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Water Enhancers: Squeezing Life into USA Squash/syrups

20 June 2013

Liquid water enhancers are big news in the United States with significant growth seen in 2012 and further development expected for 2013 and beyond. The product plays to the consumer desire for something different from regular, non-flavoured packaged water.

A key driver behind the success of liquid water enhancers is the consumer knowledge that it is important to stay hydrated, coupled with many consumers often finding the mouth-feel of water unpalatable. Water enhancers are additionally designed with portability in mind; the packaging seen on the market offers convenient palm-size packs with secure flip top lids. This angle, coupled with the zero calories per serving proposition mirrors the current wellness trend. A zero calorie water enhancer meets the modern consumer’s demands for health-conscious convenience.

As consumers are ever-concerned about their purse strings, Canadean estimates that much of the water being consumed with water enhancers is actually tap water that has been used to refill packaged water bottles. In this sense, water enhancers play a third role: that of affordable innovation; something exciting and novel.

The trend, although seen with several brands, has been spearheaded by Kraft Food’s MiO, which recorded dramatic growth in 2012. Kraft supported the release of MiO with significant investment and a three-pronged multi media promotional focus. The innovative format has already been rolled out to Kraft’s Kool-Aid and Crystal Light brands which were previously only available in powdered form. Uptake of other key players’ introductions has also been seen, such as Coca-Cola’s Dasani Drops, which complements its Dasani packaged water line, its new Powerade Zero Drops, and Heartland’s Go Splash range.

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More stellar growth is anticipated for 2013 as ‘me-too’ brands and diversifications flourish. Already the USA has seen Private Label water enhancers from Wal-Mart and Supervalu. This, plus the launch of Kool-Aid Liquid and Crystal Light Liquid, means that different consumer groups are being targeted and additional price points reached.

Canadean reports that water enhancer volumes are forecast to hit in the region of 500 m litres for 2013 as a whole; although this figure does not take into account the products which are now being launched with energy, sports and tea propositions. Water enhancers are branching out into functional variants which offer the increasingly value-conscious consumer something more.

The trend for diversification within what is essentially a simple beverage has been seen with Coca-Cola’s innovative Coca-Cola Freestyle machines introduced in 2009, which are present in numerous locations throughout the US. Water enhancers are similarly being positioned as doubly-customisable, with consumers invited to share their ‘cocktails’ on social media platforms.

The water enhancer concept seems to be ticking all the boxes for consumers and producers, particularly in a market where the dilutables industry is comparatively small.

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