BevNet’s Jeffrey Klineman recently detailed in a magazine article how the water category has returned to growth following some years of sales decline (link here). His article first explains that some industry veterans left their original beverage ventures and found another company to apply their expertise to the water category. In short, the water category has returned to healthy growing sales through packaging innovation and strategic partnerships. One such company that has been growing sales through packaging innovation is 82go.
82go developed a 100% recyclable plastic pouch package that contains 8 ounces of water, which can be folded down like a plastic bag when fully consumed. Other than the sustainable benefits of the packaging, the innovation behind this is that the pouch uses the equivalent plastic of a bottle cap, and can be fully activated using only one hand. Their core consumers are athletes like bicyclists and marathon runners where the user is always in motion and need to hydrate “on the go.” The extension ranges for this package are broad in scope, as 82go only produces water at the moment. Expansive opportunities may range from size variations (12 ounces, 16 ounces, etc) to product variations such as juices, teas and sports drinks (similar to the Gatorade pouch).
Consumers in general (not just athletes) are increasingly multitaskers so being able to multitask while hydrating in motion is a key benefit. The makers of 82go have tapped into more than the functional benefits of its product; the convenience factor as well by taking into consideration what the user is doing while consuming its product. The selling proposition focuses more on the usage benefits rather than the type of water (ie glacier water, icelandic water, etc). It appears as though 82go realizes that water is mostly thought of as a commodity product, and that no matter the source of origin, water is still water. Marketing the type of water is not a strong enough selling point as a result of this consumer perception. However, advertising on the usage benefit presents a much stronger case by repositioning what the consumer focuses on – the packaging’s convenience.
While the downside may be a question on the package’s durability and resealability, the potential upside far outweighs the negatives. And in a category that appears to be commodity in nature, 82go seems to have found itself an area to delivery growth. One of the many things that they will have to look out for is competition since their packaging may not be patented, leaving room for other players to enter looking to replicate their success.