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Demand for Healthier Options Sparks Beverages Innovation, Growth

NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: The demand for healthier life choices is growing as consumers look for options that support their efforts to feel, look and live better. That trend is impacting all aspects of life, including beverages. As water and beverage companies seek to meet that need, the global health drinks market is projected to see promising growth, including a CAGR of 7.88% projected for the next five years. Bottled water is America’s favorite drink; the category outsold soda for the first time in 2016 and has continued to do so ever since. That growth comes from purchases made across all channels, including convenience store sales, e-commerce orders and the hospitality sector. Taking advantage of opportunities in all three channels, The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER) (Profile) and its impressive range of clean beverages are available in 75,000 locations around the country. In addition, the company is also expanding its product offerings, most recently launching a brand new line of six natural functional waters. Other companies looking to innovate and grow in the beverage space include the Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO), PepsiCo Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP), National Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ: FIZZ) and Flow Beverage Corp. (TSX: FLOW).

  • WTER offers an impressive line of production options both online and in retail locations
  • The company’s flagship product, Alkaline88(R), will soon be available in nine major U.S. airports
  • Last month, WTER signed an agreement with a turnkey e-commerce agency specializing in management of major retailers’ digital marketplaces, including Amazon and Walmart
  • Sales in the c-store space are up 228% this year alone, reports The Alkaline Water Company

Choosing Better-for-You Beverages

Mordor Intelligence reports that the health drinks market is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. The agency notes that “consumers are heeding the proliferation of linking food and beverage consumption with health. Owing to this factor consumers are now increasingly shifting toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle that aids in sustaining fitness while reducing the chances of lifestyle diseases.”

The report also notes that “consumers are increasingly seeking for functional and nutritional food and beverage products that they believe might aid in the body’s defenses and immunity, thereby increasing the consumption of healthy drinks.” Those functional and nutritional beverage products are available in an array of retail locations as well as online. The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER) is focused on making noteworthy inroads in both spaces.

At the heart of WTER’s success both online and in person is its high-quality product options, including its most recent offering of natural functional waters powered by Vessl(R). Released through the company’s A88 Infused Products Division Inc. subsidiary, the new line signifies the company’s commitment to the functional beverage sector. Functional drinks are nonalcoholic drinks containing nontraditional ingredients such as minerals, vitamins, amino acids, dietary fibers, probiotics and more. The functional beverage category is projected to be the largest and fastest-growing segment of the functional foods sector.

Growing Accessibility

This year has been full of good news both for and from The Alkaline Water Company, as it has positioned itself firmly as a leader in the beverage and alkaline water sectors. Last month the company announced that its 1-liter and 700ml bottles of Alkaline88 would be available in more than 100 retail locations in nine major U.S. airports, including JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Chicago O’Hare, Reagan National, Orlando International, George Bush Intercontinental/Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul International, and Philadelphia International. In addition, the company brought on a director of hospitality and foodservice, charged with leading WTER’s future growth in this market.

“With the rebounding of the airline industry, this was an ideal time for Alkaline88(R) to enter into this channel,” said The Alkaline Water Company CEO and president Ricky Wright. “The sales team and our new director of hospitality and foodservice, Gary Bliss, have done an amazing job securing this deal. Now, hundreds of millions of passengers will have access to Deliciously Smooth(TM) Alkaline88(R) as they travel through major airports to destinations around the world. Featured in over 100 retail locations, our brand will be accessible to every passenger that enters these terminals.”

WTER’s Alkaline88 line has earned a strong reputation for its superior hydration with a perfect 8.8pH balance. Developed to encourage consumers to drink more and fully hydrate, the product features simply ingredients that are free of buffers. In fact, Alkaline88 ionized water contains just two ingredients: purified water and Pink Himalayan rock salt.

Strong E-Commerce Push

The Alkaline Water Company is growing its presence online as well. The company recently signed an agreement with a turnkey e-commerce agency that specializes in the management of Amazon, Walmart.com and other major retailers’ digital marketplaces. WTER has also brought on new leadership to focus on success in this channel. A former director of e-commerce and digital merchandising with Essentia, Chris Pitman has proven expertise in growing a brand’s overall e-commerce channel sales performance.

“We are making a stronger push than ever before into the e-commerce channel,” Wright stated. “As consumers continue to embrace digital shopping for groceries, e-commerce is a channel with significant upside potential for Alkaline88. We’ve continuously expanded our presence in the traditional grocery channel, and we will keep doing so, but the events of 2020 and 2021 have shown us definitively that online beverage buying habits are here to stay. eMarketer found that food and beverage was by far the fastest-growing e-commerce category in the US in 2020 and forecasts 151.5 million US digital grocery buyers by 2024 vs. 92.3 million in 2019.”

