Helena Drakakis discovers how Nestlé Waters UK is working to promote bottled water to retailers through the wholesale channel, tapping into the ongoing trend for healthier alternatives in the soft drinks market
Through Nestlé Pure Life, Buxton, S.Pellegrino and Perrier, Nestlé Waters UK is helping to add new products to the soft drinks market as well as boosting sales. Customer preference is moving towards everyday low, or zero sugar alternatives in soft drinks. This is shown by bottled water being the fastest growing segment within the £7.4bn category and plain water sales up 11% year on year. Early spring sunshine is also encouraging more retailers to focus on bottled water as a way of refreshing profits as summer approaches.
1. Supporting NPD and innovation
Consumers are developing a habit of drinking more water. Arguably, the confirmation of a tax on sugary drinks will nudge this further, but there has also been a gradual leaning towards healthier lifestyles, improved wellbeing and looking after families through increased hydration. To support retailers, Nestlé Waters UK Pure Life brand has launched Nestlé Pure Life in a 1.5l bottle, to be sold as singles. At the launch, Nestlé Waters UK stressed the importance of wholesalers by drawing attention to new products with an eye-catching display and encouraging retailers to try new products.
Sandy Madhar, sales director at Nestlé Waters UK, said: “In the UK, the category is quite young. We consume around 44 litres of plain bottled water per person per year. When you look at Italy, which is one of the larger markets, that number is 186, showing a real opportunity for growth. We are leading the way by expanding our range and developing new products. People are asking for bigger bottles, and the 1.5l adds to the complete Nestlé Pure Life range.”
To support the launch of Nestlé Pure Life 1.5l, retailers will also have the chance to win a branded fridge for their store.
2. Supporting the category
The Nestlé Pure Life brand has been in existence since 2008 in the UK and the 1.5l bottle is the fifth product launch in the brand’s range. However, Nestlé Waters UK is also taking a category approach to advise retailers through the wholesale channel. “At Nestlé, we don’t just focus on our brands, we focus on the wholesaler understanding what’s best for the category, driving overall growth,” explains Sandy Madhar. “Wholesalers are a key part of the route to market to independents and we are at the beginning of our journey in developing our support into a robust programme. We are already working with wholesalers like Booker and Bestway, Landmark and the Today’s Group, for example, and we are working to expand support through retail clubs in the future.”
Currently Nestlé Waters UK is tailoring advice around availability as a key driver, for example having dump-bins and secondary siting in store, particularly at key selling times to stimulate impulse purchasing.
“Nestlé Pure Life is positioned around affordable hydration and is the branded entry point into the category, making the category more accessible,” adds Sandy Madhar.
3. Key selling opportunities
Availability is key to driving sales, and especially coming into the summer season retailers need to ensure there’s enough stock in the chiller and enough points of interruption in store to capitalise on impulse sales. According to Nestlé Waters UK, 26oC is the temperature sweet spot where a significant sales spike in bottled water can be seen. Tying bottled water with fresh food in convenience and around confectionery and snacking options in smaller independents also taps into the increasing emphasis on shopper missions.
“The price of Nestlé Pure Life 1.5l is competitive enough in depot to be able to warrant retailers a running promotion out of their own margin. It doesn’t have to be super deep, but a low-level multibuy to increase the weight of purchase, may be a good way to pass on this competitive pricing,” advises Sandy Madhar.