It just may be the ultimate clean energy drink: caffeinated water. As sales of bottled water continue to catch up with carbonated beverage sales, the functional water category continues to grow. (And yes, by “functional,” we mean an additional function beyond hydration.). Within that category, caffeinated water is “rapidly expanding,” Virginia Lee, senior beverages analyst at Euromonitor, told Fooddive.com.
Lee wrote Euromonitor’s recent report about the explosive growth of bottled water. In a blog post about her research, she talks about the rising demand for beverages that offer functionality without artificial ingredients and little or no added sweeteners. “Viewing this as a ‘white space’ opportunity, a number of companies have recently launched or relaunched caffeinated water in the U.S. to target consumers looking for healthy and natural functional drinks. Caffeinated water joins other products such as electrolyte-enhanced water, protein-enriched water and vitamin-enhanced water in the small but rapidly growing functional bottled water category.”
Caffeinated water may be able to siphon off energy drink fans as well as diet soda drinkers, says Lee. Buzzy water might also attract older energy drink consumers.
Food Dive cites Mintel research that suggests consumers seeking “natural” options may be more interested in water with an energy boost fueled by compounds other than caffeine, such as B vitamins. Mintel asked survey respondents to list the function/attributes they would use if they could create their own ideal bottled water product. Four in five respondents preferred some sort of nutritional or functional benefit, and two in five consumers preferred bottled water with vitamins. Of those looking for an energy boost, few indicated their ideal would have caffeine.