7-Eleven hosted its second-annual “Brands With Heart” event to get an early and organized look at the crowded pipeline of US food and beverage startups. BD spoke to Harkness to better understand 7-Eleven’s strategy around emerging brands.
Private label offerings, which account for half of the plain bottled water market at retail, added 4 share points during the first nine months of this year, according to data tracked by BD. As shown in the Green Sheet attached to this issue,
Coca-Cola has now confirmed details of its mainstream sparkling water launch, which we first wrote about in August (BD 8/29/19). Called Aha, the brand’s March debut will challenge National Beverage’s LaCroix and PepsiCo’s Bubly. Until now, Coke has resisted entering the mainstream sparkling water category with a sweeping challenger, opting instead for line extensions of Dasani and Smartwater, plus Topo Chico. Aha marks a reversal of that strategy as Coca-Cola aims to capitalize on the struggles of market leader LaCroix while slowing down the relatively unchecked growth of category disruptor Bubly. Aha’s success will depend largely on Coke’s ability to grab consumers’ attention in a crowded category that offers little differentiation between mainstream formulas.