Can do approach: Fast-growing China firm Genki Forest unveils canned sparkling water strategy for Singapore and US
The company produces ready-to-drink beverages ranging from sparkling water, milk tea, and oolong tea and is one of the fastest growing beverage companies in China, with an expected valuation of RMB14bn (US$2bn) this year.
The eight canned water products are inspired by global fruit flavours which include plum, grape, lychee, peach and yoghurt among others.
The canned varieties are the same formulation as those in the bottled version.
Genki Forest’s new canned drinks were initially developed for the US market, because “consumers there are more appreciative of canned drinks instead of bottled,” said a spokesman from the company.
The canned drinks are expected to enter US in June, through e-commerce channels such as Amazon.
In Singapore, the drinks will be available at 7-Eleven convenience stores exclusively for one month, before retailing in its existing sales channels which include supermarkets and e-commerce platforms.
Genki Forest first entered Singapore in March 2020 and the canned drinks are expected to retail in May.
In Singapore, with the canned version, the company is considering exploring the food service channels such as food courts and coffeeshops where canned drinks are more commonly consumed than bottled drinks.
“With its smaller volume, it can be priced more competitively compared to bottled,” said the spokesman.
The canned variations (330mL) have a shelf life of 18 months, while the bottled versions (480mL) have nine months.
Genki Forest prides its products as being healthier, having zero sugar, fat and calories. It recently reformulated and removed potassium sorbate which acted as a preservative in the sparkling water range.
In the meantime, the bottled sparkling water will continue to be available in Singapore.
Genki Forest’s canned sparkling water will be manufactured in Hubei province in China, where most of the country’s canned manufacturing take place.
The plan is to study consumer interest of the canned drinks in US and Singapore before exploring other markets.
This year, Genki Forest is prioritising several markets including Europe, Australia, Canada, US, Singapore and Malaysia to further its presence there.
For instance, it entered popular hot pot chain (Hai Di Lao) in Singapore last year, and are in talks with other food service players, department stores, and pharmacies.
For places like Australia which it entered in 2019, Genki Forest is currently retailing on Amazon and Asian grocery stores.
According to the spokesman, the plan is to gain more offline share, especially in mainstream channels like supermarket and convenience stores to reach out to the local population.
This strategy is similar for New Zealand, and other western markets including Canada and US.
In Asia, it is eyeing South Korea and Japan as potential markets for their high purchasing power, and ability to bring brand awareness in those markets.
Last year, Genki Forest had hoped to enter Thailand, but this proved challenging especially in terms of the language on the packaging.
Vietnam is another market it is eyeing and hopes to work with a partner there to guide modifications of the product to better cater to local consumers.