Enhanced Options Divide a Category

Water is simple. Enhanced water, on the other hand, grows more complicated each year.

What started off as an easy formula of vitamins plus water equals profit, has been tugged by newcomers in directions so divergent that some products scarcely seem to belong in the same category. Zero-sweetener, zero-calorie essence waters share little with lightly-sweetened beverages containing active bacterial cultures.

Even where the old formula holds, the category is far from routine.

PepsiCo opened a salvo on category-leader vitaminwater this year when they aired a Propel commercial pointing out that “some” enhanced waters contain 125 calories per bottle – the equivalent of 492 sit-ups. The spot may ultimately cut both ways, though: it begs the question of what, exactly, consumers get from any enhanced water. After all, Pepsi’s own SoBe Lifewater contains a glaceau-like 100 calories per bottle. Now, both beverage giants are hawking low-calorie versions of those same brands. Cannibalization, anyone?

While big firms work on reducing calories in the bottle, they’ve already dropped prices on the bottle. vitaminwater frequently sells at 10 for $10 in grocery stores, as do its chief rivals, and Powerade Zero has appeared for 99 cents in convenience channels.

All that discounting can add up to thinned profit margins for everybody. Frank Zampardi, glaceau’s director of sales for the mid-Atlantic, defended the discounts as a powerful brand building strategy, however.

“We’ll keep running ‘10 for $10s’ for as long as they want,” he said at the National Association of Convenience Stores show.?

But nutritional broadsides and mutual price-strangling represent only the most visible action in this sector. A number of start-ups have now taken a lightly-flavored approach that stays away from vitamin loads. Honeydrop sweetens its organic, calorie-light waters with honey and fruit juice, and “essence waters,” like Hint and Ayala, eschew sweeteners completely.

Some functional waters, conversely, are trying to burnish their reputations by emphasizing on their own efficacy. Function even asked not to be included in an enhanced water update unless the story focused “on truly functional beverages.” Meanwhile, Joint Juice Fitness and Probiotic Health Drink (PHD) offer sheaves of medical studies to support daily consumption of their active ingredients.

All those products have targeted a fertile market. Regular bottled water has suffered over the last year, but vitaminwater has surged 36.4 percent. IRI reports that the brand now boasts $429,670,800 for annual sales, setting a strong precedent for retailers to stock similar products.

Clearly, there’s room to grow – and grow more complicated as young companies continue to introduce fresh ideas.

BRAND NEWS

Hint, Inc.

In addition to its nine existing flavors, HINT recently launched 4 more: Honeydew Hibiscus, Hibiscus Vanilla, Blackberry and Watermelon. HINT also signed a national deal with Whole Foods, and signed on VP of Sales Danny O’Connor, who served at Mistic, SoBe, glaceau and Fuze.

Eldorado Natural Spring Water

Eldorado has expanded its new line of Organic Vitamin Charged Spring Water to six flavors with the addition of Peach/Mango and DragonFruit to the original lineup. ?The new flavors – and soon the original ?four – have been reformulated to use ?only 16 grams of organic cane sugar ?per serving, low enough to qualify for ?sale to elementary school students.

H2Om LLC

H2Om Water is now available at Whole Foods Markets in all of California, Nevada and Arizona, as well as fine markets and retailers including The Lassen’s chain, Tommy K’s Vitamins, Akins-Chamberlins Markets, New Leaf Markets, California Co-ops and Yoga Studios. H2Om also recently celebrated signing with Tree of Life and UNFI, ?two of the largest natural health food ?distributors in the United States.

Jones Soda Co.

24c, the Multi-Vitamin Beverage distributed by Jones Soda Co., has added four new flavors to its line-up – Blueberry Grape, ?Kiwi Dragonfruit, Red Grapefruit, and Strawberry Lemonade. Chris Chelios of ?the Detroit Red Wings has also signed on ?as a 24c spokesperson.

ganic consumer products Ltd.

ganicwater recently won the gold prize for Best Label, and bronze in the category of Best Flavored Water at the 2008 annual Water Innovations Awards.

Nature 101

Vitamin + Fiber Water announced a new partnership with Southern Wine & Spirits. Vitamin + Fiber Water boasts more than seven grams of fiber in every bottle and has a high content of Vitamin C, B, A, and other essential antioxidants. Vitamin + Fiber Water comes in five flavors: OrangeUHappy, Mellow Mango, Pomehydrate, Lychee Luv, and Peach Ecstasy.

Cutting Edge Beverages

Cutting Edge Beverages introduced the first clear organically certified enhanced water. H2Organics combines low calories, low carbohydrates, low sugar and USDA certified organic labeling. The brand’s ten varieties include: ENERGY (blueberry peach), THINK THIN (lemon), FOCUS (strawberry), MELLO (mint), RELAX (grape berry), FLEXABILITY (strawberry apple), ANTIOXIDANT (pomegranate acai), FOCUS (orange tangerine), DEFEND (raspberry), and HYDRATION (green apple).

bot beverages

bot beverages announced its newest retail partner, Fairway Market, with locations throughout greater New York. All four varieties of bot will be sold in all four Fairway Market locations – Manhattan, Harlem, Brooklyn and Plainview, Long Island.

