As consumer preferences for more nutritional beverages become increasingly intense, food and beverage companies are looking for new ways to deliver the bubbly sensation consumers love outside of their trademark unhealthy soda products. This challenge is what enabled SodaStream to work its way into 20% of homes in Finland and Sweden, delivering home carbonation for average consumers.
Despite its success in European countries, SodaStream has struggled in the US (just 1.5% of homes), prompting a drastic change in messaging. What was once marketed as a home-based soda replacement with the slogan, “set the bubbles free” has become a home carbonated-water solution for “water made exciting."
SodaStream’s shift in messaging is a microcosm of a much larger food and beverage trend. As consumer preferences change, the food and beverage industry is pivoting toward sparkling waters and “clean label” craft sodas to create more nutritional brand images.
Bottled water will soon overtake soda in terms of consumption in the United States. While sparkling water is only a small part of this growing demand for nutritional beverages, the segment grew significantly while sodas continued to fall. While Coke and Pepsi consumption fell a couple of percentage points each, the sparkling water segment grew nearly 29% in 2015.
In the wake of this sparkling water growth, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have launched their own brand extensions in this market segment—Minute Maid Sparkling and Aquafina Sparkling, respectively. The goal of these products is to deliver low calorie (under 50 per bottle) beverages that eliminate many of the artificial ingredients that consumers now avoid.
Aquafina Sparkling, in particular, fits into a wider brand marketing campaign called “For Healthy Bodies.” In an effort to push the benefits of drinking water (both still and sparkling) to consumers, Aquafina’s mission is to convey the “feel-good” moments the body experiences after drinking these beverages.
According to Linda Bethea, Senior Director of Brand Marketing at Aquafina, “with Aquafina Sparkling, we hope to provide our fans with another fun way to keep their bodies happy and hydrated."
The industry is a long way away from replacing soda with strictly nutritional beverages, but it’s clear that incumbent food and beverage players are shifting their focus to prepare for a much more health-conscious consumer base both now and in the future.
Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream, has said that “we feel like we are now at the early stages of a revolution in the beverage industry in America.” As such, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are far from the only companies innovating to deliver a more nutritional “bubbly” experience.
The simple truth is that consumers are increasingly abandoning traditional sodas in spite of efforts by incumbents such as selling higher-priced mini cans for portion control. Joining the sparkling water and craft soda movement to satisfy the persistent desire for fizzy drinks will help these companies survive as health trends continue to grow.
The shift toward sparkling water and nutritional beverages in general is an important one for incumbent food and beverage companies, but it’s far from the only health trend for them to address.
If you want to learn more about the evolution of junk food and the specific health trends you need to adapt to in the food and beverage industry, contact Signals Analytics for a free demo of the Signals Playbook™.
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Written by Eric Blum
Eric Blum is the Executive Vice President of Food & Beverage Accounts at Signals Analytics, a Decision Science as a Service company, that enables global organizations to continuously experience the “aha moment” through Signals Playbook™, a cloud-based analytical intelligence platform that transforms the world’s unconnected data into actionable insights to enhance customer experience, optimize product portfolio health and propel innovation. Eric is a Senior Marketing executive with 16 years experience from the leading food company worldwide, Nestlé, and 5 years as entrepreneur and consultant in Israel. Eric brings strong expertise in brand strategy and implementation, product and business development, for both retail and out-of-home.