ALEXANDRIA, Va.— Packaged beverages are the second largest in-store category in convenience stores, according to the NACS State of the Industry Report of 2020 Data. Retailers rely on this hot category as a key profit center and trip driver, but there’s one standout subcategory that is even hotter.
After struggling in 2020, likely due to decreased in-store traffic, enhanced water outpaced all packaged beverage subcategories in sales growth across March (40.4%) and April 2021 (106.4%) on a year-over-year basis, according to NielsenIQ data. Low calories, a higher level of purity and innovative hydration qualities are attracting consumers to these products.
A few types of enhanced waters have separated themselves from the pack. Nutrient enhanced and distilled water had the highest sales volume and growth percentage increase between February and April 2021. Perfect/balanced pH and ionized alkaline distilled water product sales also increased during this time frame.
Among the 30 top-selling enhanced water brands from February to April 2021, the following three had the highest increase in sales growth:
- 62% - Core Perfect pH Water With Electrolytes (23.9 ounces)
- 56% - Glacéau Smartwater Perfectly Balanced pH With Electrolytes (23.7 ounces)
- 55% - Lifewater pH Balanced With Electrolytes for Taste (23.7 ounces)
Nestlé’s March 2021 purchase of enhanced water producer Essentia follows Keurig Dr Pepper’s acquisition of water bottler Bai in 2016 and Coca-Cola’s purchase of Vitamin Water in 2007.
The Alkaline Water Company also has established partnerships with convenience retailers Yesway and CEFCO, further boosting enhanced water’s position in the $230 billion global bottled water market.
According to the new NACS Category Definitions & Number Guide, the enhanced water subcategory includes fortified and aquaceutical products, including flavoring, protein, vitamin or other enhancements.