Abid Hussain Barlaskar

A coconut with a plastic pout; Country Delight's non dairy adventure

The product package is a real coconut and the brand promises that each fruit will have a minimum of 270 ml of water.

Milk delivery platform Country Delight’s latest offering - ‘door step coconut water delivery’ - stands out on multiple grounds. First, the packaging. Then comes the brand promise. After that, the sourcing and distribution.

Country Delight assures quality, and promises that each coconut will have a minimum of 270 ml of water. The water is delivered in the coconut itself. The fruit is sourced from rural Tamil Nadu and then distributed in cities across India.

Raw coconuts are heavy and bulky, which pose a major distribution challenge, especially while transporting them from rural South India to cities up north. And if the coconut hasn’t been opened, i.e., there is no ‘pout’ on it, no one really knows the exact amount of water in there.

Over that, the market is currently flooded with packaged coconut water from both small and large brands. Fresh coconut water is traditionally sold by street vendors. Some of them also provide doorstep delivery services. Depending on the availability and proximity to the source, the price of a fresh (piece of) coconut starts at around Rs 30, and goes upwards of Rs 100.

The price of packaged tender coconut starts at around Rs 40 per 200 ml, and is offered by brands like Real, Raw Pressery, Paper Boat, etc. It is primarily consumed because of its health benefits, and has gained popularity due to the increased focus on health and nutrition lately. With a growing demand, grocery delivery platforms like BigBasket, etc., have also started delivering tender coconuts.

Country Delight sells each coconut for Rs 60. The customers can subscribe to coconut water delivery via the app, just like the brand’s milk and dairy products. The brand’s latest ad campaign highlights its efforts as a ‘coconut hunter’ running around the country in search of the best quality fruit.

In conversation with afaqs!, Chakradhar Gade, co-founder of Country Delight, says that a coconut can retain its own freshness for some time without any processing need.

The new service is a step towards positioning Country Delight as a ‘food essentials’ brand, rather than just a dairy player. The plan is to include more options of fruits which are consumed regularly in Indian homes. Gade points out that there was also a demand for coconut water from the brand’s existing milk customers.

But why would one order it from Country Delight, and not the neighbourhood vendor? And, isn’t Real’s coconut water a more convenient option?

Chakradhar Gade
Chakradhar Gade

Gade says that in the case of fresh coconuts, the customers faced problems like inconsistent quantity of water and taste, and difficulty in opening it. Also, fresh coconut is better than processed one in terms of taste and nutrition.

“We decided to address these problems. We innovated the packaging by fixing a pout on the coconut. We solved the inconsistency problems by freshly sourcing it from the inner regions of Tamil Nadu (Pollachi). The coconuts from there have copious amounts (of water) by virtue of the soil there.”

Post-harvesting, the coconuts are transported under ideal weather conditions to Country Delight’s processing facilities. They are partially peeled and a pout is installed on each one of them.

The cold chain is maintained until delivery. The deliveries to different regions take different amounts of time. The deliveries to Bengaluru, for instance, take 48 hours. It is 72 hours for Mumbai and 96 hours in Delhi.

"We really don’t know how much water each fruit holds."

“We really don’t know how much water each fruit holds, but we have some technology that helps us identify the minimum threshold of the quantity,” says Gade.

He mentions that distribution is a serious challenge, especially when it comes to transporting a raw product from one region of the country to another. But the cost is kept under control by sourcing the products directly from the farms and minimising wastage.

A coconut with a plastic pout; Country Delight's non dairy adventure

“We choose the right coconut at the source. Then it is transported (cold chain) without wastage. In a category like coconut, the absence of proper tracking can lead to a lot of wastage.”

"Absence of proper tracking can lead to a lot of wastage."

A large part of the cold chain is also common between milk and coconut distribution. The robust technology and tracking system for milk is helping the brand track the coconut journey as well.

Apart from the ones with the pouts, the customers can also opt for completely unopened coconuts, and Country Delight provides the openers too.

The platform is currently focusing on the top 15-20 cities, and has already expanded its business in 13. Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru happen to be the top consumers of coconut water.

"we are entering a broader gamut of food essentials."

“We have mainly focused on milk and milk products. But now, we are entering a broader gamut of food essentials. Coconut is one of our first products. We started delivering mangoes, and are trying out similar offerings like apple, watermelon, bananas, etc.,” Gade signs off.

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