Although it has been a beverage leader for years, bottled water is now facing a number of challenges to keep sales growing. Many companies have opted to branch out with enhanced or functional waters, while others have moved to larger sizes and multi-packs for the more economical take-home market.
Beverage companies are playing both sides of the fence in 2009, offering traditional comfort flavors and newer, more exotic fruit and floral flavors. In addition, beverage flavoring systems are becoming more complex with the increase in functional ingredients, the addition of multiple sweetening options, and even the use of no sweetener at all.
Consumers are buying private label beverages at a growing rate.
Private label beverage categories such as canned and bottled tea,
shelf-stable fruit juices and nectars, iced coffee, sports and energy
drink mixes and carbonated soft drinks have all experienced
double-digit sales growth in the past year.
Bill Meissner, president of TalkingRain, says the Preston, Wash.-based water company that makes the Twist and Activwater brands has been around for more than two decades, but acts a lot like a startup. As a veteran of companies such as SoBe and Fuze, that’s exactly where Meissner is most comfortable. He took over the reins at TalkingRain in January, and has made it a priority to expand those products in the same way he helped build his previous brands.
2009 has challenged beverage companies, and business in general, like few previous years have. Beverage Industry took a mid-year poll of some of the beverage industry’s top leaders in diverse product categories to find out how the industry is faring.