Alkaline88 Footprint Continues to Expand

Nowhere has WTER’s success been more clear than in the c-store space. The company recently released is financial report showing that convenience-store sales are up 228% this fiscal year alone. This growth comes from new strategic direct-to-store delivery providers and a growing number of placements in distribution centers, say company leaders.

“Our c-store channel sales are beginning to grow significantly. Last month alone, we grew by almost 300% in c-store sales, making it by far our most successful month in the company’s history,” reported Wright. “The Alkaline88 footprint continues to expand with each new distribution center added to our nationwide network. Recent additions to our network of distributors include Nassau Candy, Cooper Booth Wholesale, Hensley Beverage Company, Nevada Beverage Company and National Convenience Distributors. Combined with our legacy partners, our network’s access now gives us the potential to service approximately 50,000 of the 150,000 convenience stores across the country.

“Between our traditional channels and c-stores, our single-serves are now available to more customers than ever before,” he continued. “Many of our single-serve SKUs, including our aluminum bottle and many of our flavored-infused waters, are on pace to significantly outperform their sales from last year. The c-store channel is a leader in bottled water sales with over $4.5 billion in sales last year, according to Convenience Store News. While we continue to see significant growth in our traditional channels, we anticipate that the convenience channel will meaningfully contribute to our fiscal year 2022 sales revenues.”

WTER isn’t content with just c-store success. The company announced that it is also developing initiatives targeting big box and club channels. WTER has collaborated with newly announced brand ambassador and former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal to develop the Shaq Paq, a six-pack of two-liter bottles of Alkaline88 to target these locations, as well as other major retailers.

“Fiscal 2022 is shaping up to be a watershed year for The Alkaline Water Company,” Wright stated. “All the hard work and execution over the last eight years is coming to fruition, and I believe that Alkaline88(R) will be a household name this fiscal year.”

Meeting Consumer Demand

Savvy companies are following WTER’s lead in both production innovation and expansion as they focus on meeting consumers’ demand for new and different beverage options.

In 1996, the Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) redefined hydration with is smartwater brand. Earlier this year, the company launched smartwater+, a new lineup of infused hydration options featuring unique ingredient pairings and real flavor extracts tailored for specific wellness occasions. The new options include the following: smartwater+ clarity, with ginseng and green tea extracts, for those looking to “plus up” moments of mental focus; smartwater+ tranquility, with ashwagandha and tangerine extracts, for those looking to “plus up” moments of emotional calmness; and smartwater+ renew, with dandelion and lemon extracts, for those looking to “plus up” moments of revitalization.

PepsiCo Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP) just launched its latest innovationsoulboost, a sparkling water beverage with a splash of real juice and functional ingredients. Soulboost offers two varieties, Lift and Ease, in four delicious flavors and only 10 to 20 calories per 12 oz can. Soulboost is the latest from PepsiCo’s innovation team designed to meet consumer interest in wellness. “Our world-class research & development team developed soulboost by pinpointing desirable functional ingredients L-theanine and panax ginseng and adding them into great-tasting sparkling water beverages to help people truly feel the moment,” said Danielle Barbaro, VP of R&D at PepsiCo Beverages North America.

National Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ: FIZZ) announced a trio of new naturally essenced flavors of LaCroix(R) this summer: Beach Plum(TM), Black Razzberry(TM) and Guava São Paulo(TM). LaCroix Sparkling Water is National Beverage’s most significant brand and is designed to redefine the sparkling water category that is rapidly becoming the alternative to traditional carbonated soda. With zero calories, zero sweeteners and zero sodium, LaCroix leads the premium domestic sparkling water category. LaCroix also maintains its leadership in flavor development, creative packaging and unique, enticing aromas and taste.

Flow Beverage Corp. (TSX: FLOW) has unveiled a new line of beverages focused on immune system support: Flow Vitamin-Infused Water. The new line of alkaline spring waters contains a blend of vitamins recognized for their support of immunity and metabolic function. Flow Vitamin-Infused Water is available in three flavors: cherry, citrus and elderberry. Those qualities are complemented by natural organic flavors and a vitamin and nutrient blend. The new line also reinforces the Flow brand’s continued commitment toward more sustainable packaging in the water aisle of the grocery. Each flavor is available in a 500-ml Tetra Pak carton that is made from nearly 70% renewable materials and is fully recyclable.

Success in the health and wellness beverage space appears to come from both innovation and expansion. Companies that offer both will be the ones most likely to end up on top of this fast-growing market.

For more information about The Alkaline Water Company, please visit The Alkaline Water Company.

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