Consumers now demand products that are good for them and the environment, the vice president of sales for Flow alkaline spring water Alina Kerry says. Kerry spoke to PKN’s sister title Food & Drink Business today as part of the brand’s soft launch in Australia.
For Kerry, seeing how consumers in new markets respond to the brand is always really interesting. “Australians are so concerned about plastics, they’re really educated and demanding,” she says.
The company is a B Corp certified organisation for meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. “We are the only alkali water in an eco pack,” Kerry says.
Flow started four years ago in the US after founder Nicholas Reichenbach witnessed the pollution of plastic water bottles at the annual Burning Man Festival. His family in Ontario, Canada also happened to own an artesian spring that filtered through a limestone encased aquifer. This meant the water contained electrolytes and a high pH of 8.1.
Per litre, the water has 29 milligrams of magnesium, 2 milligrams of potassium, 73 milligrams of calcium and 298 milligrams of calcium bicarbonate. Alkaline water has a high pH level, which helps reduce acidity in the body.
“Our key point of difference is that Flow is naturally alkaline, many alkaline waters on the market have been ionised through processing. Australian consumers are educated about alkaline water, but not that knowledgeable on whether it’s manufactured or not,” Kerry says.
The mineral levels in the water also make a difference, she says. “It tastes great but it is also super smooth to drink.”
The company is expecting US$40 million in revenue from the US and Canada this year. It launched in the UK earlier this year and is looking to our 2019-20 summer for its Australian launch.
"The alkaline water market has grown 171 per cent in the last two years. It’s the fastest growing sub segment of the water market and is only going to continue to grow as customers become more focused on the health benefits of everything they’re putting into their bodies,” Kerry says.
Three months ago the brand launched in the UK, announcing Gwyneth Paltrow as the ‘face of Flow’ and partnering with her company Goop as its official water.
Flow is focused on expanding its market presence around the world. It also produces flavoured versions of the water: cucumber and mint; lemon and ginger; strawberry and rose; watermelon and lime; blackberry and hibiscus; and pink grapefruit and elderflower.
Packaging to reflect brand
Kerry’s visit was also to meet with its packaging partner, Tetra Pak, key national retailers and to attend the Food and Grocery Australia conference.
Flow’s Tetra Pak carton is 100 per cent recyclable. Around 68 per cent of the packaging comes from renewable sources. The paperboard is sourced from FSC-certified trees, harvested from responsibly managed forests and its bio-based cap is made from sugar cane.
Tetra Pak managing director Andrew Pooch told Food & Drink Business that with water the fastest growing beverage segment, finding better environmental solutions is important. The Flow carton has 60 per cent less global warming potential than PET plastic bottles.
“Research shows that beverage cartons have a lower carbon footprint than alternative packaging options. It is great to see companies like Flow understand the need for a low carbon environment and pick the right packaging solution with the highest environmental credentials,” Pooch says.
The water market is highly competitive, Kerry says, but with that comes innovation that pushes everyone to find better solutions. “The outcomes from that can be extraordinary.”