Enhanced with electrolytes; mixed with juice; sweetened with sugar: it’s water, but not as we know it. As bottled water booms thanks to the backlash against sugary soft drinks, water brands are using an increasing array of ingredients to maintain growth.

And it seems to be working. Sales of bottled water through the supermarkets have surged 12.2% to £871.1m on volumes up 9.5% [IRI 52 w/e 3 January 2015]. Further analysis by Kantar Worldpanel suggests the equivalent of nearly half of this, £401.9m, has been consumed at home [52 w/e 4 January 2015]. 

You might expect sales of water to be doing well in this anti-sugar age. But it’s surprising that flavoured water, some containing as much sugar as carbonates, is doing even better. Kantar puts flavoured still and sparkling up a combined 14.3% on volumes up 12.4%; plain is up 12.6% on volumes up 10.4%. 

So what’s driving the trend? And how is all this impacting the wider soft drinks market?