Zevia recently announced that they were adding three more all-natural soda flavors to their Canadian offerings. Cherry Cola, Dr. Zevia and Caffeine Free Cola joined the existing Canadian selection that included Cola, Cream Soda, and Ginger Ale among many other flavors. In total, that brings their total portfolio to 11 sodas for the Canadian market. Our American counterparts only have four incremental flavors than us, which may prove that our taste preferences are not really all that different. See all the Zevia flavors here. However, with the proliferation of soda flavors, will Zevia run into a problem that we have seen with another beverage offering: glaceau vitaminwater? Will this end up being detrimental to Zevia in the long term, as we have seen vitaminwater peak and start to decline with reduced advertising support?
In more ways than one, Zevia and vitaminwater have common ground that would lead us to come to this conclusion of Zevia’s possible rise and fall. For one, both beverage brands capitalized on consumption trends. Zevia gained market acceptance as consumers became increasingly interested in all things “all-natural”. vitaminwater gained sales as consumers started to look for something less boring than bottled water. And because both were the leaders of their respective categories, their growth became synonymous with their segment’s growth. Both companies started out as independent outfits separate from global beverage manufacturers. vitaminwater as most of know may know, is now a part of Coca-Cola, despite all the separation the hydration brand is trying to create between them. In terms of product offerings, both have great tasting products that stretch into the double digits. It is a very plausible assumption to think that Zevia will follow vitaminwater’s path.
However, what sets Zevia a part from this comparison is that they are still a stand-alone entity and not a division within a larger beverage organization. That makes a world of difference. While they may not have the luxury of stronger financial backing, they are also growing themselves organically. When vitaminwater was brought into Coca-Cola, the hydration brand was given much stronger product distribution and piggy-backed off of Coca-Cola’s distribution network. This helped vitaminwater gain strong market visibility, and at a much quicker rate than when they stood separately. Unfortunately, the downside of being in a conglomerate beverage company also proved detrimental to vitaminwater. As Coca-Cola shifted their focus inward to grow their core offerings of Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero, vitaminwater as well as other beverages in their portfolio suffered. They received less advertising and promotional support. Zevia will continue to grow because they are their own company, and their sole dedication is toward this beverage brand.
Zevia is also not as celebrity-endorsed as vitaminwater. With celebrity endorsements, they could endorse one beverage now and change their endorsement later when another refreshment company provides them with a more lucrative deal. And while Zevia has less star power than vitaminwater, they are also certainly less volatile given the celebrity’s reputation. For example, if a celebrity was perceived negatively by the media, the products and services they endorse would receive a “halo effect” and also be viewed as negative. Take Tiger Woods and Nike a few years back. Or does anyone want to have Lindsay Lohan as your spokeswoman right now?
In any case, Zevia should continue to rise while vitaminwater continues to experience growing pains. While Zevia may still yet encounter the same problems that vitaminwater is currently going through, they still have a ways to go. The all-natural trend is here to stay, and all-natural sweeteners are getting more widely accepted by consumers. Let’s just hope that Zevia keeps these things in mind should a similar scenario arise for them.