Posted: Jul 16, 2015 at 9:45 AM
(Last Updated: Aug 03, 2015 at 10:59 AM)
With both a unique value proposition and package type, HFACTOR is an innovative approach to the packaged water category. The product is formulated with molecular hydrogen gas dissolved into water. Hydrogen provides a range of benefits, including energy and recovery, according to the marketer. From our perspective, this feels very similar to message that may oxygen-enhanced waters have attempted to pitch. And it also has a similar challenge in that this is a function that you cannot detect while consuming the product. The packaging -- or the “vessel” as HFACTOR calls it -- is an 8 oz. pouch that is commonly used for dry packaged snacks. The consumer can rip the top off using one of two pull tabs located at the top. This package, which was clearly not designed to house a liquid product, is required to keep the hydrogen inside the container (the company claims that standard water bottles will not). It’s a pretty clumsy experience, requiring the consumer to either use a straw (not included) or pour it in a glass. If you attempt to drink it from the pouch, it is pretty much impossible not to spill at least some of the liquid. Finally, there’s the design and branding, which feels very rough around the edges. The design is bare bones and technical to the point where we don’t think a consumer will really connect with it. If the company sticks with this packaging, making the design much more visually engaging is paramount. Ultimately, we feel as though this product is too clunky and complex for most consumers. The limited messaging, unique function, and non-standard packaging create too many risks and unknowns for a consumer to pick this up without direct education/interaction with the company. That’s a very challenging position for any upstart to be in. Overall, HFACTOR has some innovative aspects, but we feel as though they’ve been executed in such a way that they will strain its ability to be anything more than a very niche product.