Move Over Soda: Sparkling Water is the New “It” Drink

Refreshing Hard Sparkling Water

Sparkling water is all the rage these days and is unanimously the up-and-coming star of the non-alcoholic beverages segment. With intensifying consumer preferences for nutritional and healthy drink options, food and beverage brands are intently looking for a convenient hybrid that,

  1. Delivers the same old carbonated feel, with the fizz and bubbles
  2. Holds a quantum of beneficial properties, healthwise, thereby appealing to the health conscious audience

In recent times, consumer preference has drastically shifted from carbonated soft drinks to sparkling water because of the associated health concerns. For instance, sugary soft drinks are associated with higher incidences of obesity. Whilst, sparkling water is emphasized as being free of calories. No wonder, for the first time in history, water has surpassed soda in the bottled beverage category.

Sparkling water vs. everything!

Sparkling mineral water a.k.a carbonated water, has carbon dioxide dissolved in it, making the water fizzy and similar to soda. Herein, the difference between these two beverages is that sparkling water is not mixed with an assortment of syrups and artificial add-ons for flavoring, which consequently makes it a healthier alternative to the commonly available soda products.

These beverages are different from both juice and water. Unlike juice, it does not carry added sugar or calories. Unlike water, it is carbonated, which makes it a perfect choice for consumers who are looking for an appealing and refreshing drink option that isn’t water. Additionally, the major difference between regular and sparkling water is in terms of their mixing properties. Obviously, the latter is a better mixer.

Soda water, club soda, seltzer- these drinks are categorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as soft drinks and not bottled water. The key difference between sparkling water and seltzer relies on the source of the carbonation. If the carbonation is artificial, it is probably club soda or seltzer and consequently referred to as soda. Whereas, if the bubbles are naturally fizzy, straight from the source, it is sparkling water. Thus, the latter is classified as bottled water and not soda.

Sparkling water is redefining the beverages market, and how!

Consumers across the world have long been drinking sparkling water, almost like a status symbol. However, lately the Gen Xers and millennials are also drinking this premium- packaged in designer bottles- water, as a fashion statement. It has been hypothesized by market experts that bottled water will significantly and quickly overtake soda, in terms of global consumption and popularity, within the next five years.

In the wake of this ‘sparkling’ growth, several prominent beverages brands have now launched their product extensions in this industry segment. Vendors like Coca-Cola, SodaStream, and PepsiCo are locked in a battle for dominance with the established and specialist sparkling water brands such as Perrier, Badoit, and San Pellegrino. Right now, it’s standing room only and competition is heating up rapidly!

The revelation is that consumers are gradually abandoning the traditional sodas in spite of spirited efforts by the incumbents, for instance- selling higher priced mini cans for portion control. While the soda brigade fight a losing war, brands must graduate into the sparkling water turf in order to stay relevant, and competitive.