Liquid water enhancers have quenched the thirst of Americans for years, whereas the UK has been slower in the uptake. In a new report Canadean assesses the market opportunity.
Liquid water enhancers were designed so that consumers can add a range of flavours to packaged or tap water simply by the inclusion of a few drops of product. The bottles are big enough to make many litres of water more tasty, but small enough to fit in your handbag – perfect for on-the-go consumption. In early 2011 Kraft Foods pioneered the liquid water enhancer concept with the launch of MiO in the US. MiO arrived in a tiny water droplet-shaped plastic bottle providing 24 servings. It proved an immediate success. According to Canadean, MiO captured a 25% category volume share in its first year adding a further 10% in 2012. The stunning achievement of the brand acted as the catalyst behind the growth of the overall squash/syrups category which leapt by 33% in 2011, 12% the following year and with a further 9% in 2013. Kraft Foods is now a leader in the market with MiO being one of the company’s most successful new products in over a decade.
Naturally MiO has drawn in the inevitable rival brands. Other major providers of liquid water enhancers now include Coca-Cola, Nestlé and PepsiCo. Private Label brands have also claimed market share, while Kraft Foods has capitalised on its earlier achievement with MiO by adding liquid water enhancers under its Crystal Light and Kool Aid fruit powder brands. Such products have tended to be concentrated in the US. MiO has extended its presence to Canada and Puerto Rico, but no further.
The initial choice for liquid water enhancers is understandable in the US: The country has one of the largest squash/syrup markets in the world, but it still only ranks in seventh place internationally according to Canadean research. Consumption of squash/syrups in the UK is much higher and reaching maturity but few companies have so far recognised the opportunities for liquid water enhancers here.
Nichols was one of the first in the UK market, launching Vimto Squeezy in early 2014. Britvic, with Robinsons Squash’d followed, and recently Tesco has launched the first Private Label offering, One Squeeze. The multinationals, however, remain conspicuous by their absence. As Canadean analyst, Antonella Reda says: ‘The UK squash/syrups market would certainly benefit from the growth opportunities presented by a full scale influx of liquid water enhancers. Such opportunities should not be ignored’.