Flavored waters are making waves, finds Comax consumer study


01 Nov 2017 --- Comax Flavors has released new primary research on consumers’ behavior, usage and attitudes towards flavored water. This is the third study of the company’s primary market research program. The Flavored Water study was fielded in March 2017 with 500 US respondents aged 18-70+, half of which were parents of children aged 3-17. 

“According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) and International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), water is outpacing other beverage categories particularly soda and juice. Recognizing that consumers are substituting flavored water in lieu of soda and juice, Comax wanted to investigate flavored water consumption habits and usage among the general population,” states Catherine Armstrong, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Comax Flavors.

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Armstrong says: “I believe the industry will continue to see more berry as well as citrus and tropical flavors and combinations going into 2018 as they are the most popular, well-accepted water flavors.”

“Comax Flavors expects to see honey and honey variations emerging,” she notes. “We are seeing honey flavors in a lot of other applications outside of water and predict it will trickle down into water. In addition, honey is often perceived as better-for-you and it falls under the “Healthy Halo” trend.”

Comax has partnered with Amy Marks-McGee of Trendincite LLC to manage the market research program and Costello Creative Group to translate the data into creative, fun and easy-to-read infographics. Additional Comax studies include nutrition and performance products, yogurt, alternative dairy products and sweet baked goods.

A few of the study highlights include:

  • “Flavor” is the number one driver of flavored water purchases among all generations with almost two-thirds (60 Click to Enlargepercent) of respondents citing it as the most important attribute.
  • “Berry” is the number one flavor consumed by both adults and children with more than half (56 percent) of adults and half (54 percent) of children consuming “berry” flavors.
  • 46 percent of all adult respondents drink “Tropical” flavored water; Gen Z are the heaviest consumers with almost three-quarters (74 percent) citing it.
  • More than half (53 percent) of all children consume “Lemonade” flavored water, making it the second most popular flavor after Berry.
  • About a quarter (24 percent) of adults drink “Soda” flavors, which is most popular among Gen Z (37 percent), Gen Y (28 percent) and Gen X (27 percent), while one-third of children drink “Soda” flavors.
  • More than half (56 percent) of adults “Add Flavor” to their water while three-quarters (75 percent) of parents “Add Flavor” to their children's water.
  • Among respondents who flavor their water, a quarter (26 percent) of parents use “Crystals” to flavor their children’s water vs. 15 percent of adults.
  • 20 percent of respondents among all adult generations consume “Coconut” water compared to 39 percent of children of all ages.
  • Children are heavier drinkers of “Plant-Based” waters such as “Maple,” “Cactus” and “Birch” (53 percent) compared to adults (9 percent).
  • Just under one-third (30 percent) of 15-17-year-old children drink “Caffeinated” water.

Generations defined: Gen Z born 1996 and later; Gen Y born 1977 to 1995; Gen X born 1965 to 1976; Baby Boomers born 1946 to 1964; Silent Generation born 1925 to 1945

By Elizabeth Green

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