At-home machine infuses mineral water
- German start-up Mitte is developing a new countertop water filtration system that uses pods to add natural minerals and ingredients to water, according to FoodBev Media. There is no word yet on the cost of the system or replacement pods.
- The cartridges produce 400 liters of mineralized water each, and come in three varieties: alkaline, balance and vitality. "Alkaline" has a high pH level that is said to improve energy and metabolism, "balance" creates "a softer water with a natural taste," and "vitality" has a higher concentration of basic minerals that provides "a boost of hydration."
- When Mitte launches its product, it will be with a direct-to-consumer subscription model. Smart software and internet connectivity allows Mitte to automatically ship a new cartridge when the current one is running low, so there is no need for the subscriber to remember to re-order more pods.
Consumers already use pods to make their morning coffee, and many have a water filtration system of some kind, so the concept of these pods isn’t much of a stretch. If the price point is economical and the system is easy to use, Mitte’s new invention could be a great success with consumers looking for value adds in the water category. However, if it's costly to replace the pods or the tank is a pain to fill, Mitte may have some troubled waters ahead.
There is a lot of upside to Mitte’s system that would appeal to today’s consumers. Premium waters are in growing demand, as is the ability to conveniently personalize eating and drinking experiences. The ability to tailor water to fit particular nutritional needs is a strong sell, especially since this system would also eliminate the need to buy containers of water to get special infusions. Sustainability and the environmental impact of a product is increasingly important to consumers, so this could also be a major draw.
This new system will go up against the three established water delivery systems: tap, bottled and home filtered. Mitte would not likely make many converts from the "drink from the tap" crowd, but it could lure some dedicated water bottle or filtered water customers to its side.
Lucky for Mitte, this is the perfect time to get into the water business. Earlier this year, bottled water overtook carbonated sodas as the largest beverage category by volume. Last year, total bottled water volume increased from 11.8 billion gallons in 2015 to 12.8 billion gallons, growth of approximately 9%. This marked the third year in a row of accelerating growth for the category.
It may be wise for soda companies, especially those with bottled water brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, to keep an eye on Mitte's progress. If it does well when its first models go on sale, it's possible that an acquisition could be worth considering.
If SodaStream’s success is any indicator, Mitte has a good chance of resonating with consumers. It follows a similar model of creating a value-added beverage at home, while also reducing waste. SodaStream’s numbers continue to climb, increasing its year-over-year operating income in the fourth quarter by 206% last year. If Mitte does well, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them come out with a carbonated filtration system in the future that could rival the countertop carbonator.