With so many new launches in soft drinks, the category is increasingly confusing for consumers to make purchase decisions. However by going back to the basics on key buying motivations, suppliers and retailers can ensure their on-shelf NPD is successful, says AQUA Carpatica

So, what’s new? This question comes up time and again when it comes to product development (NPD) and new items hitting the shelves.

The beverage industry has not seen a dull moment on NPD in the past few years. With soft drinks representing the largest impulse channel and 41% of the category1, it is critical for both brands and businesses to keep their fingers on the pulse of consumer purchasing behaviour and meet the growing and ever-changing demands for healthy drink choices.

Health remains a key macro trend, with 85% of shoppers revealing an aspiration to improve their diet and, in particular, their attitude to sugar2. Increasingly, consumers are making informed choices, with a new desire to understand the ingredients on offer in the products they buy. As such, they are paying more attention to products’ nutrition and health benefits, what the offers actually are, and which ones should be avoided.

At the same time, premiumisation trends in food and drink, driven largely by the pursuit of better taste, bring market opportunities to chilled drinks, with elevating experiences becoming another key trend as a result.

And this is clearly supported by sales – ‘water-plus’ (water with added flavours or benefits) has also returned to pre-pandemic levels on flavoured/local provenance, with health and taste driving a robust forecast3.

And despite the demand for low- and no-sugar products to aid healthier diets, when it comes to soft drinks, taste remains the defining factor. Products that aspire to meet consumers’ health credentials by reducing their sugar content but fail to deliver on taste are likely to fall at the first hurdle. In The Grocer’s recent Guide to Soft Drinks supplement, it was revealed that taste is the number one driver of choice when it comes to soft drinks4.


Healthy sparkle

Educating consumers on choosing wisely when it comes to hydration has always been a company ethos for AQUA Carpatica, with three Ps always at the core of its mission: a heart-winning purpose; a healthy perspective; and a strong point of difference.

So as the consumer focus moves towards more rounded wellbeing, the company has aligned its NPD to wellness trends, offering a new addition to the portfolio – AQUA Carpatica Flavours – thus marking the entry of the brand into the flavoured category.

AQUA Carpatica Flavours comes in 4 SKUS, powered by natural mineral water, natural flavours and agave syrup, packaged in 330ml recyclable cans: Lime & Mint, Strawberry & Elderflower, Raspberry, and Peach & Mango.

The company’s core product is its award-winning natural mineral water and all derived items have this as the starting point. This means all products have the benefit of a natural mineral, virtually nitrate-free, low in sodium and rich in electrolytes as a key ingredient.

Drawn from pure aquifers, nestled deep in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, AQUA Carpatica combines an exceptionally balanced mineral content of calcium and magnesium, a great choice for health-conscious consumers

Forthcoming in terms of ingredients, design and functionality, AQUA Carpatica boasts a complex portfolio, offering both still and sparkling, in glass, PET (BPA free) and 100% rPET bottles. The award-winning range has one of the lowest sodium levels of bottled natural mineral waters. Fifteen different formats suit all consumption occasions: from on-the-go to big volumes for home occasions, and all consumption preferences: still and sparkling, plain and flavoured.

Consumers’ understanding of wise hydration is constantly evolving, and the same goes for demand for products that support and encourage a healthy lifestyle as increasingly savvy consumers recognise the value of natural propositions, with no ingredients artificially added, seeking out natural goodness, traceability, health benefits and ingredient transparency.

To find out more, please visit https://aquacarpatica.co.uk/flavours/

1 NielsenIQ RMS, Total Coverage, Impulse Categories Ranked by Value Sales
2 IGD ShopperVista Where do shoppers stand with sugar Report
3 2021 Market Developments and 2022 outlook, Zenith
4 Kantar Worldpanel, Online Usage, 2021