In the latest escalation of the arms race in sparkling water, Nestlé Water North America is bringing out its biggest guns.
The company announced last week that it will debut a new sparkling portfolio to extend its six regional spring water brands, which include Poland Spring, Deer Park, Zephyrhills, Ozarka, Ice Mountain and Arrowhead. As part of comprehensive pivot towards carbonated, each line will feature new flavors, a new bottle design and packaging, including 12 oz. cans.
In a conversation with BevNET, Antonio Sciuto, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Nestlé Waters North America, said that trade acceptance for the new sparkling regional waters, which will appear on shelves starting in February, has already made the launch the most successful in the history of the company.
Sciuto said the company recognized an opportunity to build off the six regional brands, which bring in $2.5 billion in sales annually and have a household penetration of 38 million, of which only 7 million of those consume sparkling water of any kind. In a press release, Nestlé Waters North America stated that by 2020 it expects to nearly double household penetration for sparkling over 2016 levels.
“The reason why I’m excited and the reason why this launch will create disruptive growth in the category is because we are adding to the party 31 million households that love and trust and consume on a daily basis our regional spring water,” he said.
By rolling out new PET bottles, as well as cans, Sciuto said the sparkling products from Nestlé’s six regional brands will be able to meet consumers across different use occasions. The centerpiece is the new proprietary PET bottle design, which is meant to mimic the look of glass on-shelf and highlight the movement of bubbles in the water. Available in 20 oz. and 1 L sizes, they will also feature a new label that emphasizes the fresh fruit flavors and a colored cap. Sciuto said the new design achieved a seven times larger score in purchasing intent during consumer testing.
The 12 oz. cans will feature the same label design as the PET bottles. Rainbow packs featuring a variety of flavors will be available in 24-packs in both bottles and cans.
All six regional brands will offer the same assortment of flavors: Lively Lemon, Lemon Lime, Zesty Lime, Orange, Triple Berry, Summer Strawberry, Raspberry Lime, Black Cherry, Pomegranate Lemonade, and Simply Bubbles. Poland Spring is available in the Northeast; Arrowhead on the West Coast; Zephyrhills in Florida; Ice Mountain in the Midwest; Ozarka in Texas and the Southwest; and Deer Park in the Mid Atlantic.
The variety of packaging, Sciuto said, will allow the six regional brands to cover all retail channels. He said the launch will be supported by a multifaceted campaign, including significant television advertising, that will be the biggest marketing investment ever for Nestlé Waters North America.
From a macro level, the launch represents Nestlé leveraging its existing brands to take a larger piece of the rapidly growing sparkling water category, which is expected to reach $3.1 billion by 2022. Bolstering the company’s existing sparkling offerings, which includes premium imports S. Pellegrino and Perrier, with more lower-cost alternatives should help the company grow the segment. Sciuto said that regional spring water brands currently represent about 8.5 percent of Nestlé’s 42 percent share of the sparkling category.
“For me, the biggest measure of success is to really become a companion in consumer life in sparkling occasions,” he said. “Success will be a consequence of that.”