Rehydrate; Repair; Replenish? It sounds like something a shampoo might do or a weekend away at a spa in the countryside, but it’s actually a refreshing melon based exotic fruit juice that you can find at Ocado, Waitrose, The Whole Foods Market and Harrods, and has been featured in Glamour and the Daily Mail.
Mello was founded by 2 female entrepreneurs, half Irish and half Arabic Rose Aldean, who had worked at the UKTI before launching the business, and her childhood friend Sophie.
Convinced of the natural restorative powers of Melon juice which she had drunk herself as a child growing up in Dubai, Aldean decided to create and sell her own brand, exploiting a niche position in a market dominated by big drinks corporates.
Melon juice is complex to produce since conventional heat pasteurisation techniques are considered too damaging to the fruit, so Aldean was forced to develop an entirely new approach, one that ensures “Mello embodies the raw healthy goodness of melon, in a bottle.”
Since it was first launched in 2013 Mello has become the number one best-selling exotic fruit drink in the UK, in a category that is growing rapidly.
The drink, which contains no additives or preservatives and took a year of research and development to perfect, is expected to turn over £1.75m this year. Its average year on year growth to date is 350%.
Mello first hit the shelves of Whole Foods Store in 2014, then achieved national recognition by being featured on Ocado’s website, before winning shelf space at Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Daylesford Organic then launching into 200 Waitrose stores in the summer of 2015.
Now the company expects to launch its new product, Honeydew into 250 Boots stores nationwide on May 9th. Honeydew will join Watermelon and Cantaloupe, each with their own unique taste and contrasting functional health benefits.
The founders believe that the launch of a third flavour plus the deal with Boots brings them a step closer to becoming a healthy, innovative and serious player in the UK drinks market.
And the story doesn’t end there – the company recently raised funding to produce a watermelon seed snack, the first of its kind in the UK; the seeds are roasted and given an extra chili kick or sprinkling of salt.
Again, the founders say the snack is a “nutritional powerhouse”, contributing to normal blood flow, pressure and muscle functions. With sales of crisps declining by 3% in the UK, and nuts and seeds sales improving by 24% over the same period, research also shows that 30% of brits are actively looking for alternative snacks, and 60% for new flavours; good news for new entrants to the marketplace. The seeds can also be added to salads, dips and soups.
So with 3 drinks brands on the market and in high street stores across the country, and one unique snack, Mello have made a lot happen in less than 3 years, not least turnover of more than 1 million. It’s a good start – but no doubt the question on their minds will be “how do we scale-up”?
How many melons does it take to disrupt an industry? Maybe it depends on the level of “seed” funding. Happy Friday!