Lucozade is planning its biggest ever product launch as it looks to shake-up the bottled water industry by offering “functional water” targeted at people with a fitness-inspired lifestyle.
The launch of ‘Fitwater’ is the culmination of a two-year journey after research showed that exercise is changing and people are doing less intense exercise. As a result, Lucozade is hoping to reach a broader group of people than its current sports drinks, including those that exercise by doing activities such as 30 minutes of yoga, running or a high intensity training class.
Fitwater will be marketed as “purified elecotrolyte water for hydration”. The fact it has zero sugar is displayed prominently on the bottle, as is the fact it includes four types of electrolytes: magnesium, calcium, sodium and chloride. The product will be sold for 89p in Tesco and in gyms and sports centres around the UK.
Claire Higgins, Lucozade’s senior brand manager, says the aim of the launch is to provide consumers with more choice. They are often only able to choose isotonic sports drinks or water, which is why Lucozade saw a gap in the market for “functional” water that includes electrolytes.
Higgins says the opportunity could be huge given that the bottled water market is now worth more than £1bn and that functional water is the fastest growing subset. Other brands in the market include Coca-Cola’s Glacéau Smartwater, although this is targeted at more of a general lifestyle market.
“Ideally we’d like to trade people up from tap water into Fitwater so we can grow the market incrementally,” she says.
Fighting the sugar tax
The UK Government’s sugar tax is set to come into force next year in a bid to encourage consumers to stop buying sugary drinks. And many of the drinks giants, including Lucozade Ribena Suntory, have since moved to reduce the amount of sugar in their drinks to avoid the tax and expanded their portfolios with low-sugar options.
When asked if the product has been created in response to the sugar tax, Higgins denies this, and claims it was working on the product concept before “sugar tax conversations” started.
“It is really all about offering people choice. There is a role for Lucozade Sport when you’re doing marathons or higher intensity exercise, but it is just all about choice,” she says.
Lucozade will launch a £3m campaign in September to introduce the product to British consumers. It will be outdoor-led, supported by social, digital and shopper marketing.
The creative will feature professional boxer Anthony Joshua and fitness influencer Emily Skye. Lucozade says it decided to bring both into the mix as the product tested well “among both men and women”.
Despite having a product that’s different from the rest of its portfolio, Higgins believes that Lucozade won’t have a big job to do educating consumers – partly due to the rise in the popularity of different types of water including coconut water.
She concludes: “People are now more familiar with the role of electrolytes than they ever have been. Lucozade contains electrolytes itself and we were one of the first brands to start talking about it. But over the last couple of years and with the introduction of coconut water, consumers have become more familiar with the term.”