Chris Brook-Carter | 19 January 2004
Within the soft drinks trade, the current mania is for functionality. And in an over-crowded market, it was only a matter of time before the functional claims moved from the obvious to the bizarre.
On Friday, we ran a story about a water brand, launched by Nestle, which claims to aid slimming. Water and slimming are, I suppose, a fairly natural fit, although whether consumers actually buy into the concept remains to be seen. That said, if there are visible results for those that do, Dr Atkins & co may have a fight on their hands.
It may be altogether easier to judge the physical results, though, of a second functional water brand to get press coverage last week. A mountainous Bosnian town is the site for the reopening of a bottling factory for a natural spring with alleged aphrodisiac qualities, with the catchy name "Muska Voda" (Men's Water). "We are sure that the Men's Water will chase Viagra out, at least from this region," said the optimistic Ahmo Gogic, co-owner of the newly-established Bosnian-German company which plans to restart bottling what was once the most profitable resource in town.
And then this morning we received an email from a company claiming it has developed a biological process for producing a consumable form of water which releases oxygen in the presence of enzymes; meaning you can drink it and it releases oxygen into your body, or apply it to the skin and it speeds up the healing process.
Can these sorts of products really develop profitable niches? It seems a little far- fetched at present even if the claims are true. However, the idea of bottled water taking off the way it has done was far-fetched a decade ago. And, I suppose, all it would take is the odd celebrity endorsement – Jennifer Aniston preaching the virtues of slimming water, or tales of Hugh Hefner passing out Man Water at his playboy parties – for these brands to turn from quack products to potential goldmines overnight.
Greetings from Zurich. Here as a guest of Heineken's Amstel brand, I'm due to sit down later today with the group's senior global director for international brands, Walter Drenth....
Drinks companies spend a lot of money on trying to predict trends. At last night's Worshipful Company of Distillers City debate, any strategists in the audience got a bit of forecasting for free....
I'll admit to being partial to an Aperol Spritz now and again, more usually in the summer months, sitting outside, shades on, slowly turning more golden/rusty....
Jim Cramer, the excitable host of stock-picker programme Mad Money on CNBC, turned his attention on US brewers last week, attempting to forecast which has the most potential for investors....
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