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Flavored waters run deep

BY Barbara White-Sax

Sales of plain PET bottled water may be flat, but there’s significant action in flavored and enhanced waters. Glaceau’s Vitaminwater Zero saw triple-digit sales increases in all three channels (excluding Walmart) for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 7, according to the SymphonyIRI Group. Sales of the company’s Smartwater jumped 25% during the same period.

Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s also have introduced private-label electrolyte-enhanced still waters.

More growth could be coming from unsweetened products. John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest, said that while unsweetened flavored and enhanced waters remain a small part of the business, they are a segment worth watching. “I think we’ll see more of these products that offer a bit of flavor over the next year,” he said.

Gary Hemphill, SVP information services at Beverage Marketing Corp., called the products a “reflection of the innovation in the marketplace and the continued movement toward healthier refreshment.” Sicher sees more consumer interest in functional beverages, and this segment appeals to consumers’ desire for “hydration.”

Ayala Laufer-Cahana, founder of Herbal Water, believed consumers want flavor but not calories. Herbal Water unsweetened still and sparkling waters, sold in national supermarkets, come in sophisticated and complex flavors, such as cloves/cardamom/cinnamon and lemongrass/mint/vanilla.

Hint, another naturally flavored still water, has had sales increases of 50% per year, according to COO Theo Goldin. The product is sold in Duane Reade stores and in supermarkets. Both Herbal Water and Hint recently introduced sparkling water line extensions.

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Beverages Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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Spartan brand products to feature Facts Up Front nutrition labeling

BY Antoinette Alexander

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Spartan Stores has announced that its Spartan brand packaging now will include front of packaging nutrition icons to help busy consumers make informed decisions when they shop. The new labels support the voluntary Facts Up Front nutrition labeling system designed by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturing Association.

Spartan Stores has voluntarily placed the Facts Up Front nutrition icons on the front of products to highlight calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar per serving, the daily value percentages for saturated fat and sodium, plus up to two icons showing "nutrients to be encouraged," such as fiber, protein, calcium and vitamins.


Spartan Stores was in the process of redesigning more than 2,000 Spartan brand labels in January 2011 when the GMA and FMI boards of directors — which together represent more than 80% of packaged food and beverage sales in the United States — unanimously endorsed the Facts Up Front (formerly known as Nutrition Keys) initiative. The $50 million Facts Up Front consumer education campaign will launch in early 2012, when consumers will see the new icons on a majority of products in the marketplace.


"Spartan Stores is committed to providing its D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare, Glen’s, VG’s and 375 independent Spartan Stores’ customers with easy-to-read and understand nutrition labeling on more than 2,000 Spartan brand products. This is a tremendous voluntary undertaking, but we believe our customers will appreciate the Facts Up Front labeling as they can help them quickly make healthier decisions on food and beverage choices. We wanted to get the labels on products as quickly as possible,” stated Alan Hartline, Spartan Stores EVP merchandising and marketing.



Rollout of the Facts Up Front new labeling system already is on the following product categories:

  • Spartan Frozen Chicken — in stores now;
  • Spartan Baked Beans — in stores now;
  • Fresh Selections Salads — will be among one of the first categories to have the Facts Up Front;
  • Spartan Canned Fruit — coming soon; and
  • Completed on all Spartan private brand and Spartan Fresh Selections packaging by January 2013.

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Getting down to ‘Just the Basics’ pays off

BY Antoinette Alexander

Private-label penetration at CVS/pharmacy locations is expected to grow to more than 20% in the next two to three years, and to help drive that growth, the retailer has developed its new Just the Basics line of store-brand products.


Officially launched in February 2011, the brand represents a functional, value-
priced, smart-simplicity positioning. It is comprised of nearly 100 items, and there are plans to expand the line going forward.


In developing the line, CVS/pharmacy conducted customer focus groups where it identified the need for an opening price point value brand. It then defined that the brand would consist of everyday essential products that would help get her 
through her day.


Just the Basics offers shoppers a large selection of practical items from a variety of categories throughout the store, including household, beauty, baby and personal care. The products start at 67 cents and can be found at store locations nationwide and online at CVS.com.


At CVS/pharmacy, store-brand and proprietary products made up 17.2% of front-store sales as of the second quarter ended June 30, up 70 basis points from the prior year, as shoppers remain value-conscious.

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