The Highs and Lows of a Growing Wellness Beverage Market
A new wave of drinks is coming to market — and aiming to supplant predecessors that have less of a wellness edge.
Just a few years ago, LaCroix was having a moment. The technicolor cans were plastered all over Instagram and stocked in fridges everywhere. But lately, there’s been a shift in what consumers want in a wellness drink.
Back in 2018 — around the same time LaCroix faced a backlash for using mysterious “natural flavors” in its drinks — Spindrift sparkling water was gaining traction in the wellness beverage space. Even though Spindrift does contain calories (unlike LaCroix), it seems customers appreciate the brand’s transparency about that fact. And rather than using mysterious chemicals, Spindrift is flavored with a hint of fruit juice.
This shift in consumer taste underscores how touting products as calorie-free has become passé. Instead it’s all about using quality ingredients and clearly listing them on the label, which Spindrift does.
Another sign of the change in health beverages is Liquid IV, the latest competitor to Gatorade. The hydration-electrolyte mix maker just received $5 million in funding — not just from any investors but from celebrities and musicians including Usher and Kevin Hart. The move to land these high-profile investors is more about marketing than needing the funds. Not only will the celebrities endorse the brand but they’ll also have skin in the game, which means they’ll likely want to promote the drink regularly.
Meanwhile big alcohol brands like Molson Coors and Anheuser-Busch InBev are pouring billions into the cannabis beverage market, though the jury is still out whether there’s consumer demand for such products or not. Either way, all of these strategic moves suggest that wellness drinks will continue to be a bubbly category.
FOOD & DRINK
Why Spindrift Sparkling Water Is On the Rise: Oh, what a difference a few years make. Until recently Americans stocked up on LaCroix, the zero-calorie sparkling water, like it was going out of business. But Spindrift fizzy water is now getting all the buzz — and yep, it has calories. The change in what customers want shows that for the most part, they’re done counting calories and prefer a drink with a little squeezed juice rather than one that’s made with questionable “natural flavors.” Read more here.
Celeb-Backed Hydration Drink Mix Gets a New Wave of $5 Million in Funding: DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato: This isn’t a list of performers at the Grammys. Instead it’s just a few of the celebrity backers of Liquid IV, an electrolyte mix that presumably helps users hydrate faster. A roster like this will likely mean liquid gold for the company — it has built-in celebrity influencers who can easily raise brand awareness with a quick post or tweet. Read more here.
Vegan Eggs Are Going Mainstream: Sales of plant-based eggs reached $6 million last year, but that number may only grow thanks to a new deal between JUST Egg and Canada’s Tim Hortons. The coffee shop has already seen success selling Beyond Meat’s sausages. This is the first fast food deal for the vegan egg brand — and it won’t be the last, as U.S. companies will likely want to capitalize on the vegan breakfast movement too.
Lululemon and Barry’s Bootcamp Partner to Cross-Promote: Fans of Barry’s Bootcamp will now be able to sport Barry’s-branded Lululemon gear, thanks to a new collaboration between the two fitness companies. The deal likely won’t boost Lululemon’s bottom line too much. The partnership is presumably a publicity move so Barry’s active clientele can be seen wearing the brand. And Barry’s gets clout for pairing with a high-end athleisure company. Lululemon has made similar cross-promotion plays with SoulCycle and Flywheel Sports. Read more here.
The CBD Industry Is Facing a Summer of Roadblocks: From drops in stocks to an FDA warning, it’s been a tough summer for the budding CBD industry. Take medical and wellness cannabis operator Curaleaf: Its stock fell after the FDA sent a warning letter to the company based on claims that its products could treat Alzheimer’s disease and more. Cannabis company Canopy Growth, meanwhile, ousted its CEO Bruce Linton — a major player in the industry — which caused its stock to drop too. Even so, demand for CBD isn’t likely to go anywhere. Read more here.