Sparkling water

As companies continue to position bottled water as a healthier refreshment, the category saw sales rebound across segments leading to an overall category boost of 2.9 percent for more than $7.7 billion in sales, according to SymphonyIRI Group, Chicago, for the 52 weeks ending May 15 in U.S. supermarkets, drug stores, gas and convenience stores and mass merchandise outlets, excluding Wal-Mart.

Earlier this year, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Alexandria, Va., released that overall consumption of bottled water increased 3.5 percent in the United States in 2010. The association released its 2010 bottled water statistics, which were compiled by Beverage Marketing Corp. (BMC).

The bottled water category’s overall share of the liquid refreshment beverages marketplace grew slightly to 30 percent, which was an increase from 29.2 percent reported in 2009, according to IBWA.

In 2010, total bottled water consumption increased to 8.75 billion gallons, an increase from 8.45 billion gallons in 2009, the association reported. In addition, per capita consumption also increased 2.6 percent in 2010. The data shows that every person in America drank an average of 28.3 gallons of bottled water last year.

BMC’s data reported that the entire U.S. refreshment beverage category increased by 1.2 percent after two years of recession-based downturn. Bottled water’s market share grew to 15 percent, which BMC attributes to consumer interest in healthy, calorie-free beverages and the slight economic upturn.

According to SymphonyIRI, the convenience and still bottled water segment grew 2.8 percent for $6.5 billion in sales for the 52 weeks as of May 15, with double-digit increases from Nestlé Pure Life at 31 percent growth and Glaceau Smartwater reporting 28.1 percent growth. Private label maintained its No. 1 position as sales grew 4.8 percent, but market share remained relatively flat.

According to Mintel International’s “Water Category Insight,” flavored water accounted for 51 percent of launches in North America from October 2010 to March 2011. The Coca-Cola Co.’s Glaceau Vitaminwater Zero made the largest strides in the still bottled water segment with a 582.2 percent increase for $186.6 million in sales. The company released the zero-calorie range in February 2010 with support from television personality Ellen Degeneres, who appeared in advertisements for the brand.

In addition, Vitaminwater also added Stur-D to its regular category offerings. The Blue Agave, Passion Fruit and Citrus-flavored variety is fortified with vitamin D and calcium to help support strong bones, the company says. Stur-D also contains 120 percent of the daily value of vitamin C to help the body make the collagen necessary to support joints and 40 percent of the daily value of vitamins B3, B5, B6 and B12, it says.

PepsiCo’s SoBe Lifewater Zero

also experienced positive sales with a 76 percent increase for more than $73.8 million. The company also added to the enhanced water segment with the release of two new varieties: Strawberry Kiwi Lemonade and Macintosh Apple.

Sparkling waters continued to post positive numbers as the category segment grew 9.1 percent for $418.7 million in sales. All brands in the Top 10 experienced growth in sales with the largest coming from TalkingRain Beverage Co.’s Sparkling Ice brand at a 442.2 percent increase. Sparkling Ice carbonated water is made with spring water, natural fruit juices and is sweetened with Splenda and contains zero calories. It offers B vitamins, vitamin D, green tea extracts and antioxidants, the company says.

Private label sparkling water maintained its No. 1 position with $106.8 million in sales, but lost 1.1 percent of its market share, according to SymphonyIRI data. BI