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Target whets with new water offering


Beverages are becoming more sophisticated as consumers demand them for more particular purposes, whether maintaining wellness, providing energy boosts or delivering deeper satisfaction. Consumers want more out of their beverages and retailers are responding. One of those retailers is Target, which has introduced two new water beverages that hydrate effectively without boring the drinker.

Consumers are applying considerations of wellness, taste and quality of life to the beverages they are purchasing. Retailers who are responding more effectively to that trend should have an advantage in the marketplace.

As adult consumers have turned away from traditional soft drinks, beverages like water have gushed. Although the flood of water sales has slowed somewhat, the category did gain 5.2% in dollar sales in the 52 weeks ended June 14, according to The Nielsen Co. Over the past four years, however, water sales at food, drug and mass-market outlets, not including Wal-Mart, has grown from about $3.42 billion annually to $5.31 billion. Interestingly, unit volume has lagged behind sales volume, demonstrating that commoditization isn’t the whole story in the category.

One category has been born and exploded over the past four years. Designated by Nielsen as water soft drinks, low-calorie still/non-carbonated had zero sales four years ago, but $2.2 million in the 52 weeks ended June 14.

The Target introductions fit into this category—a sucralose sweetened, “naturally flavored,” functional beverage line, offering products such as Motion Fortified Triple Berry that features calcium, vitamin D and glucosamine, with between five and 60 calories, depending on the item. Other varieties include Beauty Fortified, in a pear-lychee flavor; Build Fortified, in a tropical flavor; and Heart Fortified, in a strawberry-orange flavor.

An unsweetened “all natural” water line offers trendy flavors as an attraction, such as cucumber, jasmine plum, spearmint, mango and pomegranate raspberry. Target promises right on the package—in this case, the pomegranate raspberry package—“our purified water will quench your thirst while the lightly tart notes of these ruby red fruits will delight your palate. Count on Archer Farms for pure refreshment with a sophisticated twist.”

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