National Beverage

enVitam is a bilingual enhanced water. enVitam’s positioning targets today’s multi-cultural consumers with five flavors, including Pineapple/Maracuya Y Pina, and Orange/Naranja. The labels are written in Spanish and English, and include merchandising elements for truly bilingual branding. Asante (translation, “to Health”) debuted at the Stanford Cup LPGA in April 2008. Blueberry, Cranberry Goji and Pineapple Passion Fruit are among its nine flavors.

Maddie’s Beverage Company

Wateroos children’s water drink boxes gained distribution, adding Price Chopper, Roundy’s and Earth Fare to its list of retailers. In addition, the line is now being carried in a new natural food and beverage set at Babies R Us and Toys R Us nationwide. The line includes three flavored waters and one unflavored water. The company recently launched an on-pack promotion with PBS KIDS offering a free trial to PBS KIDS PLAY!.

Inov8 Beverage Company

For 2009, HYDRIVE is featuring new graphics and adding a new SKU: HYDRIVE A – Alertness Formula – kiwi strawberry flavor. All HYDRIVE flavors deliver full power energy with just 30 calories and 6 grams of sugar per 15.5 oz. re-sealable PET bottle. HYDRIVE is currently available in the Northeast and Midwest and is expected to roll out to other markets during 2009.

Next Generation Waters

Next Generation Waters’ (NGW) line of functional beverages hit South Florida shelves in November, launching Kick, Chill, Thin and Hot waters. Southern Wine & Spirits is leading NGW’s distribution, rolling out the first four beverages to regional retailers, with a national launch mid-2009. NGW supports WaterAid, an organization that aims to overcome poverty by enabling the world’s poorest people to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education.Ayala’s

Ayala’s Herbal Water is now a nationally available USDA Organic Certified flavored water. The brand offers six herbal flavors: Cinnamon Orange Peel, Lemongrass Mint Vanilla, Ginger Lemon Peel, Lavender Mint, Cloves cardamom Cinnamon, and Jasmine Vanilla. The product is available through many natural product distributors.

Deluxe Honeydrop

Deluxe Honeydrop is a new organic flavored water infused with a drop of organic honey and fruit juices. Containing 80 calories per 16.9 oz. bottle, Deluxe Honeydrop comes in four flavors: Bee Good (apple), Bee Alive (blood orange), Bee Calm (chamomile) and Bee Strong (blueberry). Studies suggest honey may alleviate sore throats and coughs, protect against diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, and reduce the effects of colitis.

Hydration Solutions, LLC

Drench Skin Rejuvenating Water promotes healthy skin, and recently announced a new distributor incentive program developed to increase distributor profit margins while expanding the brand’s distribution network.

Big Earth Brands, LTD

Vital Action Performance Water is a new performance water geared toward sports enthusiasts. VAPW is available in seven bold colors, each with a unique flavor and functional supplement. Vital Action Performance Water uses Fruit Up Premium, the all-natural sweetener made from a blend of clear fruit extracts. Big Earth Brands also introduced

Vital Lifestyle Water, a new, all-natural beverage that has 60 percent fewer calories, carbs and sugar per serving than other leading vitamin waters. Boasting seven multi-supplemented flavors, Vital Lifestyle Water can be found at a growing number of specialty and gourmet stores across the country as well as Super Target.

Adirondack Beverages

Adirondack Beverages’ new Enhanced Flavored Spring Waters blend B vitamins with the antioxidant benefit of Ginseng, and provide 10 percent Daily Value per 8 oz. serving of Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and additional antioxidant enhancement from Panax Ginseng. The company produces their Enhanced Flavored Spring Water in 16.9 oz. 6 pack and a 16.9 oz. 24-pack variety case.

New York Spring Water, Inc.

VBlast! launched regionally (Northeast) in April and is currently being handled by seven distributors, with negotiations in the process for national and international distribution. VBlast! is natural spring water with a patented cap on the bottle holding fresh liquid vitamins, which are released by the consumer with a twist of the cap.

H 10 O Beverage Company LLC

H 10 O Vitamin Infused Waters sponsored SCCA road racing champion Frank Sanchez and Sanchez Motor Sports. Frank is a veteran road racer of more than 35 years. H 10 O Vitamin Infused Waters and Sanchez Motor Sports recently unveiled the new H 10 O #0 Dodge Daytona Racecar for the 2009 racing season.

Lifestyle Beverages, Inc.

TrimWater is promoting its product with ‘Message in a Bottle’ with The Creative Coalition (A Hollywood/Entertainment ?advocacy group), and a ‘Be the Next Face ?of TrimWater’ model search with NEHST Studios. The search will continue into 2009 and include an integrated marketing relationship with a prominent international modeling agency.

Organica Beverages, Inc.

