- Coca-Cola is debuting a sparkling version of its smartwater brand to better compete in the fast-rising sparkling water category with category leaders like Perrier and LaCroix.
- The sparkling smartwater is expected to launch first at some restaurants, hotels, and stores in New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami with expansion planned for next year.
- Sparkling water could be one answer to offsetting Coca-Cola's struggles with soda sales, as sales for the category overall have fallen consistently in the U.S. for the past decade.
Soda sales are gradually diminishing as consumers grow more concerned about sugar consumption, the recommended daily intake for which the FDA recently capped at no more than 10% of daily calories, and the country's increased rate of obesity. Even diet soda, which was once seen as the healthier alternative, is seeing rapidly falling sales as consumers have begun to turn away from artificial sweeteners.
In addition to other non-carbonated beverages like ready-to-drink tea and bottled water, sparkling water is quickly becoming an attractive option for consumers who are looking to avoid soda. "Driving the change is the growth of sparkling water, which saw a 22% increase in dollar sales last year on top of a 32% increase in 2013," according to The Motley Fool.
Coca-Cola is also planning a carbonated Minute Maid product for early 2016.