Rebranding rides the sparkling water surge through a major packaging redesign for 25 SKUs across six regional brands featuring new products, the brand’s debut in cans and a proprietary new bottle.
Consumer thirst for bottled water beverages appears unabated, but which subcategory within the segment is seeing the highest flow? That would be sparkling waters; according to Euromonitor, the sparkling water category grew 70% from 2011-2016 and is expected to reach $3.1 billion by 2022.
Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA), Stamford, CT, is making a timely, bigger splash in that rising market with a major rebranding anchored by all-new packaging that reaches store shelves after mid-March. The brand's new sparkling water portfolio encompasses regional brands Poland Spring, Deer Park, Zephyrhills, Ozarka, Ice Mountain and Arrowhead and features 10 new flavors, a bold new bottle design and the company’s first canned products.
The new flavors are Lively Lemon, Lemon Lime, Zesty Lime, Orange, Summer Strawberry, Raspberry Lime, Black Cherry, Simply Bubbles, Triple Berry and Pomegranate Lemonade. All flavors are made with natural ingredients, free of calories, sugar, sweeteners and colors to complement the 100% natural spring water.
The regional-driven, nationwide salvo of new products complement NWNA’s established premium sparkling brands Perrier and S.Pellegrino.
“Following rapid growth over the past few years, the sparkling water category is now mature enough for us to make a significant investment in developing this extensive line of mainstream sparkling offerings from our regional spring water brands, each of which is the top-selling still spring water brand in its market,” says Antonio Sciuto, the company’s executive vp and CMO. “As consumers increasingly choose healthy beverages over sugary soft drinks and juices, they are looking for exciting new options. Now is the time to give millions of Americans the sparkling product they have been missing – combining the regional spring water brands they love with delicious natural flavors and added bubbles in both bottles and cans.”
Proprietary bottle design—a sleek, elegant PET bottle design that resembles vintage glass, is more comfortable to hold and highlights the movement of sparkling bubbles;
Eye-catching label—more prominent branding and fruit imagery, as well as a new colored cap to accentuate visual brand cues and distinguish from competitors;
Bold new case pack visuals—vibrant and colorful fruit graphics designed to capture attention on shelf and highlight flavor varieties;
Cans with colorful fruit graphics—offering 12-oz cans, preferred by some customers, in all markets;
Rainbow packs—popular flavor combinations in 24-pack bottles and cans to encourage flavor trial.
With these dramatic changes, Nestlé Waters hopes to nearly double the number of Regional Spring Water Sparkling households by 2020 as compared to the number of households in 2016.
Nestlé Waters was the first to introduce sparkling water to the mainstream in the 1980s with the U.S. introduction of Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water. Many of its Regional Spring Water brands also have long heritage, such as the Poland Spring brand, which dates back to 1845, which uniquely positions the company to tap into the growing sparkling market.
“Consumers are choosing sparkling water at an unprecedented rate,” says Sciuto. “We already have great equity in our Regional Spring Water brands, and we hope that, as our existing customers enter the sparkling category, they will choose our brands first. With our ten great flavor options, they now have a whole new way to enjoy the spring water they love.”
SKU specifics and consumer involvement
Bottle sizes are 20oz, 0.5L and 1L. Available are eight flavors in 6-pack PET multipacks, eight in 8-pack can multipacks, six flavors in 1L, three in 20oz PET and two PET bottle rainbow packs, totaling 25 SKUs per across six regional brands.
That’s according to Susan Chirico, NWNA regional spring water brands packaging manager, who tells Packaging Digest that consumer input was crucial for the rebranding.
“Our new offerings—packaging, cans, flavors, design—were all developed based on consumer insights to create the best flavor profile and sensory experience,” she says. “We referenced extensive market data on emerging flavors across various food categories and analyzed consumer behaviors and attitudes to inform our flavor strategy. Lastly, we tested out our flavor prototypes on our consumer base to gain more insights on consumer preferences.”
The new proprietary “bubbly” bottle structure was developed as part of a collaboration between Nestlé Waters, Nestlé’s R&D center in Vittel, France, and Product Ventures, a strategic packaging design agency. It was intended to highlight the movement of sparkling bubbles through a unique upward spiral design that also offers enhanced grip to the consumer.
The design process included further consumer dialogue to develop a structure that embodied the essence of the product. Peter Clarke, Product Ventures’ founder and CEO, says, “translating the effervescence of the product into the silhouette of the package with an optically and tactilely exciting texture creates an evocative and compelling design that is truly unique to the category.”
Bottle development details
Packaging Digest learned that Products Ventures’ process entailed visual strategy, concept generation, consumer research, CAD development and prototyping, according to Sarah Palomba, the company’s senior client director. “The consumer research consisted of online ethnographies, in-house iterative qualitative research and multi-region quantitative research. Our incremental prototyping included initial foam modeling and clear-filled Stereo Lithography (SLA) prototypes.”
Cornerstone Strategic Branding of New York City designed the packaging graphics.
“The visual identity is completely new versus our current bottle and were adapted to each pack format accordingly based on consumer insights and print production capabilities,” Chirico points out.
We asked Chirico about the addition of cans, which are a dramatic departure for the until-now-all-bottled water brand.
“We’re introducing Regional Spring Water Sparkling in three different bottle sizes and also in 12-oz cans to suit consumers’ preferences and needs,” she responds. “Among those that prefer cans are consumers who are moving away from carbonated soft drinks, so now we have a healthy and naturally sourced option for them! And we are not moving away from our signature PET bottles, but rather adding an option from which our consumers can enjoy.”
And, she says, “we manufacture and fill the bottles and cans using an in-line process, which we use for our still products as well.”
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