Coca-Cola dips further into vitamin waters

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Coca-cola

Following its $4.1bn step into the functional beverage category
last week, Coca-Cola North America is now swimming further into
vitamin-fortified waters through its Dasani brand.

The company made waves when it acquired Energy Brands, known as Glaceau, and its fortified water brands including Vitaminwater. Stagnant performance on the part of the beverage giant is said to have led it to expand further beyond carbonated beverages. By choosing vitamin waters as a new direction, the company is not only lending confidence to that category but virtually guaranteeing its success. And if the market growth data is the sign of things to come, functional water is where it's at. According to Euromonitor, in the US alone, the market for functional/fortified bottled water ballooned from $206mn in 2002 to $1.4bn in 2006. "The time was right to build on the success of the Dasani brand and its great taste promise, and to create the fresh-tasting enhanced water Dasani Plus,"​ said Gloria Garrett, Coca-Cola North America vice president, hydration. Time and again, market researchers highlight the characteristics of successful functional food or beverage as being convenience and taste, as well as that certain 'je ne sais quoi' or lifestyle appeal. The new nutritionally enhanced vitamin water lines driven by Coca-Cola look set to display all of these attributes. With fruity flavors, the zero-calorie Dasani line comes in three varieties under three slogans: "refresh and revive" has 10 percent of the reference daily intake (RDI) per serving of Vitamins B3, B6 and B12; "cleanse and restore" contains 10 percent of the RDI per serving of vitamins E, B3, B6, B12, plus 1g of fiber; "defend and protect" provides 10 percent of the RDI per serving of vitamin E and Zinc. "For consumers already seeking the added health benefits that vitamins and minerals provide, a nutrient-enhanced Dasani water with zero calories per serving is a real plus,"​ said Garrett. However, nutritionists are not convinced and still advocate fresh food sources as the best means of fulfilling the body's nutritional needs. "We get what we need from food and do not need the vitamins and minerals added to waters,"​ American Dietetic Association spokesperson Tara Gidus told NutraIngredients-USA. "It is always best to try to meet your nutrient requirements with natural foods."​ As for Glaceau, it will continue to operate as a separate business entity from Coca-Cola North America, but will make use of its new parent company's supply chain, marketing power and foodservice. Glaceau manufactures the brands Vitaminwater, Smartwater, Fruitwater and Vitaminenergy - so-called lifestyle water and energy drinks. Coca-Cola has also taken fortification into its carbonated beverages. The company announced the launch of Diet Coke Plus in April. The beverage is being sold at retail stores in the US, where other Diet Coke products are already sold. Each eight-ounce can of Diet Coke Plus provides 15 percent of the daily value of Niacin, B6 and B12, 10 percent of the daily value for zinc and magnesium. The beverage giant recently saw a difficult start into the energy drink category. Along with Nestlé, the company launched Enviga - a carbonated, green tea beverage that claims to burn more calories than it provides. In February, Lawsuits were filed by consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) against both Coca-Cola and Nestlé for claiming Enviga can help consumers burn off calories.

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