Further evidence pointing to the growing importance of the enhanced water market was revealed this week as Gatorade announced that its Propel Fitness Water brand had exceeded sales of $100 million (€100m) in the US.
Enhanced water is the fastest growing segment in the US beverage category, a phenomenon that is being mirrored in the European market, too. The market leading brand in the US, Propel Fitness Water was launched at the beginning of this year and has thus far claimed nearly 60 per cent of the burgeoning enhanced water category at smaller retail outlets during the course of 2002.
According to Information Resources enhanced water sales at smaller retail outlets are up 124 per cent year-to-date, and sales of Propel Fitness Water have outpaced the competition, with an increase of 193 per cent year-to-date in the same segment.
"We know that consumers drink 4.1 billion gallons of beverages per year when they are active and water is the active-thirst beverage selected most often," said Chuck Maniscalco, president of The Gatorade Company who went on to explain that water had now replaced sugary soft drinks as the leading thirst quencher for active people.
Propel Fitness Water is a lightly flavoured water that contains only10 calories per eight-ounce serving, together with added vitamins. It is aimed at providing exercisers a greater level of re-hydration than plain water. Past research has shown that active individuals only replace half the amount of fluids they lose when they drink plain water during exercise, which can lead to dehydration and a lack of energy. Research also shows that people will drink more of a lightly flavoured beverage than plain water and therefore will stay better hydrated, Gatorade claims.
"Very few brands reach $100 million in sales their first year, so we're thrilled Propel has reached this milestone so soon," said Marie Devlin, director of marketing for Propel.
Currently available in the US in four flavours - Berry, Lemon, Orange and Black Cherry - Propel will debut two new flavours in 2003: Peach and Kiwi-Strawberry.