When I inform people I meet that our company creates unsweetened & barely sweetened beverages for the Indian consumer, I get asked this a lot - with equal amount of incredulity and skepticism - is there a market for unsweetened beverages in India? I mean I hardly see people buy ‘this stuff’.
No one is making 'this stuff' to begin with. And it beats me why. Here is some cold hard data for you.
India has the second most number of diabetics in the world and we are still a developing country which means there is enough head room for this to get worse as we prosper as a nation. Between 1990 and today, diabetes has grown by 45% globally, while in India it has grown by 125%. This trend ( or explosion ) coincides with our economic development over the last 3 decades which has massively impacted our lifestyle including special love for convenience foods & beverages among youngsters. It doesn't take exceptional deduction skills to say the two are interlinked.
In urban india - between 11% and 14% population suffers from diabetes today. That’s 20-25 lakh people in Mumbai alone and close to 8 crore people across India.
When you and I are buying juices, colas & sports drinks during grocery shopping, what are they ( and their families) buying from supermarkets? Have you wondered? I can tell you from experience that they are buying
- Aspartame and other chemical laden ‘zero’ cola
Have you wondered what are they drinking when they go out? Not too many options out there.
TEAFIT is meant for every single one of you who is spending your hard earned money just to mess with your body in the name of hydration because there is complete absence of choice. Even in the most obese country in the world, there is an evolved and mature category of unsweetened beverages because aware people deserve better.
Today I wanted to share with you, what a significant chunk of our own people are struggling with on a daily basis. And if this sugar dumping is not checked, the numbers will go through the roof in the next 20 years.
Sure it’s mighty difficult to create flavourful beverages in the absence of sugar. But it’s worth the effort for the future of our people. And it was needed as of yesterday.
I encourage you to please read the back of the labels before you buy. Please also know that on labels, there is
- Declared sugar - Added during preparation
- Hidden sugar - fruit sugars in addition to the sugar from point no. 1, if it’s a juice based drink
- GST loophole sugar - ( I am going to get into some trouble for sharing this since this is an industry secret and by sharing with you here, I am all but closing doors on this low hanging fruit) Our government provides a lower GST slab of 12% if beverages have 10% or more Juice content in them to encourage people to include more fruit in their diet. If there is no fruit content then these companies would pay 18% GST. Good, applaudable intention in some sense.
The ‘smart’ companies, however, are putting de-ionised apple juice concentrate which is when apple juice is stripped of every nutrient to extract the sugar. So if you read deionised apple juice on your label, please know that it’s sugar not juice. In this case companies that are dumping sugar sneakily like this are being subsidised which I am sure wasn't how the law was to be interpreted.
Even though we pay 18% GST currently, some areas of business are non negotiable for us even if it makes for ‘good business’. We understand it’s easier to do so when you are a small company but this is our DNA and we hope it stays immutable. Only time will tell whether we can make meaning along with profits. But I do believe thats possible.
TEAFIT is made with real brewed teas & grains blended with 15 Ayurvedic super herbs, unsweetened & barely sweetened to improve your metabolism, boost immunity levels, provide natural energy boost & great taste. We are obsessed with using ingredients derived from nature & not bought from a chemicals manufacturer.
What TEAFIT doesn’t have is probably a longer list but here are a few - Concentrates, Premixes, Artificial colours & flavours , emulsifiers, Sodium benzoate (preservative), other chemicals you cannot pronounce.
Eat your fruit & drink TeaFit
sources: National Diabetics Survey Report, Euromonitor, The Lancet, Articles from Live Mint & The Hindu.