go through a test run online to gauge customer interest before a massive offline rollout.
However, due to supply chain issues and rising costs of raw materials, Genki Forest is expected to slow down its growth rate in 2022. It also faces steep competition as more established brands catch up with the health craze.
Will this brand continue to stay on top of the beverage trends? If Genki Forest forges ahead with innovation, let’s say the odds are very much in its favor.
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