The 21st Century Version of the Soda Wars Is Underway
In the past five years, sales of sparkling water has more than doubled thanks mostly to the immense popularity of LaCroix—a flavored, carbonated alternative to cola. People continue to realize that flavored seltzer water drinks are a healthier, lower calorie option to the syrupy sodas they enjoyed as kids and the market is beginning to adjust.
New Entries into the Market
National Beverage, the parent company of LaCroix, has seen its stock increase tenfold in the past eight years and big soda companies have definitely taken notice. In the past few years, Coca-Cola has added sparkling water drinks in the form of sparkling Smartwater and Dasani Sparkling to its line of beverages in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve.
Going even further, Pepsico just spent $3.2 billion to acquire SodaStream, a company that makes equipment for crating flavored soda water at home. Clearly Pepsico believes that the sparkling water craze is more than a passing fad and that the future of soda could be creating flavorful drinks at home that drastically reduce packaging and waste.
Options for the Consumer
In addition to devices for making soda at home, the increasing thirst for flavored sparkling water is leading to new developments in the workplace. The traditional water cooler—home of office gossip and Monday morning quarterbacks nationwide—could be getting a makeover.
Bevi, marketed as a “smart water cooler,” provides offices, hotels, gyms, healthcare facilities, and schools with water that can be sparkling or still with multiple flavors to choose. The device hooks up directly to tap water, eliminating the need for the big plastic bottles most water coolers use. Bevi passes tap water through its filtration system, and features a sliding scale that allows users to decide the precise amount of flavoring they would like in their water.
Food and beverage trends come and go, but the sparkling water craze could have staying power. Serving as a healthier alternative to colas, with the added benefit of reducing waste, makes flavored seltzer water an appealing option.