"It's not easy competing in the beverage business against Coke, Pepsi and Nestle," said Beverage Digest Editor In Chief John Sicher.
So Fruit20 is introducing new flavors-energy, immunity, relaxation and hydration-and a separate brand dubbed Fuel20, with zero calories, said Vinay Sharma, senior brand manager for Fruit20. Varieties of VitaminWater, whose sales are up 145% to $141 million over the past year, pack 125 calories per bottle, and Propel has 20 calories per bottle. "Touting zero calories with a line of functional waters ... that's a white space we feel we can really go after," he said.
Although Mr. Sharma declined to give details, he said: "With such formidable competitors, we know we can't launch this with a piddly [marketing] program. We'll be out there in full force." Kraft spent $23 million in measured media on Fruit20 in 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Ogilvy & Mather, New York, handles the brand.
Kraft must quickly seed its zero-calorie functional message, though, as rumor has it competitors such as Nestle Pure Life are soon to come out with functional flavors of their own. A spokeswoman said such a product is not slated for the first quarter, but "never say never." Where the growth is, the big guys will go.