Organica Beverages, Inc. recently unveiled its flavored sparkling waters, Totally Organica. Certified organic by the USDA, Totally Organica’s sparkling water is available in eight flavors: lemon lime, cranberry, berry, green apple, raspberry, pomegranate, melon and mint. The drinks contain zero sugars, carbs, calories, sodium or artificial flavorings, sweeteners or color.

Mass Probiotics, LLC

Recently-released Probiotic Health Daily (PHD) uses a push-button cap to deliver live probiotics into flavored water. The probiotics remain alive in the cap for 90 days until consumption. Each product’s cap contains a special blend of six probiotic strains. To activate the cap, the consumer flips the cap open and presses the button to release ?the probiotics into the water. The drink changes color so consumers know the ?probiotics are fully mixed.

Soma Beverage Company

Exceeding expectations, Chocolatemint is now Metromint’s number three seller behind originals Peppermint and Spearmint. The SKU features an all natural combination of pure water, cocoa essence and real mint.

Clear Beverage Corporation

Kid Fuel is currently available in 4-packs, 12-packs and single serve. Kid Fuel is available at Albertsons in Southern California and Nevada, Bristol Farms, and has distribution agreements with Unified Grocers in Southern California, Northern California and Associated Foods Farr West (Utah). The 8 oz. Kid Fuel bottle features educational characters and an ergonomically designed bottle that features a non-spill re-sealable sports cap.

Skinny Nutritional Corp.

The company added 11 distributors for Skinny Water in the third quarter of 2008. These agreements include Anheuser-Busch, Miller-Coors, Red Bull and Snapple distributors. Some of the retail chains which carry the product include Target, 7-Eleven, SuperValu Acme Markets, Wawa Food Markets, Lukoil Kwik Farm stores, Hess Express ?and Shop Rite.

Mosse Beverage Industries

Mosse Beverage Industries introduced its line of Flavored Sparkling Water Beverages to the Northeast in June of 2007. The offering includes all natural sparkling beverages in 10 oz. glass bottles in White Grape, Black Grape, Coffee and Black Cherry flavors. Mosse is now available in Central Markets in Texas, Whole Foods in New York and New Jersey and several independent natural food and gourmet chain stores.

VitaZest Water

In recognition of National Diabetes Month, Salad Creations, VitaZest Water and the ?Diabetes Research Institute Foundation ?have teamed up to create a diabetes-?friendly, create-your-own-salad meal that ?is available in Salad Creations restaurants around the country. Customers can top ?off the meal with a vitamin and fruit ?enriched water by VitaZest.

Watermark Innovation

Pure Cool is now in Whole Food stores in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, and most recently, in select Whole Food stores in the northeast. Pure Cool’s distribution also includes all Wild by Nature stores on Long Island, and significant placement in many independent retailers in the Midwest, Southwest and Southeast due to a new distribution agreement with Tree of Life.

SoNu Beverages

This hockey season, SoNu water will be the official flavored water of the New York Islanders. SoNu Water flavors include pomegranate/acai; blueberry/pear; lemon/tangerine; strawberry/cranberry; mango/peach; and tropical/passion fruit.

Wild Waters

Wild Waters continues to grow and make improvements to the line. New packaging initiatives in 2008 include re-designed labels and the launch of a 6-pack for supermarket customers. Formula improvements include the addition organically evaporated cane juice. Wild Waters can now be found schools across the Northeast and major retailers including Shaw’s, Big Y and Stop n Shop, Costco and H.E.B.

Coca-Cola

Beginning in February 2009, DASANI essence will be offered in three lightly flavored varieties: Lime essence, Strawberry Kiwi essence, and Black Cherry essence. Packaged in 18.5 oz single PET bottles and 16 oz. 4-packs, the DASANI essence will be available in retailers across the country. The launch will be supported with sampling, in-store merchandising and a fully integrated media campaign.

Carpe Diem

The line of Carpe Diem botanic waters includes Harmonizing, Vitalizing, and Relaxing flavors. The botanic waters are available in California, New York, and Florida. UNFI handles the distribution of Carpe Diem to Whole Foods nationally. Also Carpe Diem is available to order from its website www.carpediem.com.

Alacer Corp.

After only a few months on the market, Emergen-C Health & Energy Water is now the number six enhanced water brand in Natural Foods. Emergen-C Health & Energy water was launched in March 2009. Like the vitamin C drink mix, Emergen-C Health & Energy Water contains 1,000 mg of vitamin C for immunity, B vitamins for a non-caffeinated energy lift and electrolytes for healthy hydration.

owater

owater added two new skus to its “infused” line of sports drinks (strawberry pomegranate and pineapple/orange/banana) and introduced sport owater, an unflavored, unsweetened, electrolyte-enhanced water. owater will continue to roll out their multi-market radio advertising campaign featuring founder Tom First talking about healthier hydration with athletes including NFL Hall of Famers, Steve Young and Brent Jones, Boston Red Sox player Jacoby Ellsbury and others.