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By Nimish Dwivedi
It is always a welcome post lunch routine. After a hectic morning of business reviews, attempts to resolve multiple unforeseen crises and abortive efforts to solve some insuperable issues, lunch happens. A post lunch stroll to the convenience store, chatting and simply shooting the breeze on business challenges. The walk and talk routine fortifies a group of us for the rest of the work day ahead. The walk inevitably ends at a convenience store where some post lunch yoghurt, juice or coffee is bought and consumed to recharge our drained batteries.
After Vietnam managed the covid crisis exceedingly well and work from the office commenced, this routine of post lunch walks to the convenience store continued. And as we entered our standard convenience store seeking perhaps a new yoghurt flavour or to assess if anyone could be tempted to go for a choco bar or an ice-cream instead of just yoghurt, the shelves had a surprise in store.
A green looking yoghurt drink bottle which mentioned that it strengthened the antiviral immune system piqued my interest. It was from Kirin Japan and the variant was called IMUSE which I assume stands for ImMUne System Enhancement perhaps. Foods containing probiotics such as yoghurt have been universally acknowledged to improve gut as well as overall health. But, this is the first time a yoghurt drink has probably developed its own exclusive strain of probiotics which has anti-viral properties too.
On checking further I noticed that Kirin had extensive research findings on its site about how this particular strain of Lactococcus Plasma was discovered to have an effective antiviral defence mechanism.
Japan has always been at the forefront of probiotic research and benefits. I still remember stumbling across Yakult and its benefits in 2003 while living in Japan. But it is commendable for a company to focus on research to create its own proprietary probiotic strain which enhances overall immunity and aims to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.
Naturally, IMUSE the lemon flavoured yoghurt became our favourite afternoon drink. And I discovered the power of applying almost a pharmaceutical lens in the normal drinks category to create an extremely relevant product for today’s unprecedented times.
Kirin meanwhile has extended this IMUSE range of its proprietary probiotic Lactococcus Lactis Strain Plasma from yogurt to also water creating a sugar and calorie free drink that can be consumed daily. It is also developing another proprietary strain of Lactic Acid Bacteria that will fight eye fatigue caused due to excess usage of smartphones and computers. Another real need being addressed.
In the Indian context, while the likes of Hajmola digestive candy have always been there, perhaps it’s time for Indian beverage and confectionery companies to consider going a step further like Kirin and developing their own proprietary research based health enhancing formulations thereby adding a pharmaceutical lens to the standard beverages category in our country. Imagine Amul Butter Milk (Chaas) with its own strain of proprietary probiotics that cools during summer, helps gut health and also has anti-viral properties. Sehat Waali Thandak to stay cool and get both swad and swasthya this summer. And health imparting Nimbu Paani with the beverage company’s proprietary strain which cools not just dil and dimag but also enhances sehat. And finally, India’s favourite cuppa – that Adrak Waali Chai, a unique cold and cough fighting type of ginger root specially researched and grown, available only for that chai perhaps. For me, with that type of special ginger, anytime would be Chai time.
Now that we are living in the age of pandemics there is another product category that merits attention.
From beverages and food to fiction. Science fiction. Sometime last year, I remember sitting over pizza, discussing the daunting covid situation unravelling globally with our friends. Their bright young son mentioned that perhaps this is the right time for someone to launch hibernation pods.
More than 52 years ago Stanley Kubrick, that genius director, introduced the concept of Hibernation Pods in his cult classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. A hibernation pod is a personalised hibernation chamber that induces sleep or keeps human beings in suspended animation for long periods of time. From medical professionals to companies focussed on space exploration, there has been a lot of research going on to hibernate humans and bring them back to life when required.
If there is a comfortable pod with a customised design where human beings could be kept in suspended animation by slowing down metabolism then that may actually be a pretty convenient and healthy way of getting through the next pandemic or another more virulent wave of covid.
After all, I am sure many would have liked to slip into their hibernation pods around March 2020, with a preference to be awakened again only when Covid-19 was eradicated, or a vaccine widely available.
Perhaps this hibernation pod is the next big product opportunity for a new age company like Tesla. And just as Tesla was named after Nikola Tesla, the hibernation pods can perhaps be branded Kubrick as a tribute to the genius of Stanley Kubrick or even Clarke to commemorate the memory of Arthur C Clarke.
I am sure there is a lot of work going on to bring these hibernation pods to market, but while we wait for that, let me go back to Japan. Because a resort in the Karuizawa forest has started offering hibernation pods – well not the scientific ones but simply pods suspended from trees which are a cross between a tent and a hammock with food and water. If there are no real hibernation pods then this seems like the next best alternative to ride out a pandemic, in the middle of a forest. Duly armed with Arthur C Clarke books, Kubrick movies on a tablet and some immunity enhancing Kirin beverages.
– The author is in a leadership role in financial services based in Vietnam. He is also the author of the bestselling book “Marketing Chronicles.” Views expressed are personal.
Also read: The Quad Matrix: Content and Commerce, India and Bharat
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