It seems vitaminwater has recognized the limit on how many drink flavors can be sustained in the Canadian marketplace. That number stands at twelve. The hydration brand has quietly launched two new flavors under their Zero sub-brand, introducing Rise (orange) and Squeezed (lemonade) to build their calorie-free portfolio. Very subtly, two of the previous zero-calorie flavors – Resilient-C (grape raspberry) and Recoup (peach mandarin) – are being phased out to make space for the two new offerings. Beyond the zero-calorie product transition, Spark (grape blueberry) also is being phased out. Notice the different flavors in the image above and below (Recoup has never been pictured). It’s certainly interesting to see that the marketplace – and retailers – can sustain twelve flavor extensions. Definitely not an easy feat to create shelf or cooler space for twelve items.
What is more interesting though, is vitaminwater’s approach to continuously refresh their product line-up. While there has always been steady sales coming from popular flavors such as XXX, Essential, and Multi-V, there are “test” flavors launched into Canada. From the hydration brand’s introduction, Rescue (green tea) was the first to be discontinued. Through the years, other flavors have made brief appearances and slowly gone away, including Formula 50 (grape) and Sync (Berry Cherry). And beyond these flavors that were expected to mainstays were limited-time offerings, such as the recent Glory (peach mango) flavor for the 2014 Olympics. Regardless of all these other changes, the magic number – or limit – appears to be twelve flavors.
Despite a mixed response leading to varied success and failure, their constant innovation is admirable. The company keeps on bringing flavors into the market to see what sticks with consumers. It would be safe to say that vitaminwater has introduced up to twenty flavors at one point or another to the Canadian market. Beyond the original eight flavors that accompanied the Rescue offering at launch, the most successful introduction has been Energy (tropical citrus). Most of the grape flavors – Spark, Formula 50, Resilient-C – have only made brief and unsuccessful appearances.
Regardless of success or failure, it is a welcome sign to see a company continuously improve their product line-up. Before an item can be launched, a company invests significantly behind research and development to determine its viability, demand, and sales potential. And to consistently bring new products to the market, this is a sign that vitaminwater believes in the product’s longevity. Even with product proliferation being a key concern that prevents retailers from stocking all the flavors, substituting new products in place of slower selling products helps both parties.
After all the product substitution, let’s just hope that vitaminwater eventually finds a grape flavor product combination that will stick in the Canadian marketplace.