From Beverage Digest 2/19/99

Coke Announces Dasani Water.
CCE's Schimberg Cites Appeal of Purified Water.

Coca-Cola Co plans to announce debut of new bottled water on Friday, Feb. 19. Name: "Dasani" (BD 2/5/99). Coke says product will be purified still water "enhanced with minerals for a pure, fresh taste." Coke's move meets bottlers' need for nationally advertised/promoted bottled water product to compete with Pepsi's Aquafina. BD estimates PET segment of water business -- 1.5-liter and under -- currently growing at over +20%. Price. Industry executive predicts price for 20-oz Dasani at "about 99¢." Timing. Coke Consolidated will debut product in April in Carolinas. CCE follows in certain markets "within weeks," says industry executive. Company plans full-scale national roll-out, in stages.

Package. Coke will introduce Dasani in several light blue PET packages: 20-oz single-serve and 6-packs; 1-liter; 1.5-liter. 20-oz package will be Coke's bolt bottle introduced with Surge in 1997 (BD 12/14/96). Source says 1-liter and 1.5-liter will also use bolt bottle design. Previously, bottlers said Coke planned new proprietary package for Dasani. But industry executive says it's now "unclear" whether Coke plans different package in future for bottled water.

Schimberg. Days before Coke's announcement, Henry Schimberg -- CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises -- observes: "We have waters in our portfolio on a market-by-market basis. There is no water we distribute nationally. The ability to distribute and promote a water nationally would offer us a significant advantage." Adds: "Consumer (research) finds purified water is equally attractive as spring water." Continues: "Purified water would give us a cost-of-goods advantage. So, all-in-all, the introduction of a water (from Coca-Cola Co) would be a big positive for CCE."

Floor cost. Coke bottler comments -- plus analysis by Sanford Bernstein's Bill Pecoriello -- illustrate cost-of-goods issue. Bottlers/Bernstein estimate floor cost of Dasani will be about $5.50. Say that compares to $6.75-$7 for mid-tier priced spring water; Evian at $11. Comparisons are for cases of twenty-four 20-oz bottles. Pecoriello says Aquafina at $4.30 floor cost. However, one executive urges caution in comparing floor costs. Says "with waters -- and especially purified waters -- comparisons are difficult." Adds, "production, marketing and packaging can skew these numbers."

US Water Business
 
  C-stores  Share +/-    
  Aquafina 14.4   +2.4   
  Evian 12.0 -0.8   
  Naya 7.9 +0.4   
  Poland Spring 4.9 +0.1   
  Arrowhead 3.9 +0.2   
 
  Supermarkets  Share +/-   
  Dannon 11.5 +1.9  
  Pvt label 9.7 +0.8  
  Evian 8.4 -3.0  
  Poland Spring 8.3 +0.5  
  Crystal Geyser 6.9 -0.8  

Advertising/promotion. Coke plans to promote new product with sampling. Additionally, Adweek reports Berlin Cameron ad agency will create "TV, radio and print effort."

Market. Independent data for full-year 1998 shows Pepsi's Aquafina now leads in C-stores with 14.4 market share; up +2.4 vs full-year 1997 (see table). Evian in #2 spot, but loses share. In supermarkets, Dannon leads. Dannon is Evian's stable-mate; both owned by French-based Groupe Danone. Dannon distributed via warehouse.

Other waters. Nearly all US Coke bottlers now handle other waters, including Evian, Naya or Vermont Pure. Evian likely retains -- and increases -- presence in Coke system. But some others likely get dropped from Coke system (see analysis in BD 2/5/99). Naya. Industry executive predicts, "CCE will switch out Naya for Dasani." Future of bottlers' small regional waters unclear.


Related Article: Coke Nears The Water's Edge (11/6/98).

Return to 2/19/99 Headlines.

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