Designing New Beverage Flavours Inspired by India

Project Brief

An international beverage major sought to establish guiding principles to help formulate a new ethnic sparkling beverage and anticipate evolving expectations of future consumers for the Indian market using a human-centered approach. The objective of the engagement with Quicksand was to accomplish this through the exploration and investigation of three key lines of inquiry:

  1. What currently motivates consumers’ ethnic beverage choices?

  2. What will convince consumers to embrace a new ethnic sparkling beverage?

  3. What constitutes a truly differentiated beverage experience for consumers?


The project began with a landscape review of more than 60 existing beverages through in-depth secondary research. This led to the establishment of 10 broad categories for the market. Once this foundational research was completed, the project team embedded themselves in-context across multiple Tier I and Tier II cities and towns across India, where they engaged with nearly 350 consumers and retailers in order to develop a holistic understanding of ground realities with respect to India’s ethnic beverage market.

What are user preferences? What products are available and how does this vary across locations? What is the route to market for competitors? With each engagement, the answers to these queries, and many more, became clearer and clearer. The insights derived from the field research activities led to the development of both product and experience strategies for the client to take forward.


The scope of the research and the diversity of the study locations facilitated a nuanced understanding of India’s ethnic beverage market. The project team evaluated manifold flavors, packaging options, marketing approaches, and more in order to arrive at three distinct product opportunities for consideration. Taking a human-centered approach to the research allowed for a deeper understanding of preferences, needs, and opportunities in the market for all stakeholders across the value chain.

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