Q&A: Nestlé Waters focuses on sparkling water with redesign, new flavors
Nestlé Waters North America has undertaken a makeover of its regional sparkling water portfolio, informed by its premium brands and a growing consumer interest in the category. The Stamford, Conn.-based company in early May rolled out advertising for the refresh given to its Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Ozarka, Poland Spring and Zephyrhills brands — which includes a proprietary new bottle design, a host of new flavors and the addition of cans.
Drug Store News spoke to Sam Martin, brand business director at Nestlé Waters North America, about the opportunity sparkling water is presenting.
Drug Store News: What’s the driving force behind Nestlé Waters’ sparkling water initiative? What made you want to go big on sparkling water for the regional brands?
Sam Martin: We really saw the opportunity to take the regional brands where we weren’t playing in the sparkling category already, but really with our understanding of the sparkling consumer to drive a little more synergy across our portfolio. Obviously, sparkling water has been on fire for a number of years, but when you think about the category, it’s still really only a 16% household penetration today, which means 84% of the households don’t buy it in any way, shape or form. When you look at something like diet soda, you see a big household penetration, and regular soda has an 80% household penetration, and we just saw the opportunity with the right brand to close that gap and saw a way to tap into the power of our spring brands to really grow.
DSN: You mentioned portfolio synergy — what sort of learnings did you take from your Perrier brand for this effort?
SM: Perrier is really a good representation of being the only brand in sparkling that’s really playing meaningfully across the three different formats — large PET, small PET and can. Perrier also, of course, has the glass offering, but what we see in that consumer is that they are very format-loyal. So you won’t have a large PET consumer buying cans, and that’s why in mainstream, no one’s really playing across all of those key formats. So we recognized the opportunity with the strength we already have on the PET side that adding cans to that portfolio would be a really big unlock for the consumer, especially. Secondly, flavors — about 80% of the categories’ reaction are on flavors. So being able to build out an important core set of flavors, but then also have some more experiential flavors like pomegranate lemonade that can help to bring in a new consumer, as well.
Also, from a packaging standpoint, Perrier has done a really nice job of developing packaging that balances that ability to deliver the message to the consumer around the fact that it is bubbled and flavored. It brings those both together, making it so we can take a few cues from there to help influence. But everything is rooted in the heritage and the equity that each of the six regional brands stand for. I think that was where we were able to take a few learnings, but also still translate them so they were really being defined for the regional consumer.
DSN: What would you say is driving consumer interest in sparkling water?
SM: When you look at what we think our portfolio can lend to that, obviously being a huge player in bottled water and helping to drive that dynamic in bottled water being bigger than soda, we have more households in our existing regional spring water business, just on the still side than the entire category of sparkling water. These are brands that are No. 1 in equity in each of their regions, well-known. Consumers choose them by and large in the still side water business. But when you look at those 38 million households, only 7 million of those households are buying sparkling water today. So, we see a huge opportunity to help that consumer understand some of the benefits, some of the great things about sparkling water by entering through the lens of our existing business with them.
Sparkling Ice intros limited-edition mystery flavor
Sparkling Ice is raising the stakes by introducing a new limited-edition mystery flavor, and an accompanying social media sweepstakes.
The #WhatTheFlavorSweeps allows consumers to cast their flavor guesses and be entered for a chance to win over $45,000 worth of prizes.
Sparkling Ice’s Mystery Flavor, will be available in retailers nationwide in May through the end of July. Wrapped in blue and red packaging, it contains a question mark inside the brand’s signature three-dimensional ice cube.
“We’re always looking for new ways to engage with our consumers, and with the launch of a new Mystery Fruit Flavor, we’re adding an element of surprise to our fun-loving brand,” Chris Hall, CEO of Talking Rain Beverage, said. “With the launch of our What The Flavor Sweepstakes, we’re eager to hear the guesses from our fans. Those with detective palates and who guess correctly will have a chance to win one of our exciting prizes.”
The Preston, Wash.-based company’s new flavor addition is a clear carbonated beverage that contains zero calories and sugars. It’s also made with antioxidants and vitamins, the company said.
Prizes consumers can enter to win range from an all-expense paid VIP trip to a music festival in April 2019, to a Bose Sound System, Sonos Wireless Speakers, iTunes gift cards, a year of free Spotify and more.
To participate in the contest, those interested can visit Sparkling Ice’s Facebook page.
Blast from the past: Zima returns to shelves
The ‘90’s are back with a vengeance and Zima is joining the nostalgia train by jumping right back on the shelf.
After debuting in 1994, the Chicago-based brand offered consumers a beverage that inspired countless other before disappearing from stores in 2008, the company said.
“Last summer, Zima was the ultimate comeback kid,” Dilini Fernando, senior marketing manager of innovation, said. “People were picking up a six-pack to relive their ’90s memories, to stock up for theme parties, or to just see what all the fuss was about. So, when it was time to decide if we were going to bring it back, we thought ‘why wouldn’t we?’”
2018 marks the return of Zima, but it’s not coming back alone. The brand is bringing with it Z2K, which means that beverage will be disappearing from shelves once again in a matter of time.
“Everyone needs to try Zima once — it is a novelty. If it’s not for the crystal-clear appearance and familiar citrus taste, it’s the iconic fluted bottle. So, if you didn’t get your hands on a six-pack last year, now is the time to see what all the hype is about and stock up,” Fernando said.
Zima is encouraging fans to showcase how they’re preparing for the end by using the hashtag #Z2K or by using Snapchat geo filters that will be popping up in mysterious places across the country.
To purchase the beverage, consumers should visit the company’s website for a store locator.