As global consumers move away from high-sugar beverages in search of healthier options, flavoured and sparkling waters have experienced growth all over the world as brands market their products as more nutritious alternatives to sugar-sweetened drinks.
This growth has been pronounced in markets such as North America and Europe, but the trend has also attracted consumers in major Asian markets such as Japan, Hong Kong and China, as upwardly mobile young consumers seek new experiences.
Jenny Bond, Nestlé Waters’ regional director Asia Pacific spoke at the Food and Beverage Innovation Forum 2018 (FBIF2018) in Shanghai, China about the challenges of marketing premium waters to consumers who are primarily accustomed to drinking hot water beverages, and she spoke in further detail to FoodBev’s Martin White.
Is the growing demand for drinks such as sparkling water due mainly to changing consumer attitudes?
Yes, mainly their attitudes towards their health and well-being.
Sugar-free, all natural and no, or low, calories offers guilt-free refreshment and something a bit more exciting than plain water, which is of course still the cornerstone of healthy hydration.
Does Nestlé Waters view the Asia-Pacific market as a key area for future growth?
For Perrier, China, Japan and Korea are the largest markets.
There is a lot of potential across this region as the middle class expands with urbanisation, increasing affluence and more awareness of healthy living.
For Perrier, the growth will come from expanding beyond the expatriate community to young locals who enjoy trying new tastes and experiences, as it has done in Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and is currently happening in China, notably in Shanghai but also beyond.
How essential is the Chinese market for Nestlé Waters compared with other markets?
The Chinese market is, of course, attractive for all CPG companies!
For Perrier specifically, our business in China doubled in 2017 and the brand has a great image amongst the young, upwardly mobile, urban consumer.
What trends in the beverage industry will beverage brands need to embrace the future?
The healthy living trend is here to stay. Consumers are becoming increasingly fickle and always looking for something new to try.
“For me, the biggest thing is how we address packaging waste in the future, both through recyclable and bio-degradable solutions.
What does the future hold for Nestlé Waters in terms of product development?
That would depend on which part of Nestlé Waters, since the international brand’s innovation will be quite different from the local brands or Nestlé Pure Life.
There has been a lot of recent innovation in sparkling flavours across the business, Perrier has just launched Perrier and Juice in the USA and France for example.
Jenny Bond spoke at the Food and Beverage Innovation Forum 2018 (FBIF2018) in Shanghai, China, hosted by Simba Events
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