Sales of plain PET bottled water may be flat, but there’s significant action in flavored and enhanced waters. Glaceau’s Vitaminwater Zero saw triple-digit sales increases in all three channels (excluding Walmart) for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 7, according to the SymphonyIRI Group. Sales of the company’s Smartwater jumped 25% during the same period.
Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s also have introduced private-label electrolyte-enhanced still waters.
More growth could be coming from unsweetened products. John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest, said that while unsweetened flavored and enhanced waters remain a small part of the business, they are a segment worth watching. “I think we’ll see more of these products that offer a bit of flavor over the next year,” he said.
Gary Hemphill, SVP information services at Beverage Marketing Corp., called the products a “reflection of the innovation in the marketplace and the continued movement toward healthier refreshment.” Sicher sees more consumer interest in functional beverages, and this segment appeals to consumers’ desire for “hydration.”
Ayala Laufer-Cahana, founder of Herbal Water, believed consumers want flavor but not calories. Herbal Water unsweetened still and sparkling waters, sold in national supermarkets, come in sophisticated and complex flavors, such as cloves/cardamom/cinnamon and lemongrass/mint/vanilla.
Hint, another naturally flavored still water, has had sales increases of 50% per year, according to COO Theo Goldin. The product is sold in Duane Reade stores and in supermarkets. Both Herbal Water and Hint recently introduced sparkling water line extensions.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Beverages Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.