Launched five years ago, TEN Water is currently available on Amazon Prime and Walmart.com and 4,000+ brick-and-mortar stores, including Publix, Wegmans, Food Lion, Ingles and Food City, said Fernandez, who credits the company’s success to consumers’ interest in high-alkaline diets and increased public concern surrounding municipal water sources.
“We’re in the enhanced waters, high pH space – anything over a pH of 8 or above – and the difference between us and other players in the US is that we are the only water from a natural spring source and we’re at the highest pH at 10 that we can maintain for two years.”
Another key point of difference, says Fernandez, who notes that consumers are confused by the plethora of messages and claims on premium waters, is that TEN Water is typically priced around 10% lower than rivals in the space.
“There are typically anything from three to five alkaline water brands on the shelf when the consumer has to make a choice so we try to scream ’10 pH’ and ‘spring water’ and ‘the right price’ to stand out on the shelf. On a one-liter bottle, our everyday price is $1.89-$1.99 whereas Essentia is $2.19 to $2.29, although we all do promotions – two for $3 or three for $5 and so on.”
The #1 selling alkaline water brand in Publix
He added: “We’re a small, privately owned company with no debt and we’re the #4 brand in the US in the high pH water space, and we’ve done that in just five years. It's looking like revenues for 2018 will be around $5m, and we're predicting they will be around double that next year.
“When we started, our strategy was getting into Mom and Pop stores and natural stores, and from there, we eventually got into Whole Foods, and then Publix here in Florida [where TEN Water is based], and we’re now the number one selling high pH water brand in Publix.
"Over the next two to three years we want to become a national brand – doors are opening that were not open two years ago. I’m also starting meetings with convenience stores and pharmacies.”
Are there proven benefits to alkaline water?
Asked about the science behind alkaline water given that Trader Joe’s has just been hit with a false advertising lawsuit alleging there is no reliable scientific evidence to support its purported benefits, Fernandez acknowledged that the TEN website claims that “TEN water gives you superior hydration [presumably by replacing electrolytes lost through sweat after prolonged rigorous exercise]."
However, TEN Water is not making any hard claims specifically related to alkalinity, he argued.
“We've never done any scientific studies, but people call and email me all the time to say that drinking it has changed their health. There are lots of opinions about alkaline waters and people that drink them every day claim to feel really good and say it's improved their health, but we're not making such claims."
While the brand highlights its pH level on the front of pack and actively promotes the fact its has "the highest alkalinity of any water on the market," the brand name does not relate to its pH, insisted Fernandez.
“Our brand is called TEN, but it's not called TEN for the pH. It's about perfection, taste, how you feel, you know, perfect water."