- Campbell Soup is launching V8+Hydrate, a new line of hydration beverages using sweet potatoes, according to a press release. The New Jersey company said this is the first-ever beverage to use the vegetable as natural electrolytes in a drink.
- The 8-oz cans have 45 calories, one serving of vegetables and no artificial sweeteners. The non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan drink comes in three flavors: strawberry cucumber, coconut watermelon and orange grapefruit. The drinks, which have a suggested retail price of $4.99 for a six-pack, will be sold by Amazon, Walmart.com and Peapod. It also is launching in retail outlets, MediaPost reported.
- The new product "responds to key consumer demands," Diego Palmieri, chief marketing officer for Campbell Soup’s U.S. Meals and Beverages division, said in a statement. "We know our consumers are seeking to live healthier lifestyles and turning to products that contain added nutrients and functionality."
Campbell Soup’s new drink contains all the buzzwords that consumers are looking for — healthy, gluten-free, plant-based, GMO-free and low calorie. For a company best known for soups, Pepperidge Farm cookies and Goldfish crackers, its new V8+Hydrate line pushes the company into the hydration business where it will compete against leading brands such as Gatorade, Powerade and BodyArmor.
Sales of water derived from plants like maple or coconut are projected to double to $5.4 billion by 2020 as “healthy hydration” grows in popularity, according to a report by Zenith Global. Campbell Soup may be hoping V8+Hydrate gives them a stake in this fast-growing market, and that sweet potatoes are the latest fad to catch on with consumers.
If shoppers gravitate to sweet potatoes to help them hydrate, then Campbell Soup could be among the early leaders. In a recent consumer study, Campbell Soup said the new V8+Hydrate Strawberry Cucumber drink was picked by consumers over Vita Coco Pure Coconut Water. It's a good start but the hydration and plant-based markets are competitive with several big-name brands already established.
This isn’t the first time Campbell Soup has expanded V8. A few years ago, the New Jersey company noticed that only 35% of people liked tomato-based drinks — the product V8 is known for. Campbell Soup has since added energy-based beverages to the V8 line as well as fruit and vegetable blends.
What's interesting about this product is not only the ingredients but where it's being sold. Campbell Soup is first selling V8+Hydrate at Amazon, Walmart.com and the two-dozen markets where Peapod operates and heading to stores. The decision to go online first could give the brand the opportunity to test its marketing prowess, collect data and focus on targeting millennials, the product's primary audience. Like other companies in the CPG space, Campbell Soup is cognizant that more consumers are purchasing their groceries online, and targeting the web first gives it a chance to work on honing its online expertise.
Taking an e-commerce-first approach for V8 +Hydrate “was an obvious move, as the consumer segment we’re targeting is making their purchase decisions outside of the traditional channels,” Palmieri told MediaPost. “The online platforms allow us to leverage content that is part of our brand story and ethos in a way we cannot engage with shoppers in the aisle."
For V8+Hydrate to have a chance to succeed, Campbell Soup will need to ramp up its marketing efforts through advertisements, tastings, social media channels and at concerts and other events popular with young consumers. While the product is entering the crowded plant and hydration spaces, Campbell Soup has a brand known by most consumers that should give it an immediate advantage. Like most new products, the question is whether the early momentum will last.
Correction: In a previous version of this article, the launch date at stores was incorrect due to an error in source material. The product shipped to stores last week.