Business Environment

A health-conscious strategy deployed by a local drink-based startup【Jamu, Indonesia's leading medical drink】

2020/07/14

Jamu is a mixture of typical Indonesian herbs mixed with honey to make it easier to drink.

Before the first positive case of the new coronavirus was confirmed in Indonesia on March 2, while watching the news of the spread of infection in China, South Korea and Japan, only India and Indonesia have not had positive cases despite the overwhelmingly large population, there was a lot of wishful thinking on social media that turmeric (Kunyit), the common denominator between Indian curry and Indonesian cuisine, might have an anti-viral effect in the bodies of Indians and Indonesians.

It is true that turmeric and other herbal ingredients have been shown to have bactericidal and antibacterial effects, but at the time, I could not have imagined that these two countries were the only ones in Asia where the number of infected people has been increasing steadily as of July, four months later, and we were in the worst situation.

Turmeric, the yellow ingredient in curry, is said to be good for the liver after a hangover in Japan as well.

Temulawak, which is also a member of the ginger family and is native to Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula, is a clear Javanese word and, like turmeric, is effective in improving liver function, so it is a standard ingredient that Hepatitis patients must take.

Boil this down and drink it. The one on the right is a slice of the herb for Wedang Uwuh.

Serai (Lemongrass): disinfectant and analgesic
, Kayu Manis (Cinnamon): anti-diabetic, antibacterial and analgesic
, Jahe: antihypertensive
, Bulat Kapulogo: stomach, heart and bone
, Gula merah: coconut sugar
. Cabe Jamu: blood purification, fever reduction and stamina pic.twitter.com/XLReAO3UYz

The bottle of yellow powder (Serbuk) in the upper right corner contains a concentration of herbs representative of Indonesia, such as turmeric (yellow and white), ginger (yellow and red), and kencur (Galangal), all of which are rhizomes of the ginger family, lemongrass, which is the stem part from the leaves of the grass family that is essential for Thai cuisine, and cinnamon, which is the bark of a tree said to be the oldest spice in the world.

A mixture of these ingredients, mixed with honey and other ingredients, is called Jamu, a typical medical remedy that originated in Indonesia.

Health-conscious strategies deployed by drinks startups in the wake of the Corona pandemic

I found out in July 2010 that I was infected with hepatitis A, and for a few weeks before that I had a strange symptom of feeling sick but not vomiting, a fever of about 37.5 degrees, and a painful feeling when I lay on my back, which made me feel like my guts were rushing up and down.

I felt an obvious malaise but was too busy to go to the hospital, and finally, one morning I was shocked to find that my pee had turned orange, and for the first time I realized that I was sick with something.

At that time, I was not only busy, but also in the traffic jam caused by the construction of the Tol (Expressway) Cikarang Utama toll station, I was so fatigued that I didn't even know to what extent my health condition was due to my illness.

My blood test results showed hepatitis A positive and my white blood cells were reduced to half.

I suspect that the route of infection was caused by eating Indomie every day in a crumbling, unsanitary warung behind the factory after working late into the night at a customer's place in Jabababeka.

Ever since I was diagnosed with hepatitis A, I try to drink the tumulawak drinks whenever I see them. Right is Temulawak Rempah (herb) and left is Wedang Uwuh (hot drink with a piece of herb). By the way, Large size cup is super stylish. pic.twitter.com/WGz3x9rma7

Three of Indonesia's leading local drink-based startups, FORE, Kopi Kenangan and Janji Jiwa, had adopted a business model based on online ordering, while eat-in cafes were suffering from declining sales across the board due to the Corona pandemic.

They focus on ease of transport, ease of drinking, and Instagram-worthy cup design, and they have developed a kiosk-type multi-store operation with small spaces that does not emphasize eating in the store, and they believe that the UX (user experience) of getting together with friends and chatting over drinks is more important than the taste of the drinks themselves.

I've been curious about Kopi Kenangan's Jamu type of products for a while, and Kunyit Kelapa Delight (Coconut and Turmeric) is only available at Rp.68,000 a liter bottle, so I ordered it along with my bag and they mixed it up on the spot. Their sister products Jahe Jeruk Squash and Sari Asam Splash are out of stock, so maybe they're not selling well. pic.twitter.com/j4tXvqjDy2

And as the importance of boosting the body's immunity to prevent the spread of new coronaviruses is gaining attention, we offer a menu of herbs with the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties of curcumin, which is found in the rhizome of the ginger family, such as turmeric, tumulawack, and kuntur.

I suspect that the strategy of appealing to health is not always the right one, as its main customer base, teens and 20-somethings, want a sweet, calorie-heavy, cream-laden, visually-inspired drink that looks and feels more Instagrammable than a healthy drink.

After shopping at Fore and Kopi Kenangan, I bought myself a bottle of Janji Jiwa's Kopi Jahe (ginger) Rp.15,000. Everyone is drinking sweet whipped cream that looks bad for you. pic.twitter.com/QfWWeSzeiU

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