Article Image: © 2018 Nestlé Waters North America Inc.

Jill Germano, Group Marketing Manager at Nestlé Waters North America, told Loyalty360 that company officials see an opportunity to bring their existing brand fans into the sparkling category.
 
Nestlé Waters North America is targeting significant growth in the sparkling water category. It plans to bring its sparkling expertise from premium brands Perrier and S.Pellegrino and harness the brand loyalty to its Regional Spring Water Brands to offer Americans a new and updated line of sparkling spring waters with more flavors and packaging choices.
 
This month, the company is introducing an entirely new sparkling portfolio for its six Regional Spring Water brands: Poland Spring, Deer Park, Zephyrhills, Ozarka, Ice Mountain and Arrowhead with new flavors, a brand new bottle design and packaging, and the introduction of 12-ounce cans to meet all consumption occasions and consumer preferences.
 
Germano explained that sparkling water is a fast-growing category and consumers are looking for healthier alternatives as they move away from sugary beverages.
 
“In fact, the sparkling water category grew 70 percent from 2011-2016, according to Euromonitor,” Germano said. “We already have a strong presence in the sparkling category across our portfolio—this includes Perrier, S.Pellegrino and our existing Regional Spring Water brand offerings in sparkling. While S.Pellegrino and Perrier are more of a premium offering, the new Regional Spring Water Sparkling portfolio is designed for the mainstream market. We already have a very loyal customer base of 38 million households for our Regional Spring Water brand still products. Only seven million of those households currently drink any brand of sparkling water. So we have an opportunity to bring our existing brand fans into the sparkling category with our new product line offering the spring water they value and brands they love.”
 
Germano said company officials conducted customer research as part of the product development process.
 
“We looked at consumer trends, competitive products, and our own brand positioning to develop our product concepts,” she said. “We designed multiple prototypes for each flavor, and narrowed these through internal taste panel testing, as well as consumer testing. We measured satisfaction level with the overall product, flavor, taste, and strength. Consumer feedback was extremely positive. We also made sure to give customers options in terms of packaging. With two bottle sizes as well as cans, we’re able to satisfy what consumers prefer for format and usage occasion. Our new bottle design was also very well received and our testing showed a significant increase in purchase intent.”
 
While Germano said that the company’s Regional Spring Water brands already maintain strong customer loyalty—“in fact, more customers choose our regional spring water brands than any other bottled spring water brand in each of the regions we serve”—the company didn’t feel its portfolio was strongly communicating its differentiated positioning.
 
“We’ve taken the lessons of our strong international brand portfolio playing in different formats and incorporated them into our Regional Spring Water Sparkling launch. We have the opportunity to move our existing loyal base of spring water customers into the category through the spring water and brands they love.”
 
What made this the right time?
 
“Consumers have spoken and we are seeing an acceleration of health-focused lifestyles,” Germano added. “Consumer demand for water over sugary drinks continues to grow, with the most rapid growth in sparkling. According to Euromonitor, the sparkling water category is expected to reach $3.1 billion by 2022. With our focus on beverage offerings for a healthy lifestyle, we are uniquely poised to bring the category to a new level as our use of real spring water is a major differentiator in the category. This is an exciting new option for our customers who already choose water as healthy hydration.”

 

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