Brands getting in the mix
Flavors and function next step for drink mixes
Kraft Foods recently replaced Crystal Light Pure Fitness with Crystal Light Pure, a naturally sweetened drink mix that does not contain artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives.
Established brands continue to lead the drink mix category, although some varieties did experience contraction in the last year. The overall drink mix category grew 1.6 percent for more than $609.7 million in sales for the 52 weeks ending May 15 in U.S. supermarkets, drug stores, gas and convenience stores and mass merchandise outlets, excluding Wal-Mart, according to SymphonyIRI Group, Chicago. Fruit drink mixes made up a majority of the category with $590 million in sales, which represents a 1.6 percent growth.
“We have seen a small growth,” says Garima Goel Lal, senior analyst at Mintel International, Chicago. “It was more pronounced during the recession, especially in 2008 and 2009 and some in 2007. Some of this growth was basically related from the recession where drink mixes offer a lower price option to regular beverages.”
Category leader, Kool Aid, a brand of Kraft Foods, saw sales decrease by 3.5 percent, but still accounts for 22.1 percent of the market share. Kool Aid Singles also experienced a decrease, while the brand’s Kool Aid Twists and Kool Aid Fun Fizz varieties grew
2.2 percent and 127 percent, respectively.
Kraft Foods’ Crystal Light branded products also had a mixed bag of results. The flagship Crystal Light product decreased as well as the Crystal Light On The Go brand. However, the company’s Crystal Light On The Go Pure Fitness posted the biggest gains for the category at 215.8 percent for more than $13.9 million in sales.
Kraft Foods recently replaced Crystal Light Pure Fitness with Crystal Light Pure, a naturally sweetened drink mix that does not contain artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives. Sweetened with Truvia, an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener derived from the stevia plant, Crystal Light Pure mixes contain 4 grams of sugar in each serving.
“Our partnership with Truvia brand sweetener has helped us to develop a great fit for consumers seeking a low calorie, less than 15 calories per serving, naturally sweetened beverage,” said Melissa Merchant, Crystal Light brand manager with Kraft Foods, in a statement.
The company also introduced Crystal Light Mocktails, low-calorie drink mixes inspired by popular cocktail flavors: Margarita, Mojito and Appletini. Each contains 5 calories per 8-ounce serving.
Goel Lal says consistent flavors in drink mixes have been berry and lemon flavors, but now drink mixes include a larger variety of flavors like mango, chocolate and superfruits. Goel Lal also notes that manufacturers could explore flavor profiles with fruit varietals, such as Granny Smith apples, Gala apples or Valencia oranges.
When it comes to functional claims, Goel Lal says that weight management-associated claims have performed well in the market for the drink mix category.
Other brands also are finding their niche in the market.
Tang, a brand of Kraft Foods, ranks No. 9 for fruit drink mixes with $14 million in sales, a 1.2 percent increase as of May 15, according to SymphonyIRI data. Kraft Foods recently announced that the brand achieved billion-dollar status worldwide.
Tang attributed its growth to performance in the company’s developing markets, which was about 20 percent in each of the last two years, the company says. Markets such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, the Philippines and Middle Eastern countries helped fuel Tang’s growth, it says.
With many established brands in the drink mix category, Goel Lal says that new mixes that might find success are from brands that are established in other categories, such as Ocean Spray On The Go. The Ocean Spray drink mix posted $13.5 million in sales, according to SymphonyIRI.
Although drink mixes offer a solution to bottled water, there is an inconvenience factor with the powdered format in packets that could affect its growth, Goel Lal says. Kraft Foods addressed this area with its launch of Mio, a liquid beverage enhancer designed to be convenient and portable. The liquid mixes instantly with other liquids, the company says.
Launched in early March, Mio already ranks No. 8 for fruit drink mixes with more than $15.5 million in sales as of May 15, according to SymphonyIRI data. BI