With updated branding, a new plastic package for its carbonated line and an emphasis on wider distribution of its products, Hint is positioning itself for broad growth in 2014. Headquartered in San Francisco, Hint has been a longtime exhibitor of Winter Fancy Food Show (which is held inside the city’s Moscone Center) and showcased its new look and 16.9 oz. PET bottle amid its busy booth at the recently held event.
In an interview with BevNET CEO John Craven, Hint CEO Kara Goldin explained that while consumers are “moving away from soda,” they still want carbonation in their beverages, an opportunity that the company believes it can capitalize on with Hint Fizz. Moreover, Goldin views the PET bottle as a key to expanded distribution of Fizz in a number of retail channels, most notably in grocery, where a glass package has proved to be limiting.
“I think it will take it much further, especially on the grocery shelf,” Goldin said. “The biggest challenge that we had, in terms of placement on the shelf, was being in glass where many of the grocery buyers wanted to merchandise it with soda, [but] a number of our consumers really felt like it should be [with] water, and that’s where they were looking for it.”
Hint will support the new package and that of its still line with new front of the label branding — the company dropped “essence water” and instead features “unsweet” — and two new taglines: “the unsoda” and “water made tasty.” Both the still and carbonated lines will feature the new look and marketing approach, which includes a focus on products’ all-natural formulation, and an emphasis on other health-oriented aspects of the two lines, including vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free, all of which are growing in importance to consumers, Goldin said.
“I think consumers today are looking at ingredients, they’re looking at labels, they’re concerned about what they’re putting into their bodies,” Goldin said. “And I think, in many ways, consumers have caught up to what we’ve been trying to articulate for the last few years.”
The Hint Fizz PET bottle will roll out in February beginning in the New York City market and follow with distribution on the West Coast in late February/early March, Goldin said. Despite its larger size, the new package will be line priced with Hint Fizz glass bottles, and, in addition to the current 4-SKU range of flavors, will include a new grapefruit variety. Hint’s still line will also gain few additions, including apple, blood orange, along with raspberry, which will replace the brand’s raspberry lime flavor.
Watch this video, which was filmed at Hint’s booth at the Fancy Food Show, to hear more from Goldin about the brand’s positioning amid a sea of competing products, as well as Hint’s widening consumer base, albeit one that is still buoyed a demographic of female millennials. Goldin also discussed how online sales have been an increasingly significant part of Hint’s business, particularly as consumers have better access to information about packaged goods and seek out products for specialized use occasions.