Covers Products: wtrmlnslce BLOOD ORANGE WTR, wtrmlnslce ORIGINAL, wtrmlnslce TART CHERRY WTR
As announced in August, WTRMLN WTR is getting into the sports drink category with the launch of WTRMLNSLCE. The move not only diversifies the company’s offerings, but it also puts it into a much higher velocity category than it has existed in previously.
Launching with four flavors, including Original, Tart Cherry, Blood Orange, and Lemon Ginger (which we did not get to sample), the product contains 25 percent watermelon juice, is low in sugar (2g with no added sugar), and contains only 30 calories per bottle. On the functional side of things, WTRMLNSLCE features many of the same functional ingredients as the core line including citrulline for muscle recovery and lycopene for antioxidants.
As for the flavor profile, WTRMLNSLCE drinks very much like a flavored water rather than something that is cut from the cloth of traditional -- and typically sweeter -- sports drinks. There's definitely some watermelon juice flavor to these products, although it is much more subtle than what you'll find in the flagship line.
However, the flavors for each of the SKUs comes from flavorings as opposed to fruit juice. This makes the differences between the drinks pretty subtle and, in some cases, such as in the Tart Cherry, the added flavoring really overpowers the watermelon juice. While it might be hard to maintain the $2.99 price point by utilizing fruit juice instead of flavorings, we’re pretty sure that it would improve the flavor.
Still, if we compare WTRMLNSLCE against the competition, we think that the line is in a pretty good spot. Other products, which have heavier flavors, added sweeteners, or a strong aftertaste, simply aren’t as refreshing and crushable as WTRMLNSLCE. And there’s something about its flavor and positioning that makes it feel more wholesome and nutritious.
On the outside, the product is packaged in a 16 oz. PET bottle that is very much a staple of both the enhanced water and sports drink categories. The design has a soft and colorful appearance to it, which is a nice contrast to the more technical and often male-oriented designs of other products in these categories. That said, our guess is that this product’s most direct competition is Bai.
We have two points of constructive feedback for the design that they've created. First, we feel as though the flavor name needs to be much more prominent than it currently is. When we first picked up this product, we found ourselves scanning around the label trying to find it; tucking it in the top right corner requires you to read from the bottom of the label up.
Second, there's the company's use of abbreviated text in both WTRMLN WTR and WTRMLNSLCE. Simply put, we’re not sure that what has worked for the company in the premium juice set will work for the company in a higher velocity and more mainstream category -- especially when they’ve used it in an even heavier dose than on their flagship product. The issue that we have is that it requires to stop and think to read it, which is quite different that something simple like “Bai.”
Overall, we think that WTRMLNSLCE is a big step forward for WTRMLN WTR. As with any company entering a new category with a new product line, there’s some room for improvement, but the value proposition that they’ve created is a good foundation for the company to jump into the sports drink category.