In 2019, The Coca-Cola Co. identified an unmet need among mainstream water drinkers for more engaging flavor variety. This presented an opportunity to drive continued growth within the water category by expanding upon its premium water brand, smartwater.
Beverage industry data showed that flavored water led the growth in the booming premium water category, and consumer research noted that 60 percent of mainstream water drinkers were willing to trade up to premium flavored water at a higher price point. With this in mind, Coca-Cola looked to expand upon the already robust product offerings within its smartwater portfolio by adding still, flavored varieties.
Looking to differentiate these products and expand the category as a whole, Coca-Cola drew flavor inspiration from the "spa water" trend. During the time of development, social conversation around spa water was increasing almost 25 percent year over year. And there was a more than 30 percent increase in consumers looking for water products that felt like a reward or indulgence. Coca-Cola curated a portfolio of flavors that encapsulated the spa water movement, maximizing their appeal to mainstream water drinkers.
The move accomplished its goal of bringing new drinkers into the category with the timely, innovative launch of smartwater still flavors. In the first month of launch, 55.7 percent of households that purchased smartwater still flavors were new to the smartwater portfolio.
Additionally, not only were the smartwater still flavors a success for the brand, but they also grew the overall flavored, ingredient-enhanced water category. In 2020, despite the pandemic and corresponding economic downturn, smartwater still flavors were a top driver in the category, responsible for $25 million in growth for the convenience channel.