V3 Gourmet may be a new name in the luxury lifestyle segment, but not to worry: It knows what it’s doing. Behind the Singapore-based venture are veteran entrepreneurs Ron Sim, Chairman, and Taha Bouqdib, CEO. It is the world’s first global luxury group dedicated to developing and managing luxury gourmet F&B lifestyle brands, with the aim of investing USD100 million into the industry in the next three years.
The vision for V3 Gourmet, which currently has the wildly successful TWG Tea and Bacha Coffee brands under its belt, is to invest in creating and sustaining legacy F&B lifestyle brands that aim for longevity as opposed to short-lived trendiness. It also works towards recognizing and meeting the needs of a rapidly growing mass affluent consumer base, which represents one of the world’s largest growth opportunities for consumer brands.
We recently caught up with Bouqdib, V3 Gourmet’s CEO, to let us know more about the new endeavor, as well as help us understand the state of Singapore’s luxury lifestyle segment – especially at a time where priorities are constantly changing.
(Related: Luxurious meals for the New Year)
As someone in the business of luxury experiences, can you comment on the state of luxury in Singapore?
There is huge growth in the prestige segment, which represents one of the world’s largest uptrend opportunities for consumer brands. In Southeast Asia alone, especially in Singapore, this segment is growing faster than any other income segment in the region. So, the face of luxury is changing.
We foresee a growing demand for accessible luxury. There are opportunities for traditional gourmet brands to grow if we reshape them for relevance among the prestige segment consumers.
V3 Gourmet sees opportunities within the luxury F&B concepts with a new vision for the brick-and-mortar supported by e-Commerce retail mix. This also anticipates where the needs of the broader market will shift in time to come.
Following the events of the pandemic, people’s priorities have shifted. What are consumers looking for now?
The ability to experience, discover, and shop online has become a way of life.
The major restrictions on personal mobility brought on by the pandemic has led to a shift in consumer habits. Segments of sales grew for TWG Tea and Bacha Coffee. The combined e-Commerce sales growth of two brands from 2019 and 2020 is 99%. The shift towards making purchases online remain consistent even when restrictions are lifted.
However, while V3 Gourmet’s core audience of prestige segment consumers actively consume digital media, they also enjoy immersive purchasing experiences. The human touch still matters in luxury. Whether in-store or remotely, these interactions will play a critical part in maintaining customer loyalty.
Furthermore, luxury gourmet brands are the first point of recall for consumers who want to do gifting, so there is a market shift towards making purchases that create opportunities for connecting with loved ones.
Brand repositioning is a popular catchphrase these days, where luxury and its approach has been turned on its head. In a way, luxury brands are more inclusive rather than exclusive. Is this a direction V3 Gourmet is heading towards too?
Yes, we believe that luxury brands need to be more inclusive rather than exclusive.
The prestige segment market has tremendous potential, especially in F&B retail lifestyle because these consumers look for experience. Our vision of creating a holistic customer experience is apparent in our brands TWG Tea and, more recently, Bacha Coffee. This extends to all touch points in the customer experience — including packaging luxury products beautifully.
However, we know that if the quality of the product itself fails to meet the expectations our customers develop based on their experience, the brand and the business will have no longevity. When we create gourmet luxury brands, you can be certain that it is for legacy. For this to succeed, it is vital that we get the quality of the product and its value proposition right.
What’s your long-term goal?
The vision for V3 Gourmet is to invest in creating or reinventing legacy F&B lifestyle brands engineered for longevity. We believe that this will renew and sustain luxury F&B businesses that are relevant to the growing prestige segment.
We do this successfully by striking a balance between the following priorities:
a) Strategically embracing innovation by preserving legacies by giving them renewed relevance
b) Addressing the needs of a growing accessible luxury and prestige segment
As we gradually emerge from the impact of Covid-19, we aim to expand quite aggressively. Anticipated openings for Bacha Coffee include France, Italy, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.