When Starbucks bought Evolution Fresh in 2011, it was betting on the growth of a burgeoning trend for healthy beverage consumption. Five years later, the risk paid off as consumers seek drink alternatives that are caffeine, sugar and preservative free.
While the demand for sugar-laden sodas have been in steady decline over the past 2 years, the opposite has been true for the sparkling water category. One company, La Croix, serves as an exemplary brand for the rising trend. The Wisconsin-based company has been around since 1987 providing American Midwestern soccer moms caffeine-free, preservative-free, lightly-flavoured sodas. Since its distribution expanded on a national scale to big box retailers such as Walmart & Target in 2009, sales have tripled to $175 million; achieving cult-like status to hipsters and anti-hipsters alike.
At $13 billion, bottled water continues to dominate the water market; albeit at a slightly lower growth rate than sparkling water. As such Nestle, Coca-Cola and Pepsi invested heavily in their water brands in anticipation of the continued growth. Although it’s worth nothing that both Coca-Cola’s Smartwater and Pepsi’s Aquafina have rolled out their own versions of flavoured sparkling water to further infiltrate the market. We’re also seeing newcomer like Boxed Water pave the way for water consumption the millennial way – by offering its bottled water in completely recyclable packaging and by planting trees in return for social media currency.
Apart from the plethora of juice brands emerging in the market (Pressed Juicery , Blue Print, Suja to name a few), we are also seeing the popularity of health drinks such as Kombucha and Pom juice on the rise.
In terms of micro-trends, several upscale New York restaurants are offering beet juice concoctions as wine alternatives. At hip cafes around the world, Turmeric lattes, otherwise known as golden milk, are being served as healthier coffee alternatives. These have yet to be commercialised on a large scale but we suspect it’s only a matter of time.
By Carol Lin