As it seeks to expand the presence of its own imprint, Prince & Spring, online retailer Boxed is eager to get in on the $558 million private label sparkling water market, which grew 9% last year according to data from IRI.
In April, the store made its entrance into the space with the launch of Stellar Seltzer in 12 oz. cans. The four-SKU line of naturally flavored, zero calorie sparkling waters is the next step in Boxed’s plan to feed the beverage segment of its private label business with engaging brands that can compete in high velocity foundational grocery categories such as water.
Speaking with BevNET last week, Jeff Gamsey, VP of private label at Boxed, said the company has taken brand-centric approach to developing items that can compete in crowded spaces at retail. Stellar Seltzer is the second private label beverage to be released under its own sub-brand following electrolyte infused LYT Water. The store currently sells over 100 items under the Prince & Spring mark, including coconut water.
“Despite our limited assortment strategy, we carry 31 different sparkling waters and seltzers,” he said. “It’s a big trip driver, the products are highly consumable.”
In addition to competing on price — a 24-pack of 12 oz. cans currently goes for $8.99 on the site — Gamsey said Stellar Seltzer has been formulated to be more carbonated than LaCroix. The line is available in grapefruit, lemon, tangerine and lime varieties, with further flavors set to follow later this year.
Gamsey said going forward Prince & Spring will look to introduce incremental innovations to its lines and inject a distinct personality for brands via dedicated social media accounts. He cited Fruitmojis, a fruit snack shaped like emojis, as an example of the company moving toward trends such as clean label and better-for-you; the line does not use high fructose corn syrup and is vegan friendly.
“Design and our approach to brand is cohesive (across categories),” he said. “Even though the true brand type products like Stellar and LYT Water are designed to have their own identity and personality, all of our products are infused with creativity and wit.”
So far this year, the push appears to be yielding results: the first quarter of 2019 saw Prince & Spring achieve its highest sales ever, according to the company, while Stellar Seltzer is now a Top 50 item for the store. However, the brand’s future may reside offline as well, as the company is exploring potentially stocking private label items at retail stores.