While the announcement that Sparkling Ice would be launching a new tea brand took many by surprise right before the NACS (Natural Association of Convenience Stores) Show in Las Vegas, it wasn’t a secret that the brand was tinkering with innovation. The real trick was the speed with which the first sub-line of one of the country’s fastest-growing brands moved from an experiment to a full-blown national campaign.
Still, Kevin Klock, the CEO of Talking Rain, Sparkling Ice’s parent company, explained that the fast expansion was one that was fueled by retailer demand and had been vetted by distributors, as both are groups that have been seeking new sources of volume growth even in tightly-packed incremental spaces. For Klock, the overlay between the growth of sparkling water, where his brand has traditionally played, and tea, which has been growing as a category, meant that the combination was feasible.
Even with the presence of major players like Lipton, Nestle, AriZona, and Coke in the category, he said, there was an opportunity to bring in a new, single-serve brand that could add to the company’s volume.
“We’re between categories,” Klock told BevNET during a videotaped interview on the floor of NACS. “That’s where the white space is.”
There’s also dark space for Sparkling Ice as well, at least in the time of day in which consumers enjoy the product, Klock admitted. The tea allows consumers another reason to drink the brand, he said, beyond their normal day-to-day consumption. If Sparkling Ice has grown because of “water fatigue,” he reasons, the tea may work for consumers who may not simply want another one of the drinks.
Plus, the extra brand facings don’t hurt, he added.
“It’s a category that we felt needed a little ‘Sparkling Ice innovation’ in it,” Klock said, in the video, above, which also discusses the company’s volume aims and overall plans for the convenience channel.