BY VERONIKA ZHUPANOVA
CONSUMER ANALYST, GLOBALDATA
As Russian consumers become increasingly careful about their spending, kvass manufacturers, who already suffer from the seasonal nature of demand, need to evolve the beverage in order to grow sales.
Kvass is a traditional Eastern European fermented drink, made by brewing rye bread and sugar. It is mostly consumed in the summer time and has very low alcohol content. Traditionally dispensed from barrels, the drink has evolved to be a common product consumers look for on retailers’ shelves. In addition to quenching thirst on a hot summer day, consumers also like kvass for its health-aligned properties, as the product is rich in vitamin B and is believed to feature beneficial bacteria, formed during the fermentation process, which aids digestion.
However, kvass is losing its popularity: in Russia, its volume has reduced from 773 million litres in 2014 to 621 million liters in 2016, according to GloblalData Wisdom (published June 2016). As 55% of Russians do not believe the economy is improving, according to GlobalData’s consumer survey from the third quarter of 2016, it is highly likely consumer spending on items that are not deemed as necessary will decrease.
To boost their sales in a declining market, kvass brands must to come up with eye-catching novelty, to get consumer attention and take share from both rival brands and adjacent categories, such as carbonated sweet drinks. 76% of Russian consumers said they prefer new experiences to new products, which shows how brands need to focus on helping consumers maximize moments of fun and enjoyment.
Creating new occasions will boost Kvass sales
New positioning offers new fun experiences
Generally, kvass is associated with summer and quenching thirst. To fuel sales in winter, Ochakovo rolled out a limited seasonal edition. The manufacturer has taken inspiration from a winter symbol: the snowman and its carrot nose. The carrot on the silver design of the aluminum can is meant to mimic the snowman’s nose, with the can stuck to a snowman’s or even a consumer’s face for a fun picture. The launch was accompanied by a promotion encouraging consumers to get creative with photos featuring the kvass can and to post them on a promotional website.
The product capitalises on consumers’ desire for new and fun experiences and entertainment to accompany their time spent with friends and family, as well as opportunities to show off on social media.
Reformulating will help take share from other beverage categories
Another example of targeting new occasions is identifying a new niche. For example, Vyatskiy Kvas has launched a hot winter variety, which is meant to be consumed when warmed up to 55°C. Made with spices, the beverage promises to not only warm up, but also boasts benefits such as vitamins B, P and C. The product offers a non-alcoholic alternative to alcoholic products such as mulled wine, as well as hot non-alcoholic beverages, such as teas and hot chocolate.
New flavours will target younger audiences
Approaching the summer season, Ochakovo launched a limited edition of its kvass in spring 2016. In order to target a younger audience, the manufacturer has come up with a stylish flavor which is unusual for the category – kalamansi (Philippine lime). The launch targets a younger audience, and aims to rebuild a perception of kvass as a modern, trendy drink. Bright and fashionable packaging, as well as the exotic flavour, makes the product cool to be seen with.
Formulation innovation will allow brands to stand out
Another example Russian manufacturers should take inspiration from is the unusual black kvass.
To stand out on shelves and target experiential consumers in Ukraine, Carlsberg Ukraine rolled out a Black variety of its Kvas Taras brand of kvass. The novel colour is attributed to one of the main ingredients – rye malt, which lends the beverage its unusually rich, dark colour. This product will be popular among those who look for natural but unusual drinks, as well as those looking for less sweet versions of the classic drink.
The brand already has a white variety in its portfolio; while it is not as exotic as the black version, it also offers an opportunity to build the category. For example, white kvass can be marketed as part of a contrasting black-white duo with different notes, which appeal to different taste preferences.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020