Thursday, May 03, 2007

Second bite at the cherry

Remember Dansai? Coca-cola’s attempt at entering the bottled water market a few years ago was hardly the most successful. Scandal erupted when it was found that the bottles, containing purified tap water, were found to be contaminated with bromate traces. Unsurprisingly, the water was subsequently withdrawn from the market never to be heard of again.

Coca-cola obviously feel enough time has passed since this fiasco however, as they are planning to launch a new water into the European market this year. Named Chaudfontaine, the water, which comes from a local Belgian brand owned by the company, will be rolled out across the rest of Europe by the end of the year. Currently it is only sold in Belgium with some distribution in France and the Netherlands also.
So why try to get back into the market after such a big disaster first time round?

Well, globally, bottled water is the second largest soft drinks sector behind carbonates. In fact, the market was the fastest growing soft drinks sector between 2000 and 2005, a trend that Euromonitor International forecasted would continue between 2005 and 2010. And according to the Britvic Soft Drinks Category Report, take-home sales in the UK water market alone grew by 11% to £643m last year. While in the UK the bottled water category only accounts for 20% of the soft drinks volume, in other European countries the volume is over 50%. It’s no wonder Coca-cola want to get back in on the act.

But will the new launch be successful? Will consumers forgive and forget Dansai? Coca-cola have been purchasing a number of water brands throughout Europe, however, I would imagine that many consumers are unaware that the brands are now owned by the soft drinks giant. If the launch of Chaudfontaine proves to be a success it will be interesting to see if some of these other brands begin to be rolled out to the rest of Europe. And, indeed, it will be very interesting to see how successful Chaudfontaine itself is.

I have to say that I’m not altogether won over by the name ‘Heat Fountain’ – I prefer my water cold thanks. But I’ll probably buy a bottle when it makes its way up to Scotland. Just to see what I think…

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At 2:30 PM, Blogger Stan Lee said...

Given the popularity of Highland Spring around the world I'd imagine the 'Heat Fountain" could well be another dud.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Lisa Breslin said...

I have to say Stan, I'm quite ignorant of the popularity of Highland Spring elsewhere, but I'm guessing it's not been setting the bottled water market alight outside of Scotland / the UK.

But 'dud' may well be case. Saying that, I'm sure many of those in the UK at least won't go to the bother of checking out what the name means and may be seduced by the 'exotic' name. I should perhaps give our consumers a little more credit though.


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