PepsiCo launched the ‘fun and playful’ brand in February 2018: and now has 15 flavors available in the US. The calorie-free drinks contain no artificial flavors or sweeteners and are caffeine-free.
But in an Instagram post last week the bubly brand teased followers with the message: “We’ll be on the scene with caffeine pretty soon.”
It comes as Coca-Cola readies to launch its new sparking water brand AHA on March 2: with two flavors containing 30mg caffeine per can to give consumers a ‘pick me up’ (for comparison, a can of Coca-Cola contains 32mg of caffeine; while a cup of coffee generally contains in the region of 70-140mg).
With fellow big players Nestlé and Keurig Dr Pepper also entering the category, 2020 looks set for a caffeinated water craze to take off in the US as consumers seek out healthier 'pick me up' energy options.
Both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have been increasing their presences in the water and sparkling water categories and consumers look more and more for healthy hydration options. PepsiCo’s other water brands include premium brand Lifewtr (launched in 2016); the at-home system SodaStream (acquired in 2018), and global bottled water brand Aquafina: none of which have a caffeinated version.
Targeting the trendy millennial consumer base, PepsiCo has ramped up distribution and put its marketing muscle behind the bubly brand: notably with its Michael Bublé ads. Calling it a ‘brand of the future’, PepsiCo has transitioned the bubly away from plastic and into cans and believes it could be the company’s next billion dollar brand.
Caffeinated water – water fortified with caffeine – seeks to tap into consumers’ demands for everyday, pick-me-up energy: offering a healthier option than sugary caffeinated colas or energy drinks with taurine and artificial ingredients.
Nestlé, too, is set to launch a caffeinated water option in the US 2020 in an effort to ‘reinvigorate bottled water growth’. As an extension of its North American Poland Spring brand, Poland Spring energy water will be a canned sparkling water drink that contains the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, but uses green tea extract as its caffeine source.
And Keurig Dr Pepper has acquired Chicago-based caffeinated sparkling water Limitless this month: a brand launched in 2016 and which produces zero-calorie sparkling waters with 35mg of caffeine per 12oz can.
PepsiCo told BeverageDaily it was not sharing any more details about a bubly caffeinated launch at this moment in time.