23 Feb 11 Kraft hopes to make a splash with new MiO water flavouring
US: Just when you figured there were no new ways left to tweak water, along comes Kraft with a product almost certain to raise eyebrows and seriously shake the $1-billion water flavouring category: liquid water enhancer.
In March, Kraft Foods will rollout of MiO (“mine,” in Italian), a zero-calorie, concentrated line of liquid flavourings — from Berry Pomegranate to Strawberry Watermelon — sold in sleek bottles that look like palm-sized water droplets.
For Kraft, the nation’s largest foodmaker, the rollout is huge. It’s Kraft’s first new food or beverage category in more than 15 years. The last one was DiGiorno rising-crust pizza in 1995. Company executives say it will rank among Kraft’s biggest-ever product rollouts.
Kraft officials say that in an era of personalisation, it’s all about dripping as many drops of flavour as you want into your water.
Food and beverage makers are searching for any avenue to cash in on consumers’ desire to customize, says John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest.
“This is the next big thing,” says Roxanne Bernstein, director of the $3.99 MiO brand. (One bottle makes about 24 servings.) “It’s an entirely new category.”
In focus groups, says Liza Laibe, Kraft beverages senior brand R&D manager, “Consumers tell us they can’t believe nobody has thought of this before.”
Or have they? Competitors say Kraft may be mimicking what several very small companies have already done. But unlike its predecessors, Kraft has distribution and marketing muscle to turn the line into a behemoth.
While MiO has no artificial flavours, it does have artificial colours, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. That’s something some of the smaller brands have avoided.