Flavoured water is well- placed to capture market share from the carbonated market as consumers become increasingly concerned about the health of their diets.
Even the fizzy drink-loving Scots are getting the health message. A World Health Organisation survey in 2004 showed Scottish teenagers drank more carbonated soft drinks than youngsters anywhere else in Europe.
"Flavoured water is showing good growth," says Asda's soft drinks buyer, Jon Cummings. "We say one Scotsman is worth two Englishmen when it comes to soft drinks. Even Scots are realising they shouldn't be drinking two litres of Irn-Bru every day. "But it's a big move to go straight to water, and the middle ground is flavoured sparkling water."
Flavoured water has 44% share of the bottled water market and was valued at £133m [TNS 52 w/e 3 December] with sales up 11% year-on-year.
Nestlé Waters' Vittel flavours grew 74% year-on-year and there's more to come, suggests brand controller Catherine Morris.
"Everyone sees water as a big opportunity and flavours will play a part in that," he says.
Functional waters are becoming big news too, according to David Patmore, marketing director for Princes Soft Drinks.
"Huge growth has led to product and consumer segmentation. At one time, the major brands built their businesses based on provenance - the purity and allure of their water sources," he says. "Now people still want to know their water comes from a pure source. But many people are also drinking water to keep them fitter, help them concentrate and to detox."
Princes Soft Drinks is launching two sports waters this month to meet demand for functional sports drinks.
"Sales of sports drinks have grown almost 28% in volume during the past year and it's the fastest-growing area of the market, accounting for more than 1% of total sales," says Patmore. "The Aqua-Pura brand extensions offer consumers a solution for hydration.
"Activa is designed to improve rehydration before and during exercise, while Reviva contains mineral extracts to aid recovery during and after exercise."
Princes is targeting active consumers aged 18 to 34. The launch will be supported by outdoor advertising and an integrated PR campaign.
Following the relaunch of its Saka Flavoured Natural Mineral Water range, Navson is now tapping into the superfood trend, with pomegranate and cranberry & raspberry variants.
"Saka's flavoured mineral water contains no added sugar and is a great alternative to fizzy drinks," says Navson sales and marketing director Nevid Ahmed.
Carbonated water has a 11% market share and is valued at £33m. Though sales are declining 2% year-on- year, according to Sapna Sejpal at TNS, leading premium sparkling water brands are bucking this trend. Highland Spring says its sparkling water sales grew 17%, while Nestlé Waters' San Pellegrino Italian sparkling water was up 20%.
"San Pellegrino has built its reputation through restaurants," says Morris from Nestlé Waters. "People have bought into the brand - they associate it with a nice meal out and want a nice glass bottle to go on the table when they recreate that atmosphere at home."n