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Masterfoods latest offering, Aquadrops, represents an innovative move in the UK confectionery market in creating what it claims will be a completely new category. Overall success will surely be contingent on convincing consumers that this new form of hydration offers benefits over conventional drinks.

After being introduced to US consumers at the end of 2003, Aquadrops will hit UK shelves for the first time later this month, promising consumers the experience of a "cooling hit of instant hydration and lasting refreshment" in a sweet. Described as dual-action sugar-free drops, the product will come in apple and citrus flavors and be sold in pocket-sized containers. The 32g plastic packs will be sold for around £0.75.

The product launch comes on the back of extensive consumer research that showed there was an opportunity for a tablet format that could quench thirst. Masterfoods research revealed that its target market of 18 to 35 year-olds indicated their mouths felt dry between four and six times a day. 

Consequently, the brand is focused on offering relief to consumers with "dry mouth moments", whether after eating spicy food, hangovers, traveling on overcrowded trains or buses, staying in smoky or air-conditioned environments or being in nervous situations.

Aquadrops will be backed with a substantial £4.3m advertising spend, and will be supported by TV, press, PR, outdoor and sampling campaigns to heighten product awareness and undoubtedly educate consumers about the specific functional benefits.

There would appear to be three potential hurdles impacting the success of Aquadrops. Firstly, it will still have to beat competition from increasingly innovative breath freshening heavyweights. Secondly, success will also rely heavily on the effectiveness of the promotional effort in convincing consumers that digesting tablets represents an effective form of hydration, especially given the dehydrating impact of many confectionery items. Finally, with diminishing drinks sizes being continuously introduced to cater for on-the-go consumers, convincing consumers about superior portability benefits may prove to be a difficult task.


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