When I came across the pineapple store Brotani Ventures (Brotani) on Instagram, I thought it was trying to appeal to a younger segment of Malaysians with its vibrant and contemporary branding.
"Contemporary and vibrancy are where it's at because we want the idea of healthy eating to be fun," the team told Vulcan Post.
The modern, vibrant style of her Instagram posts / Image source: Brotani Ventures
But healthy eating isn't everything when it comes to Brotani, as it also aims to contribute to one of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through sustainable farming methods.
Turn products into products
Brotani is the brainchild of schoolmates Aizat, Hakim, Izz, and Burhan promoting the benefits of MD2 pineapple. The MD2 breed is said to be high in vitamin C, among other nutrients.
To their advantage, this pineapple is easy to plant and can produce higher yields compared to regular pineapples. This is because they are naturally immune to disease and have twice the number of suckers compared to other pineapple breeds.
Dictionary time: Suckers or puppies are small plants that grow between the leaves of ripe pineapples. When they are taken off, more pineapples will grow out of them.
Even MD2 pineapples do not require an irrigation system and can only rely on rainwater as a water source. In an irrigation system, plants are artificially introduced through artificial channels, ditches, etc.
In order to implement sustainable farming practices in their company, the team ensures that food waste is limited as much as possible. You can do this by fully optimizing the usage of the fruits and converting them into other product forms like their cold-pressed piña limas juices to increase their usage.
No pineapple is left / Photo credit: Brotani Ventures
When pineapples are overripe and cannot be used in a product, they are fed to the team's Kampung chickens, which are sold under a different brand called Boys & Chicks.
The startup's range of products consists of MD2 pineapples, which are sold as whole fruit and cost between 8 and 15 RM depending on weight, and sliced pineapples (for consumer convenience) at 10 RM. Cold-pressed juices, which are Brotanis bestsellers, cost 14 RM.
Navigating through travel restrictions
While the idea of starting a pineapple business started in July 2020, Brotani wasn't launched until February 2021. It started as a pure pineapple supplier for customers, branded with a farm-to-table concept.
“We collected the orders through agents in the offices, among other things. But when the MCO 2.0 happened, our distribution there was inevitably interrupted as most of the offices had to work almost entirely from home, ”said the team.
From this hiccup, the Brotani team realized that by making their products available in stores, as pineapples fall under the necessities that can be sold through essential services. In addition to selling the pineapples online, Brotani also sells over 20 local independent grocers, including OlaMart, d’Buah, Olive Grocer and Durianba.
His team has reported an average monthly sales of around 6 tons of pineapples and now has a farm in Bukit Cerakah.
Your beautiful MD2 pineapples and the cold-pressed juice / Image Credit: Brotani Ventures
Within the next two years, Brotani aims to integrate sustainable practices of up to 60% into its operations, thereby contributing to one of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The reason their target was initially set at 60% is because they currently do not have access to affordable sustainable practices such as growing methods, commercial packaging and waste management.
While the cost of their products could go up, perhaps the team could look for more sustainable packaging by switching their juice bottles from plastic to glass. In this way, they could start an initiative to collect these empty bottles and give discounts / rebates to customers on their next purchase.
However, with the company still in its infancy and trying to break into the market, it suggests that low cost to end users can help build a brand presence. Once they gain customer confidence in the quality of their products, loyal customers may also be more willing to pay higher prices for more sustainable packaging.
“As little players, we would have to build on it bit by bit. We accidentally passed some checkpoints, such as selling in commercial supermarkets and expanding business overseas, ”said Brotani's team hopefully.
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The pineapple juice market is by no means a blue sea; It's an extremely popular market full of different players. It's no surprise because Malaysia is rich in pineapples, to the point where we've found more sustainable and creative ways to deal with the waste, such as: B. Turning pineapple leaves into drones.
At the same time, social enterprises have jumped into the pineapple market to help the less privileged in Malaysia through entrepreneurial programs, signaling how easy it is to enter the market with the fruit's products.
With COVID-19 and increasing health concerns, pineapple juice has also become a popular choice for healthy beverages, with MarketResearch showing a hopeful growth forecast for the juice market.
This indicates an overall increase in juice consumption, so with the right marketing on the right channels for Brotani it won't be difficult to attract more customers. His heavy influence on Instagram to reach his crowd and his branding to appeal to the younger health conscious market is a good start.
- Find out more about Brotani Ventures here.
- Find out more about other startups we've covered here.
Photo credit: The Brotani Ventures team