In this episode of Category Close-Up: Expert Analysis, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the bottled water category.
Our guests for this episode include: Larry Levin, EVP of Consumer Shopping Insights, IRI Caleb Bryant, Associate Director, Food & Drink, Mintel Neil Kimberley, Chief Strategy Officer, Essentia Ken Sadowsky, Senior Advisor, Verlinvest & Executive Director, Northeast Independent Distributors Association (NIDA) Franklin Isacson, Founding Partner, Coefficient Capital
In this episode, the panel examined the present and future of the $19 billion-plus bottled water segment, from the business and investment climate to consumer perception around the category to advances in technology that could unlock future purchasing occasions. Framing the conversation against the backdrop of both pandemic shopping trends and strong growth for sparkling waters, the panel examined how interest in the premium and commodity ends of the category are shaping the market (and what that means for brands in the middle) and why flavor innovations have both worked and not worked in still water. The group also discussed the unique challenges and questions around sustainability in bottled water and how brands, retailers and consumers themselves fit into the bigger conversation around recycling and reducing single-use plastic waste. Other topics include the market impact of functional waters, how brands are defining themselves in a space still dominated by private label products, and the appetite for institutional investment following Essentia’s recent purchase by Nestlé.