Consumer tastes are changing, and they are keen to sample alternatives to carbonates and plain waters, such as waters with a higher fruit juice content, Danone Waters' UK & Ireland MD has told BeverageDaily.com.
In a recent interview with Marketing Magazine, Danone Waters' interim marketing manager in the region, Sandrine Delabriére, said the firm had high hopes for line extension Volvic Juiced.
This mineral water and juice blend was launched in the UK in March, at a suggested sale price of 99 pence for a 500ml bottle, and although flavoured waters are nothing new in the waters category, Danone has upped the ante by incorporating real juice with this launch.
For instance, the Orchard Apple variety (there is also a Cloudy Lemon option) contains 81% natural mineral water, 12% apple juice from concentrate, 5.6% sugar, citric acid and natural flavours.
Bridge over flavoured waters?
Delabriére said that Danone saw the new product as one that filled a market gap, creating a bridge for consumers – who perhaps find other flavoured drinks too heavy – to cross over into the wider waters market.
So did Danone Waters UK md Adam Grant agree with this assessment? “We believe there is strong growth potential for Volvic Juiced. It has proven to be a big hit with consumers so far and we are extremely excited about the future of the brand,” he told BeverageDaily.com.
He added: “Research has shown that consumer tastes are changing – in recent years we have found increasing demand for tastier alternatives to plain water or carbonated soft drinks.
“We are extremely passionate about understanding what consumers want and developing new and innovative ranges to keep up with that demand.”
In March 2011 Volvic also launched its Touch of Fruit range – which uses natural fruit flavourings but not juice – and Grant said the drink was performing extremely well, with value sales growing 22% in the last 52 weeks (Nielsen data to 26/05/12).
World water performance
Grant added that the response from consumers and trade to Volvic Juiced had also been positive, and it had already entered the 10 best-selling juice based drinks within the UK impulse channel in the UK, according to Synovate, Impulse Account data on the four weeks to May 13.
The latest launch had been backed by a successful national sampling campaign, Grant said, while the firm had hosted a pop-up Volvic Juiced bar in Covent Garden, London.
Asked about any new innovations in the pipeline, Grant said he was unable to share any Danone Waters UK & Ireland plans with us at this stage.
Waters comprised 17% of Danone group sales in 2011 (€19,318bn), with China, Mexico, Indonesia and Argentina the main growth markets.
Mizone (China) Bonafont (Mexico, Brazil and Poland) and Aqua (Indonesia) are the group’s biggest brands, but the main international brands include Evian and Volvic: in France, Germany, the UK and Japan.