Coca-Cola North America will introduced AHA, a sparkling water, in March 2020.
The new sparkling water brand’s flavor pairings, vibrant packaging and fresh marketing aims to meet evolving consumer demands and cut through a crowded category that continues to grow at double-digit rates.
Eight flavor fusions – Lime + Watermelon; Strawberry + Cucumber; Citrus + Green Tea; Black Cherry + Coffee; Orange + Grapefruit; Apple + Ginger; Blueberry + Pomegranate; and Peach + Honey – pair fruit flavors with trending but less expected ones. The calorie-free, sodium-free offerings will hit stores in multi-packs of 12-fluid-ounce cans and in 16-fluid-ounce individual cans.
Extensive research and consumer insights informed the development process that brought AHA from concept-to-prototype in just over six months. In addition to mining category purchase data, Coca-Cola spoke to thousands of consumers – from sparkling water loyalists, to occasional drinkers, to those who’ve tried a brand or two but haven’t found what they like. Learn more about the AHA flavor development process.
The AHA team intentionally developed aromatic flavor combinations to meet these evolving needs. For example, Lime + Watermelon and Strawberry + Cucumber profiles meet the desire for flavor-forward refreshment. And Citrus + Green Tea and Black Cherry + Coffee include 30mg of added caffeine for a little morning or afternoon pick-me-up.
The team started with initial list of 800 potential flavors before testing 50 combinations and, ultimately, landing on the final lineup of eight AHA flavors. They also consulted a diverse range of customers – across channels like grocery, drug, mass retail and convenience – throughout the development process. Collectively, these retailers urged the company to bring a smart, differentiated offering to the shelf.
AHA will be the first major brand launch in a decade for Coca-Cola North America (Gold Peak, now a billion-dollar tea brand, debuted in 2006). The rollout comes as Americans’ thirst for drinks without sugar or calories – but with fizz and flavor – continues to grow. AHA joins Coke’s sparkling water portfolio alongside smartwater sparkling, an enhanced premium offering, and Topo Chico, a fast-growing sparkling mineral water sourced from Mexico.
Retail sales of Coke North America’s sparkling water portfolio – which offers complementary flavors and brand propositions for a range of palates at different price points and package options – were up 27% in 2018 (Source: Nielsen). These brands are part of Coke’s broader water portfolio, which is anchored by DASANI (the No. 1 national water brand) and smartwater (the No. 1 premium water).
AHA will replace DASANI Sparkling at retail, which has been on the market since 2014. DASANI Sparkling will continue to be available on DASANI PureFill and Coca-Cola Freestyle.