Ex-vitaminwater execs prepare for national rollout at Target for agua enerviva: ‘Energy water is a new category and we’re leading the charge’

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Agua Enerviva founder Dr Carol Dollard: “Could agua enerviva get to $100m? Absolutely,”
Agua Enerviva founder Dr Carol Dollard: “Could agua enerviva get to $100m? Absolutely,”
While sales of vitaminwater and SoBe Lifewater have been pretty lackluster of late, US consumers are still looking for functionality along with hydration and refreshment in the enhanced waters category, and energy is the one trend that refuses to go away, says the founder of agua  enerviva.

The brainchild of former Glaceau (vitaminwater) COO Dr Carol Dollard and Glaceau CFO Michael Venuti, agua enervivá was launched in the New York metro area in 2012 but is now rolling out to a far wider audience following a brand and packaging refresh in early 2014 that saw it move into a slimmer bottle with a cleaner design emphasizing ‘natural energy hydration’.

Designed to straddle the energy, sports, and enhanced water categories, each 8oz serving contains 10 calories, 100mg of ‘natural’ caffeine from guarana extract, electrolytes from sodium chloride and potassium citrate, and the kind of fruity flavors you’d expect from Hispanic-inspired agua fresca beverages.

Category managers and buyers have really embraced the brand

While the products - which come in Tea and Lemonade, Orange Passion and Pomegranate Acai flavors - are sweetened with cane sugar and sucralose (which delivered a superior taste to high intensity natural sweeteners such as stevia, said Dr Dollard), they contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

The target audience is 18-34 year olds of both sexes looking for a caffeine hit and a cleaner label at an affordable price (MRSP $1.39 for a 20oz bottle), said Dr Dollard, who was speaking to FoodNavigator-USA after securing the go-ahead for a national rollout at Target, which will introduce agua enervivá to 920 stores in late October.

“We’re also doing really well in gyms, Fairway Market, and mass grocery retailers in the New York metropolitan region, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and upstate Connecticut. Category managers and buyers have really embraced the brand and they like what we’ve been able to do with it in a short period of time without a whole lot of money. Energy water is a new category and we’re really leading the charge.

“We’re seeing consumers who want energy and refreshment and a fresh taste without the calories or the sugar. Our consumer is the ‘everyday achiever’ that wants great-taste and wants to live life to the fullest.”

Agua Enerviva at fairway

agua enerviva brand could be a $100m national brand

But is agua  enerviva the next vitaminwater or Sparkling ICE, and how big could the 'energy water' category become?

Early signs are encouraging, claimed Dr Dollard, who said the deal with Target would soon give the brand a national presence.

Could agua enervivá get to $100m? Absolutely. I’m not sure how fast we can do it, but I think we can get their faster than we did with vitaminwater.”

agua enerviva ticks three key boxes: hydration, refreshment and functionality, says Euromonitor

So what do market watchers make of the brand?

Agua Enerviva at target
Agua Enerviva is rolling out to more than 900 Target stores nationwide next month

Euromonitor International beverages analyst Jonas Feliciano is optimistic given that agua  enerviva ticks the hydration, refreshment and functionality boxes - and while Dollard denies she is going after the same demographic - he says the new slimmer packaging and colorful bottles will remind shoppers of Sparkling ICE, which has been hugely successful.

"It’s on trend," ​he adds.

As for consumers, although big fans of Red Bull and Monster original may not switch to energy waters, agua  enerviva‘s 'naturally energizing’ message, fruity flavors and low calorie positioning would likely appeal to many shoppers that have historically been big drinkers of diet carbonates but are increasingly looking for something perceived to be healthier, he says.

Jonas Feliciano headshot
Jonas Feliciano: Hydration, refreshment and functionality

And while functional waters such as vitaminwater were designed to appeal to this demographic, he says, "I think there was a backlash against vitaminwater because it was making all these claims but people looked at the sugar content and said this is not healthy.”

Natural energy

And as for ‘natural energy’, he says, while much of the growth in the energy drinks category is still being driven by Red Bull original and the core ‘green’ Monster Energy line, it’s no secret that manufacturers are looking at more ‘natural’ sources of caffeine such as guarana berries of guayusa​ or other ingredients that deliver energy without using caffeine at all. 

(Click HERE​ to read about PepsiCo’s recent patent application in this area).

Monster is also preparing to launch a non-caffeinated energy drink called Monster Unleaded this year, he notes. (According to Monster CEO Rodney Sacks, 'Unleaded' has been designed to appeal to “consumers who until now were not consumers of energy drinks​” or “would like to limit their daily consumption of caffeine but wish to increase the consumption of Monster, particularly later in the day or early evening”.)

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QC, making this product.

Posted by Monica,

I really like this drink before any other energy water drinks so far... My company works with a few names out there some are good and others are mmyeeh..ok, "in my opinion that is, but this one particular is my new fave it still has that water refreshment with that light taste of flavor..vitamin and energy one needs. Whenever my company brings aboard a new customer its always curious fun. like "lets get mixing and testing! Once me and my team approved the batch the wait to see the finished product on my behalf was a great share of excitement when finally seeing the new sleeves on the bottles along with working with a new customer. I couldn't wait to try all the flavors Agua Enerviva had to offer. I believe this product will take off fast, "yes in that 1million Mark and beyond!

Thanks Carol,
It was nice working with and meeting you!
Good luck to your success!

Monica UB QC

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WHY use sucralose?

Posted by Judy,

Growing up I was told not to drink the pool water because of the chlorine. I filter my water from the faucet to avoid drinking chlorine - so WHY put it into a drink I am going to buy?

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