Soft drinks maker turns to crowdfunding to accelerate business before sugar tax

The Natural Drinks Co has launched a campaign on Crowdcube for one month with the aim of raising an investment figure of £750,000 in exchange for a 5.08% equity stake. To date the campaign has hit almost 10% of its target with more than £70,000 secured in the first 24 hours.

The company said its brands can “sidestep the marketplace chaos” as a result of the anticipated sugar tax in April 2018.

Ian Minton, ceo, said: “There is a huge opportunity in beverages, with consumers across multiple different audience profiles looking for products that are completely free from sugar, calories and artificial sweeteners. We are seeing leaders in the space reformulate their recipes and more soft drinks now contain artificial sweetener like Acesulfame K and Sucralose than contain sugar, but we don’t believe this is enough. We have developed a robust No Sugar, No Sweetener range that tastes great and is future-proofed beyond meeting immediate tax savings on sugar. This is what type of alternatives consumers want for themselves and for their families.

“We have already seen our founding brand Frutree capitalise on sales from ‘no added sugar’ products and we will be looking to quickly gain strong market share in the mixer category with Skinny Tonics, which is a completely unique offering in this space.”
He added: “We intend to shake up the marketplace across multiple touch points both in and out of the home. The investment achieved via Crowdcude will be focused on targeted media, marketing and a rapid roll-out plan within retail and on-trade.”

The portfolio now consists of three products: Skinny Tonic, which is a no sugar mixer brand; Agua Tierra, a natural, no sugar and no sweetener flavoured spring water, available in four flavours; and Frutree, a fruit-flavoured, zero sugar spring water for children.

Skinny Tonic will be supported by a marketing plan which looks to clear up consumer confusion around terms such as “naturally light”, “no added sugar” and “slimline”, according to Minton.

Agua Tierra is targeted at young, social consumers looking for refreshments on the go.

Jenny Finnegan, head of brand, said: “We are fundraising now because we believe this is the right time to invest for accelerated growth in a changing marketplace. Frutree was first conceived in early 2015 to fill what was a completely untapped gap in the kids market. We are now ahead of the game to meet customer demand for sugar free, calorie free and artificial sweetener free beverages across al of their beverage needs, delivered from a strong and aspirational brand portfolio.”

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