Made from watermelon flesh, watermelon rind, and organic lemon, with no added sugar, water or flavors, WTRMLN WTR started out in the natural channel in 2013 (you can find it in Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, and Sprouts), said Levy, who was speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at the BevNET Live conference in Santa Monica this week.
However, it’s also “flying” off shelves in the conventional channel (it’s in Kroger, Costco, Stop & Shop, Safeway), along with fitness centers, airports and colleges, and Amazon.com, said Levy, who said the deal with Beyonce had given the premium but “accessible” brand “unprecedented exposure [other backers include CAVU Venture Partners and Agency of Trillions].”
Who’s buying WTRMLN WTR?
While the customer base currently skews about 60:40 female to male, with the hot pink branding and Beyonce’s involvement appealing to women, WTRMLN WTR has got some high-profile male fans including Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts and former NFL player and TV personality Michael Strahan, she said.
The bulk of the business is driven by single serve 12oz bottles (MSRP up to $3.99) designed for grab & go chillers, but WTRMLN WTR has also developed multipacks for people that want to stock up for home consumption, she said.
For the holiday season, it has also developed limited edition cases of 12 bottles (adorned with lights) available online and in stores as part of a tie up with RED, whereby for every case sold, it will donate a day’s worth of medicine to mothers living with HIV.
100% juice… without all the sugar
A cold pressed, high-pressure processed product with a 45-day shelf life, WTRMLN WTR is unusual in that it is a 100% juice rather than a ‘water’, but has a lot less sugar than most juices (60 calories, 12g sugar per 8floz serving vs 100+ calories and 20g+ sugar for an equivalent amount of orange juice) but still packs an impressive nutritional punch (740mg of potassium, 540mg of L-Citrulline, an amino acid for muscle recovery; and 9.5mg of lycopene).
Ugly fruit all year round
World Waters presses and bottles the product (made from ‘ugly’ US-grown watermelons that it says would otherwise go to waste as they don't meet retail standards) at facilities across the US and then treats it with high pressure processing (HPP) before it is transported on to retail customers.
However, it has also struck a deal with growers in Puerto Rico to grow watermelons from seeds it provides for times of year (the winter) when it is not possible to source the fruit from the US, she said.
While WTRMLN WTR’s early adopters were fitness enthusiasts, pro-athletes and everyday athletes, the brand has mass appeal because it is refreshing and tasty, added Levy.