Water is no longer for thirst. Water today must satiate, beautify, immunize, invigorate, sharpen and protect against aging.
Note to Marketing
With 31 percent growth in the first half of 2007, enhanced waters are flowing briskly in the functional beverage market. Both fortified and flavored waters soaked up $1.4 billion in 2006, and are projected to draw $3.5 billion in 2011, according to Gary Hemphill, managing director of Beverage Marketing Corp., New York. Marcia Mogelonsky, senior research analyst at Mintel, Chicago, adds enhanced bottled water consumption is highest among consumers aged 18-34 and in households with children.
Legacy industry brands, such as Coca-Cola, Cadbury-Schweppes and PepsiCo, excel at purveying continuous pipelines of tried-and-true branding, while actively developing value-added waters to their networks. Such waters are a big part of the performance-beverage phenomenon, which crosses category lines as it caters to a wide range of consumers with a number of unique needs.
Unlike the energy drinks and sports drinks categories, performance beverages are blurring category lines with “vitamin,” “mineral,” “antioxidant,” “natural flavor,” contents as the leading claims followed by "low/no/reduced calories," "low/no/reduced sugar," "low/no/reduced carbohydrates," “no artificial additives or preservatives” and "organic" labels to justify hefty margins.
But the smaller, pioneer companies showed the greatest strength and coordination in bringing about the flood of boutique waters. So much so the big guys went on a boutique water buying spree in 2006-2007, with Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. buying enhanced-water groundbreaker Glacéau, Whitestone, N.Y., (maker of Vitaminwater, Smartwater and Fruitwater) for an eye-popping $4.1 billion last year.
This followed Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo.’s acquisition of SoBe Life Water. Coke already had its own Dasani water brand and Pepsi also had created both Aquafina and Propel. Plano, Texas-based Cadbury Schweppes Plc bought Snapple, which released its Antioxidant Water line in late 2007.
I’ll Have Mine ‘Without’
Smaller counterparts still are demonstrating agility and ability to rapidly innovate to cater to emerging consumer needs. This, especially since organic and natural claims have shifted the category's priorities in 2007. Vital Lifewater, Calgary, Alberta, rides the cutting-edge of flavor trends with combinations such as aloe and starfruit, guava and chamomile plus the newly trendy dragonfruit and the superfruit superstar açai.
At under 40 calories per 20-oz. bottle, and with names such as Vitality, Calm, Energy and Burn, Vital Lifewaters are laced with such nutraceuticals as carnitine, chromium and taurine as well as the botanicals gotu kola, lemon balm and passion flower. All have B vitamins and one – Burn – has inositol and caffeine.
A natural touch
Another “north of the border” company, Vancouver, B.C.-based Clearly Canadian Brands, markets its Dailyvitamin, Dailyenergy and Dailyhydration as the only certified organic “essence” waters. Subtle hints of organic lemon or orange provide flavor without sweeteners. Modest amounts of fructose, malic acid, ascorbic acid and fruit aromatics in Dailyvitamin artfully override the bitter taste of the B vitamins and magnesium at just 25 calories per 20-oz. bottle.