Ārepa won the start-up category in the third NutraIngredients-Asia Awards 2020 which was held virtually. The judges were impressed with the company’s nootropic beverage, alongside its solid science and clear growth plans.
According to CEO and co-founder Angus Brown, winning the award was like a musician winning a Spotify award for their album.
Its products are currently available in all supermarket chains in New Zealand, including freshchoice, Four Square, New World, Pak’nSave, and most recently Countdown.
Brown said: “We are already in all NZ supermarkets brands, it’s more like getting full distribution into the more rural New Worlds, Pak’nSave etc that we already supply to in the city centres.”
Earlier in August, Ārepa expanded into the Countdown supermarket chain at an unfortunate time as New Zealand entered a second lockdown.
Brown told NutraIngredients-Asia, “We had to essentially launch remotely into 110 Countdown supermarkets nationwide.
“Usually when we launch into any new supermarket chain, we do demonstrations and tastings so instead we focussed on digital advertising and letting our fans know via social media and email that we are now available in Countdowns nationwide.”
“The launch was met with a lot of interest and we're noticing our drinks are starting to be sold out in various stores which shows the demand is there and we can drive it digitally.”
Award winning formula
Ārepa produces a range of nootropic products from supplements, powders, to beverages. Marketed for cognitive performance, its products contain pine bark extract, blackcurrant extract and L-theanine and are based on robust clinical trials.
Earlier this year, the firm conducted a clinical trial of its beverage, assessing the benefits on the mental capacity of athletes.
At present, 40% of Ārepa total sales are online through its website. “We recently surpassed our 15,000th online order and close to one million units of the drink sold in retail, 95% of these sales to date have been in New Zealand,” Brown said.
He added that revenue has doubled year-on-year since its launch in 2017. “We have grown at an organic rate, partly due to our focus first and formost on the science and expanding into the right retail outlets at the right time before making more aggressive expansion plans offshore.”
“What’s more important to us is that we're making a profit each month now and are capital efficient.”
Ārepa has an online store in Australia, and currently in discussions with several retail chains. “Our focus will be online, direct to consumer initially in Australia as they are still managing the Covid-19 situation.”
Brown said winning the award was also an added boost of confidence for Ārepa as the team sets its sights on the US later this year.
“It gives us more credibility to larger US-based investors who we will bring on to help us expand into that market.”
It will use a similar strategy to Australia, starting with an online D2C launch. “Then we will target California as our first state for premium and natural health retail chains.”
In its home country, Ārepa is launching two new format sizes for its beverage, in 90mL and 750mL later this year. It has committed more than NZ$500,000 (US$331,000) of capital towards clinical studies in neurological health, mental health and performance.