Launched by Indian health products firm A.V Organics in June, Evocus is available in nearly 200 supermarkets in Pune and Chandigarh, online and in the food service channel.
With a pH of about 8.5, the water contains more than 70 Humic and Fulvic trace minerals, and is said to neutralise toxins and excessive acidity in the bloodstream, which leads to increased oxygen levels, improved energy and metabolism.
Other than the black colour, the 500 ml product is said to be tasteless and odourless. It is sold at INR$100 (US$1.40).
The firm is now hoping to sell the product in 200 supermarkets in Delhi, with the subsequent goals of entering 20 cities by next March, starting with tier 1 and 2 cities.
In the upcoming year, the firm hopes sell three to five million bottles of the product.
Previously in the real estate business, founder and MD Askash Vaghela started to explore the alkaline water industry two years ago after reading research from US scientist Dr Nobert Chirase. Chirase is also the chief scientist and principal mentor of the firm.
However, black alkaline water, being rarely seen in the consumer market, required the firm to direct its efforts towards consumer education so as to drive market acceptance, Vaghela told NutraIngredients-Asia.
A market research conducted by the firm found that consumers were concerned whether the black colour came from chemicals.
“We did a market research involving people of different age groups, such as doctors, students, mothers, gym-goers etc. They were surprised at first, they asked, how can water be black? They thought it is because of chemicals.
“Actually, it is the unique formulation of minerals which are infused into the water that produced the black colour, it is a naturally occurring colour. We explained and they were persuaded to try the product,” Vaghela said, adding that the minerals were sourced from the earth crust and refined in Texas, USA.
The same method applied to the supermarket chains which they are hoping to work with, he said.
“This is why we intend to focus on consumer awareness in the first six months of launch, and not so much on the sales.”
Potential in India and the Gulf
According to Vaghela, functional beverage is a “very new” category in India, but rising health consciousness will help drive demand.
“The premium water market in India is growing at 20% CAGR and is expected to increase. There is a health evolution, where people are more health conscious…The consumers also wanted to try something different.”
With a production capacity of 40 million bottles each year, the firm is also in talks with the gulf countries in exporting the product.