Coca-Cola is launching a flavored sparkling Smartwater that they hope will be the new hype this summer. The new flavors available on shelves in North America later this month are Fuji apple pear, raspberry rose, and strawberry blood orange.
The release comes after Pepsi launched its new La Croix sparkling water last year. The drinks can be found in major markets in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston for now, but they will be available nationwide by early summer. Nancy Quan, the company’s chief technical officer stated the new Smartwater line:
“It gives you hydration, it gives you a sparkling essence, it gives you a flavor and it even has a nice smell, an aroma, when you open it. Those are all really critical to make sure that the consumer is as interested in this as something that’s got full sugar.”
Recently US consumers have been turning away from sugary soda choosing sparkling water for health reasons. They are now looking to drinks that have functional elements like nutritional value or a jolt of caffeine. In the past five years, sparkling water sales grew an estimated 118%.
Coke has been adding to its sparkling water portfolio since 2014 and it bought the US rights to Topo Chico, Mexico’s popular sparkling water in 2017. There’s also Dasani sparkling which comes in different flavors, and Seagram’s club soda and sparkling seltzer water. But Smartwater is a more premium product, being vapor-distilled and infused with electrolytes is focusing more on offering customers water with health benefits like protein and antioxidants that are trending among US Millennials.
According to Nielsen data cited by Coca-Cola, the company’s sparkling water sales in the US spiked 19% last year. Brad Spickert, senior vice president of hydration for Coca-Cola North America said last year: “Unsweetened flavored sparkling water is a dynamic and exciting category as we look at our long-term growth plans.”
It seems the company is on its way of becoming a total beverage company as it recently acquired UK-based Costa Coffee and also launched an Odwalla Smoobucha, a smoothie-kombucha drink in three flavors, as well as running tests for a line of non-alcoholic beverages inspired by cocktails.