According to statusofwomendata.org, there are more than 160.5 million women living in the United States, which is roughly 5 million more than men. With women accounting for more than 50 percent of the population, some beverage-makers have recognized the importance of developing products that speak to such a vast consumer base.
Roly Nesi, founder and chief executive officer for New York-based ROAR Beverages, noticed that when it came to performance beverages, there was a white space in the market that needed to be filled.
“No one was really speaking to how fitness has evolved to mind and body, to on the field, in the gym, to an all-day mentality of being physically active and running around,” says Eric Berniker, chief marketing officer for ROAR Beverages. “More importantly, no one was speaking to the audience that was leading that evolution of that revolution, which was the female millennial. When you look at kind of what their lives are like, they’re hustling throughout the day, they’re working out in their boutique fitness classes, but they’re always running around and working on creating their own future, in and out of the board room.”
In addition to the culture mismatch, Berniker says that the performance beverage space also was in need of a product that delivered functional aspects, but also was low in sugar and aligned with the proliferation of organic food and beverage trends. This led to Nesi’s creation of ROAR Organic Electrolyte Infusions, a USDA organic performance beverage.
“Everyone is multi-tasking these days, so people are expecting that same functionality from their drinks; they just don’t want something to taste good,” he says. “ROAR really wanted to bring in that functionality. It obviously has the electrolytes for faster hydration, it has antioxidants for proactive health, it also has B vitamins to help with energy conversion [and] utilization.”
What also sets ROAR Organic apart from competitors in the space is that the brand was developed to align with the athletic leisure lifestyle space, Berniker explains. For example, athleisure clothing brands are not just for workouts, but also have been embraced as all-day attire. That is the way that ROAR Organic positioned itself to its consumer base.
“2019 was all about bringing that positioning of the brand to life so that people wouldn’t confuse us with sports drinks just because we have electrolytes,” he says. “We have electrolyte infusion, but we don’t want people to confuse us with a sports drink because our consumer people can drink this all day long, and it sources from different occasions like juice, juice sport drinks, enhanced waters, so it works throughout the day.”
This positioning has worked for the emerging brand as it crafted a point-of-sales campaign and fine-tuned its packaging to help further its positioning communication. Because ROAR Organic is positioned as a functional beverage versus a sports drink, it is merchandised in a different area, which has helped not just the brand, but also its retail partners, Berniker says.
“We found that 71 percent of our sales were incremental to the category, so basically, either that shopper was new to purchasing the category, or if they were purchasing that category already, their purchase was incremental to what they were purchasing beforehand,” Berniker says.
More to roar about
Although the creation of ROAR Organic allowed the company to deliver a multi-drinking-occasion beverage for female millennials, the company realized that there was another space in the market in need of innovation: children’s drinks.
Recognizing that various products on the market included high sugar content, and artificial colors and sweeteners, the formulators at ROAR Beverages wanted to develop a solution that delivered on all the propositions of ROAR Organic, but with kids in mind. This lead to the creation of Kids ROAR, which contains 12 grams of sugar in each 12-ounce serving.
“It’s a drink that parents can feel good about their children drinking throughout the day because it’s lower in sugar, it has an excellent source of vitamin C and then it’s organic, so there’s nothing bad in there,” he says.
However, that’s not the only innovation from the functional beverage company. In late 2019, it announced the release of ROAR Organic Electrolyte Infusion Powder Sticks, a drink mix version of its bottled beverage.
“A lot of people are always running around with their refillable water bottles and with more and more refillable water stations, we felt that this was a great extension of the brand,” Berniker says. “People can always have it on them wherever they go.”
Initially available on the company website and on Amazon.com, the Powder Sticks come in Mango Clementine, Cucumber Watermelon and Blueberry Acai varieties. The company plans to explore retail expansion in 2020, but initially wants to go direct-to-consumer, Berniker adds.
Noting how health and wellness has been vital to today’s beverage market, Berniker expects this trend will continue to grow, and foresees ROAR Beverages as part of that future. “I think [health and wellness is] a tidal wave,” he says. “It’s not a trend; it’s not a fad; it’s here to stay. Roar was created with the consumers leading those trends, so we’re very much aligned with it.” BI