Alternative & Enhanced Waters: A New Opportunity for Brand Owners

 In Natural Products Insider, Press

Running WaterOne of the hottest beverage trends that I’ve been monitoring in recent months is alternative waters. What do I mean when I say alternative waters? While there is no standard definition, they can generally be categorized as single-serve ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages that include the term “water” in the product name. Many contain added flavor and/or vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12 or antioxidants.

Some of the recent product launches that fit into this category include Trimino’s protein-infused water, Suja’s probiotic waters, and wanu. By including the term “water” in the product name, the beverage creates a consumer perception that it is inherently better. Sales of bottled waters, which in many cases include alternative waters, have increased recently. According to Mintel, bottled water represented $15 billion in sales in 2015, and 34.7-percent sales growth is expected through 2020. As the “better-for-you” movement continues to spread, and with health and wellness at the forefront of consumers’ minds, I foresee continued growth for the alternative water category.

At Imbibe, we’ve noticed an increase in beverage development projects that capitalize on this phenomenon. In addition to brand owners requesting enhanced waters fortified with electrolytes and minerals, they also are looking to incorporate botanical infusions like cardamom and rose for added antioxidants and flavor. Caffeinated water is gaining momentum among consumers looking for alternatives to coffee and tea for their daily energy boosts. Waters fortified with protein are emerging as it offers a different user experience from traditional protein shakes. The number of opportunities for brand owners to fortify water with unique ingredients is quite vast.


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