Making a mark in the burgeoning and fiercely competitive soft drinks category is not an easy task, but then neither is running a 150-mile six-day adventure race across the Sahara desert. This, however, has not prevented Jonathan Yates, the man behind O2GO, from having a go at both challenges.

The O2GO range, which consists of vitamin-enriched flavourings made to add interest to plain water, is this month making its retail debut in Sainsbury's. It is being positioned as an alternative to fizzy soft drinks and branded waters.

Each two-calorie pouch is enough to flavour 500ml of water and contains a blend of vitamins and an antioxidant. It is aimed at consumers who find water bland and boring but who are still keen to reach their recommended two litres a day quota, and who want to get more than hydration when quenching their thirst.

"I had seen people adding Vitamin C and Berocca tablets to bottled water, but when I tried this myself, the froth bubbled up over the bottle making a sticky mess.

"The horse-sized tablets were also a problem and had to be broken in half just to get into the neck, with crumbs going everywhere," said Yates, who came up with the idea for the newcomer when struggling to drink the six litres of water recommended per day when training for the Marathon Des Sables.

Yates expects the newcomer to clock up first-year sales of more than £1.3m across all its sales channels, including the web, foodservice and retail.

"We have had many approaches for own label NPD in both mix sachets form and more recently also for ready-to-drink functional offerings," said Yates.

"Consumers love the theatre of creating their own magic drink from refilling water bottles with tap or cooler water rather than buying an expensive branded product, which also adds to the PET waste mountain."

Before setting up Santeau in 2004 in his spare room, Yates spent 12 years working in IT selling corporate planning systems.

The company, which outsources the majority of its marketing and manufacturing activities, now employs four people.