ATLANTA—Next year, Coca-Cola North America will debut a new sparkling water to meet evolving consumer demands and cut through a crowded category that continues to grow at double-digit rates.
“As the largest and fastest-growing part of the water business, mainstream flavored sparkling water is a segment we know we must double-down on,” said Celina Li, vice president of water for Coca-Cola North America. “AHA is our big-bet brand in this big-bet category.”
Eight bold flavor fusions pair widely appealing fruit flavors with trending but less expected ones. The flavors include Lime + Watermelon, Strawberry + Cucumber, Citrus + Green Tea, Black Cherry + Coffee, Orange + Grapefruit, Apple + Ginger, Blueberry + Pomegranate and Peach + Honey. The calorie-free, sodium-free offerings will hit stores in multi-packs of 12-fl.-oz. cans and in 16-fl.-oz. individual cans.
Extensive research and consumer insights informed the development process that brought AHA from concept to prototype in just over six months. In addition to mining category purchase data, Coke spoke to thousands of consumers. “There are unmet needs for consumers in the category today, both for those who don’t drink sparkling water regularly today and for those who do,” said Julie Siwemuke, sparkling water director for Coca-Cola North America. “When shoppers browse the sparkling water aisle, they’re looking for interesting and approachable flavors that offer a refreshing treat. They're also drawn to fun, colorful brands with personality.”
Americans are drinking sparkling water on more occasions and at more times of day—and for more reasons—than ever. Two of the flavors—Citrus + Green Tea and Black Cherry + Coffee—include 30 milligrams of caffeine. “Our partners told us, ‘We don’t need yet another lime- or berry-flavored sparkling water. We need something fresh and new that can help grow the category,’” Siwemuke said.
AHA will be the first major brand launch in a decade for Coca-Cola North America (Gold Peak, now a billion-dollar tea brand, debuted in 2006). The rollout comes as Americans’ thirst for drinks without sugar or calories—but with fizz and flavor—continues to grow. AHA will replace DASANI Sparkling at retail, which has been on the market since 2014. DASANI Sparkling will continue to be available on DASANI PureFill and Coca-Cola Freestyle.