"I'll have a water please... enhanced!"

September 20, 2012
It’s hard to believe something as simple as water can be polarizing, but many either love it or hate it. Water can be many things regardless of where it comes from. This essential liquid is often termed tasteless, boring, plastic-like, and metallic. Many people even argue over which is better — bottled or tap water — and in my family there are even arguments about which water tastes the best out of which faucet in the house.

The recent increase of bottled water consumption over the last decade has brought about a rise in products called “water fortifiers.” These products illustrate people’s preference for creating their own beverages because water just tastes like, well… water.

In a world where people are looking for customization in their foods and beverages, these water enhancers and drink mixes allow consumers to stay hydrated and customize their water to almost any flavor. It’s almost as though the consumer gets a chance to put on a product developer’s cap and use their creativity. I find this new product category very interesting and can see it growing immensely over the next couple years, especially with the recent additions of the energy components to these water enhancers.

Drink mixes have always been around longer than this most recent explosion of water-enhancing, concentrated syrups, but many companies are trying to get their piece of the market share. Kraft has led the way with MiO, and Coca-Cola has also trademarked their Dasani Drops as part of their water line. There are so many flavors to choose from that combinations are endless. You can even add those to an already flavored beverage for an extra twist. I find myself adding the orange tangerine and lemonade drink stick or sachet into a bottle of water for a really tasty citrus drink. I’ll even add a couple drops to protein shakes after a workout when I’m looking for a change in taste.

The biggest benefit to these water enhancers and drink sticks is the convenience factor. You can pretty much take these products anywhere – in your car, backpack, briefcase, or gym bag. All you need is a water bottle or a bottle of water to create your own beverage. Could you imagine putting 20-30 sports drinks in your bag? All it takes is a couple drops to create your own taste preference. Many people I know have begun drinking more and more water because they can now make their own beverage how they like it. It brings new meaning to drinking eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy. This new product category has enhanced the desire for consumers to drink more water, something that has been around forever. It has dressed up water again and brought it back into the beverage limelight.