Value-added water on the rise

by Staff
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NEW YORK — According to the Beverage Marketing Corp., value-added waters promising more than just hydration represent a small but fast-growing subset of the U.S. bottled water industry. In the report "The Value-Added Water Market in the U.S.," the B.M.C. defines value-added waters as flavored, enhanced, essence (unsweetened flavor waters) and structured waters.

In 2007, estimated wholesale revenues of value-added were more than $2 billion, with the largest segment being enhanced ($1.5 billion). The main brands of enhanced water were Glaceau Vitaminwater and Propel. The flavored water segment had more than $586 million in wholesale sales, and essence water had sales of $20 million.

B.M.C. said flavored water consumers look for a variation to plain water or alternatives to carbonated soft drinks, and large corporations such as Sunny Delight, The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo, Inc. and Nestle S.A. dominate the segment.

Structured waters aren’t concerned with flavor but instead seek the "purest" water possible. Essence water, with brands such as Hint, Metromint and O Water, appeal to the health-conscious consumer looking to avoid sweeteners but still have flavor.

Structured waters have the highest price point followed by enhanced water. Distribution channels also vary with flavored water being found in mainstream markets and enhanced waters found in drug stores and convenience stores among other outlets. Structured water is found only in natural food stores and on-line.

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