Scaling a Company in the Enhanced Water Market

About the Episode

Scaling from start-up to multi-million dollar business takes time, ingenuity, and perseverance. Yanni Hufnagel, founder of Lemon Perfect, discusses the 6-year growth of his company into a major player in the enhanced water sector. Discussion includes going from sourcing regional ingredients to international sources; delivering consistent quality; getting consumers to try a new product; the importance of relationships with contract manufacturing partners, distributors, and retailers; and how perseverance is key.

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In this Episode

1:03 What factors have prevented the development of lemon water until now, such as the creation of the “Lemon Perfect” product?
3:22 Does sourcing ingredients from around the world present challenges in guaranteeing consistency across the brand?
5:24 How much money has been raised by Lemon Perfect?
5:44 Why is Lemon Perfect a capital-intensive business?
8:31 Advice to business owners when choosing and working with contract manufacturers.
9:29 Is Lemon Perfect more of an impulse convenience item or a deliberate purchase item?
12:14 What’s the price point for the products, and how many SKUs does Lemon Perfect have?
14:20 What are the barriers to getting consumers to trial, or try out, a new product in the beverage industry?
17:11 What did Lemon Perfect change in the formula to make their product shelf-stable?
19:33 What led Lemon Perfect to need to change contract manufacturers?
23:20 What is Lemon Perfect’s relationship with its distributor and retailer partners?
25:17 Why is it difficult for beverage brands to make it in the industry when the barriers to entry are low?
31:34 Which coach/CEO influenced Yanni Hufnagel?
35:14 What is the most important lesson Yanni has learned?

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Resources Mentioned

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Acronyms or Terms Used in This Episode

  • Enhanced Water– enhanced waters are water with added functional ingredients, usually vitamins and minerals; they’re often referred to as vitamin water
  • SKU– stock keeping unit – a unique number or code that a company can assign to products or components in order to track for inventory management
  • HTST– high-temperature short-time pasteurization process
  • HPP– high-pressure processing – a food pasteurization method

Meet Our Guest

Yanni Hufnagel

Yanni Hufnagel

Founder and CEO of Lemon Perfect

Yanni Hufnagel is the Founder and CEO of Lemon Perfect, a delicious and refreshing flavored lemon water with zero sugar and no artificial flavors or sweeteners. Powered by half a squeezed organic lemon in every bottle, Lemon Perfect contains only 5 calories, is high in immune-boosting vitamin C, and is proudly certified Plastic Neutral.

Lemon Perfect is the fastest-growing brand in the enhanced water category and is widely considered to be one of the most scalable, exciting, and innovative emerging beverages in the marketplace. The company’s mission is to sustainably reimagine bottled water­ by promoting healthy, great-tasting hydration – anytime, anywhere, and for everyone.

Before starting Lemon Perfect, Yanni served as an assistant men’s college basketball coach, with stops at Nevada, California, Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Oklahoma. In his 10 years coaching college basketball, Yanni’s teams reached the NCAA Tournament six times.

Location Location: Atlanta, Georgia

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