Sales of “alternative waters" — those derived from plants or plant products — are expected to double to $5.4 billion by 2020, as “healthy hydration” keeps trending, according to a report by Zenith Global reported on in Beverage Industry. Sales were already up 21%, to $2.7 billion, in 2016, the report said.
Coconut water dominated the market last year. It had a 96% market share in volume, and an 86% market share in value.
Zenith anticipates the global market for these specialty drinks will reach 1,900 million liters by 2020, with strong growth in both the mainstream and premium markets.
The website for DRINKMaple, a leader in the maple water markets, shows a well-toned young lady on an exercise mat. She's surrounded by chalk-like labels of attributes of DRINKMaple's product, including: “Natural hydration,” “electrolytes,” “half the sugar of coconut water” and “gluten-free, dairy-free, non GMO." Oh, and there's “a hint of maple” and “46 naturally occurring nutrients.”
But as a Huffington Post article points out, quoting Monica Reinagel of QuickandDirtyTips.com, “Humans need completely different nourishment than maple trees — so [I'm] not sure that’s anything more than a cute but nonsensical marketing angle.”
Much the same could be said about coconut water drinks. They may do well at “natural hydration,” but so does tap water. These are fad drinks.
Retailers switching out sugary soda for yet more varieties of (oddly flavored) bottled water might want to keep their planograms handy: With little scientific evidence to support their claims, these products are likely to see their popularity drip away if the economy shifts into a downturn.