By Maggie Gioia | Marketing Coordinator
As temperatures soar, consumers are more likely to purchase bottled waters and other functional beverages. Take advantage of the heat and make a splash this summer with National Convenience Distributors’ full selection of trending bottled beverages!
Annual bottled water sales in the United States vary seasonally, with peak sales occurring in the summer months. For instance, a 2019 University of California study found that bottled water sales reached a nearly $70 million in the summer of 2015.
While the need to cool down is certainly a contributing factor for increased beverage sales in the summer months, the rise of specialty waters and other better-for-you beverages can also be attributed to the year-round increasing demand of consumers to know where their products are sourced, if they are produced and packaged sustainably and if they contain any health benefits.
Consumers “are increasingly choosing bottled water as a more healthful hydration option than other packaged drinks,” says Supermarket News.
“Upward movement in per capita consumption indicates clear, persisting demand for a product that consumers see as a healthy alternative to other beverages,” Michael Bellas, chairman and CEO of Beverage Marketing Corp., said in an interview with Supermarket News. “Multiple inherent qualities explain bottled water’s ongoing appeal for U.S. consumers, including its association with healthfulness, convenience, safety and value.”
To maintain this demand, beverage companies have added innovative flavors and features to their product lines. Flavored varieties of water, such as seltzers, club sodas and fortified waters – which add minerals and electrolytes for taste and functional hydration – offer a more health-conscious alternative to soft drinks and are the fastest growing segment of the bottled beverage category.
Though we are all familiar with sparkling waters, seltzers and club sodas, fortified artisanal waters are climbing in demand. Alkaline water is perhaps one of the leading water trends. The term ‘alkaline’ refers to the water’s pH level, which measures how acidic or basic of a solution the liquid is. In this case, alkaline water has a higher pH than regular water’s neutral 7 pH level. This higher pH results from when the water ran freely over rocks — like in a spring or river — picking up minerals along the way. However, there is also an artificial method of creating alkaline water called electrolysis. This process utilizes an ionizer to raise the pH of regular water. Purportedly, alkaline water’s 8 or 9 pH level aids the body in fighting acidity, improving blood viscosity and flow, colon-cleansing, supporting the immune system, detoxing and losing weight.
“A significant portion of bottled water’s growth — 30% since 2012 — has come from consumers switching from less-healthful packaged drinks,” according to Supermarket News. Bellas explained that this is because, “bottled water’s freedom from calories and artificial ingredients appeals to many consumers. Some consumers may have transitioned away from regular, full-calorie beverages in favor of their diet versions, but many others opted for bottled water instead. As some consumers became wary of artificial sweeteners, they shifted away from diet beverages as well as regular counterparts.”
In the same interview, the BMC offered further insight into the category, concluding that “the packaged drink, [which is] already the leader in the beverage category, set a total volume record of 15.7 billion gallons in 2021. That high-level mark for bottled water eclipsed carbonated soft drinks’ all-time peak of 15.3 billion gallons in 2004. Bottled water has outsold soft drinks every year since 2016.”
As a result, “U.S. bottled water consumption rose 4.7% in 2021. On average, each American drank 47 gallons of bottled water in 2021, a 3.9% increase over 2010. In addition, bottled water’s retail dollar sales jumped 11.2%, reaching $40.2 billion.”
Furthermore, in a survey conducted on behalf of the International Bottled Water Association by the Harris Poll, it was discovered that nine out of 10 Americans want bottled water to be available wherever other drinks are sold.
As the market continues to shift further into this direction, specialty, better-for-you beverages have grown to include more than just protein shakes and smoothies. Instead, the popularity of kombucha is expanding.
Kombucha, which is a fermented black or green tea, originated from ancient China and Japan. Today, recognize the drink to be a source of probiotics and antioxidants, promoting the health of many of the bodily systems. For example, the probiotics contained in kombucha provide the “good bacteria” necessary to maintain gut health and therefore the digestive system. Moreover, kombucha has been proven to protect the liver from toxicity, boost weight loss and the number of calories burned, reduce inflammation, control blood sugar, improve cholesterol levels and act as an antibacterial agent for the “bad bacteria.” Because of this, kombucha is an accessible preventative measure against heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Due to its countless health benefits, global kombucha sales are forecasted to increase by $3.56 billion from 2021 to 2026, in accordance with a market research study by Technavio. The report also concluded that, “factors such as rising awareness of the health benefits of kombucha are anticipated to drive the market to garner an accelerating growth momentum at a CAGR of 19.36% during the projected period.”
This month, NCD retailers can secure these in-demand products at a discount. Be sure to check out Perfect Hydration Alkaline Water, KÖE Kombucha, FIJI Water, Tru Sparkling Beverage Blends, PathWater purified electrolyte and alkaline waters in refillable aluminum bottles, Origin Sparking Water, AC + ION Alkaline Water and Alkaline 88 Water, which all deliver the functional, wellness-driven hydration consumers are craving.