With demand for enhanced waters showing no signs of abating, it is clear that consumers continue to seek the benefits of vitamins and other specialty ingredients in their beverages.
According to a Nielsen study released in November, the unsweetened flavored water market is growing faster than any other segment in the $11 billion bottled water industry in the U.S. It has experienced 400% growth over the last two years.
“In bottled water it’s the ability to take a bottle of plain water and move it in a direction that’s more functional, creating energy elements, fortifying it with flavor, calcium or protein,” said Open Pantry Senior Vice President Jim Fiene.
Innovation is critical to this category. “We hear that people don’t consume enough protein, and Kellogg’s response is to come out with protein water,” Fiene said. “Coke’s acquisition of VitaminWater speaks volumes for their strategic direction.”
Enhanced waters may well become the next generation of energy drinks, creating even more uncertainty in choosing which drinks to carry.
While flavored waters remain a high-growth segment, 58% of the 94 buyers of specialty waters reported presentations from less than half of the five major players in the category. Twenty-one percent reported no sales presentations at all.
The key decision makers in CSD’s Brand Preference Study identified Glaceau VitaminWater (Coca-Cola Co.), Gatorade Propel (PepsiCo) and SoBe Life Water (PepsiCo) as top performers and Metromint as an honorable mention.