By: Atoosa Jalali
Delaram Mahboobin, marketing manager of Happy Life Energy Drink, one of the better-known distributors of energy drinks in Iran, was born in 1988. Delaram studied Molecular Biology as an undergraduate student followed by MBA graduate school.
How do you see the FMCG industry in Iran?
FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) means goods that are more popular and quick to consume. Due to the sense of loyalty and appeal they instill in customers, sales of these products has been increasing in Iran. Perhaps another reason for the growth in sales of FMCG is the existence of an appropriate retail market in Iran.
Please tell us about the history of energy drinks in Iran if you can.
The first energy drink brand to start operating in Iran was Hype and that was around 2014, but then Red Bull arrived and was able to quickly establish itself with a huge amount of marketing in the country. With Red Bull Worldwide Marketing in full gear, Hype also started marketing extensively and successfully moved forward along Red Bull’s footsteps. After the ban on imports and the suppression of black-market goods, Hype turned to importing its raw materials and producing their product inside Iran. This move was very helpful to Hype’s bottom line as its competitors were importing the finished products and this gave a significant price advantage to Hype energy drinks.
Where and how did your cooperation with this industry start?
After finishing my undergraduate studies, I worked as a product sampler at Hype, and later I transferred to the sales department in the company. Working in a new capacity, I realized sales and marketing was what I enjoyed and wanted to pursue more seriously, so I left the company and started studying toward an MBA. After I got my degree Hype asked me to go back and work for them. So it’s been about 8 years that I have been working in the marketing and market management department at Hype. My entry into the job market started with the Hype family which has given my life a very good direction.
What do you think is behind the popularity of energy drinks in Iran?
The popularity of energy drinks began with the Red Bull brand. Everywhere we looked, there was a Red Bull ad and it was sponsoring teams and sporting events. With its widespread publicity soon all those who needed more energy for daily activities or sports and were not interested in the taste of coffee turned to energy drinks like Red Bull. Gradually energy drinks became part of the lifestyle of ordinary people.
What are the best brands in Iran’s energy drink market?
Among energy drinks, Red Bull is in first place in sales and public acceptance due to its very good branding and excellent aroma and taste according to market studies. Based on sales records, Hype energy drinks come second due to strong branding, and third place goes to Life.
Do energy drinks really affect athletes’ performance?
According to research on energy products, these products have a positive effect on the performance of athletes. Energy products, from bars to drinks, contain caffeine, sugar and Vitamin B all of which rapidly increase metabolism and give the body that extra energy when it most needs it, and for athletes, help improve performance.
Can Iran export such products? Is it in your plans?
Iran is very active and serious in the field of food exports and certainly has the ability to export energy drinks. As such, many Iranian beverage companies contemplate export of their products overseas, and the Hype Group is no exception.
Who is your toughest competitor?
There are many emerging brands in the current market, but due to the strong market share and brilliant history of Hype in Iran, it does not have a tough competitor. One can even say that Hype determines the price and sets the standards for the market, but maybe we can consider Life and Sunich drinks as competitors of Hype brand.
How much has consumption of energy drinks increased in Iran? What percentage?
As research and statistics have just started in Iran on this industry, the exact number has not been determined yet, but we do know that the consumption of energy drinks is 4 times that of other beverages.
How do you see the future of energy drinks in Iran?
I believe that energy drinks will be around for a long time. Their mode of consumption and their ingredients may change, but energy drinks have become a part of people’s lives and cannot be stamped out. At the same time, companies that have just entered this industry should be aware that key to their future success is having a distinctive feature and offering something new about their drinks and other products. Overall, given that energy drinks have proven to be health wise harmless to the public, we will witness the continued growth of this industry.