Progressive Grocer

DEC 2016

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52 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | December 2016 T he water category is anything but bor- ing. New products, such as naturally flavored low- and no-calorie still and sparkling waters and plant waters are bringing continued innovation, growth and new users to the category. Plant waters, including coconut, aloe, maple, cactus, prickly pear, and other tree and plant waters, topped $501 million in sales, with 11 percent growth for the 52 weeks ending Sept. 4, according to SPINS data. Refrigerated plant waters, with $37 million in sales for the period, grew 18.5 percent — twice the rate of equivalent shelf-stable plant waters. Despite their slower growth, shelf-stable plant waters saw sales of $453 million for the period and generated the bulk of the segment's sales. Chains such as Kroger, Ralphs and Vons, and even value players such as Shoppers Food & Phar- macy, have expanded shelf space for plant-based waters. Waters, Waters Everywhere A new wave of refrigerated plant- based waters is creating even more excitement. "e numbers suggest that the innovation in this category is launching through the refriger- ated section," says Kora Lazarski, senior strategic alliance manager at Chicago-based SPINS. "Once maple water took off, it was off to the races for the category. Everyone started tapping everything. We've seen many more new product launches in the past two years." Consumers are just as likely to find the latest prod- ucts at a conventional supermarket as in a specialty market or health food store. "People used to have to go to specialty retailers to get healthy, natural prod- ucts, but there's been a big shift in the pendulum as mainstream grocery retailers have adapted," notes Tom Zummo, CEO of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based True Nopal Cactus Water, a subsidiary of True Me Brands. New versions of plant-based waters that boast added hydration benefits and on-trend, natural fla- vors are stealing share from carbonated soft drinks. Several manufacturers have introduced single- ingredient watermelon waters. World Waters, which markets the Wtr Mln Wtr and DrinkMaple brands, recently launched DrinkMelon, an organic watermelon water. "We're getting more exposure at chains like Ralphs and Fred Meyer," says Allison Frazier, marketing manager at the St. Albans, Vt.- based company. Taste Nirvana, based in Walnut, Calif., has debuted all-natural Coco Aloe, a beverage that combines Taste Nirvana coconut water and aloe vera for a new "superdrink." "Coco Aloe has 2 grams of natural fiber per bottle and no added preservatives," observes Tiffany Wattanaporn, director of PR and marketing for the family-owned company. "Aloe is a big trend right now because it's an anti-inflamma- tory and is good for digestion." Hyping Hydration Other brands are hyping the hydration of their bev- erages. e Maple Guild, based in Island Pond, Vt., has launched a line of seven flavored waters enhanced with antioxidants, electrolytes, B vitamins and green tea extract. True Nopal cactus water also features a combination of antioxidants and electrolytes. Verday Chlorophyll Water, part of the Mumbai, India-based Chlorophyll Brands portfolio, has de- buted three water flavors — watermelon, cucumber, and lemongrass with ginger — formulated with the antioxidant and cleansing properties of chlorophyll. Happy Tree is positioning its lemon-flavored maple water, which contains only 6 calories per serving, against traditional sugary lemonades. "We don't think this is a niche business," insists Ari Tol- win, CEO of the Grahamsville, N.Y.-based manu- facturer of maple water-based beverages. "We're looking at all of the things consumers are drinking Tap into Flavor New waters blur lines with other beverage categories. By Barbara Sax Beverage Suppleme N t "Once maple water took off, it was off to the races for the category. Everyone started tapping everything." —Kora Lazarski, SPINS

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