• Home
  • >
  • Focus
  • Liquid I.V. Exec: Better-For-You Beverage Market Growth Set to Accelerate

Liquid I.V. Exec: Better-For-You Beverage Market Growth Set to Accelerate

liquid i.v.

The boundless, expansive (and often expensive) world of beverages, both bottled and not, shows no signs of slowing down. It used to be easy to go to a grocery store, a C-store, or a retailer and find what you were looking for – perhaps a swift pick-me-up between fruity sports drinks, caffeinated concoctions of coffee, or simply a bottle of water.

Today, the beverage aisle looms large not only in the imaginations of brands and the consumers to whom they cater, but to the executives in charge of standing out amid the rainbow palette and full-color spectrum of the venerable beverage case – La Croix or Liquid Death? Gatorade or PRIME? What does your body tell you – what do you need? Or maybe more importantly, who do you want to be?

Today’s panoply of powdered, infused, collaborated, mixed-up, and simplified-down beverages is enough to make the head spin, and the aspirational nature of today’s advertising (combined with reservoirs of data points of millions of consumers) means buying a beverage is less a proactive option and more a carefully calculated algorithm of price point, personal preference, and subtle-bordering-on-subversive advertising activating deep parts of the brain that say, I want that, before adding it to the physical (or increasingly, digital) cart.

The U.S. drinks the most bottled water. The industry is estimated to be worth over $94 billion today with an annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of 6.34% by 2027. The energy drink market is larger, estimated at over $86 billion and expected to grow at 8.3% into the next decade. And with one category to rule them all, the American soft drink market is valued at almost $330 billion.

As inflation recedes (a bit) and consumers grow more confident (a bit?) as the new year looms, The Food Institute sat down with Stacey Andrade-Wells, VP of marketing at Liquid I.V., a powdered additive company, to discuss the current state of beverages.

The Food Institute: Have we reached peak beverage on better-for-you and increased hydration? Most of us grew up being satisfied with water, and just water; how can brands like Liquid I.V. continue to differentiate and succeed?

Stacey Andrade-Wells, Liquid I.V.: As a consumer-centric brand, our goal is to meet our consumers where and when they need us. According to the National Library of Medicine, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, and consumers are only becoming more aware of their health and wellness than ever before; that includes knowing the importance of proper hydration.

Our product offers 8 vitamins and nutrients to deliver hydration and everyday wellness. … At Liquid I.V., we (thrive) off the fast-paced growth of the powdered hydration market and the competition that continues to increase.

We know the market for functional drinks is expected to grow by nearly 200 billion dollars by the end of the decade.

The North American region is anticipating to expand at the highest pace from 2023 to 2029. With that, we know we have definitely not reached the peak of better-for-you hydration, and are in fact only beginning to see the rapid growth.

FI: Transparency in packaging, benefits, and sourcing/sustainability is part of the future of CPG. How will Liquid I.V. account for its product with the wallet-stressed, often overworked and exhausted retail consumer?

Andrade-Wells: Since the beginning, Liquid I.V. has been a purpose-led company with a strong sustainability commitment. As we develop innovative and new products, it is in our DNA to consider the impact both on the people consuming Liquid I.V. and the planet’s wellness. Liquid I.V.’s Impact initiatives have had a positive influence on expanding our consumer base and has led to customer loyalty by reaching and capturing a growing audience that cares for their well-being and the environment.

We know our consumers are making informed purchase decisions, which is why we take a very intentional approach to addressing our benefits, ingredients, sustainability, and sourcing practices in everything we do. We communicate these features to our consumers through our on-pack claims and certifications, in-store marketing, marketing activations, our website and social media platforms, and more.

The work we do to improve and push for more innovative solutions on packaging, waste, and the constant measuring of our progress keeps us on the forefront of positive change. Doing the work is one piece; sharing the work is another. We love to tell stories and look at new horizons as opportunities to engage and educate our consumers on the work we do.

When it comes to the flexible packaging industry, we’re at the front end with our suppliers, focused on new development and testing. This positions all of us as partners working together from beginning to end while we seek a solution for more sustainable packaging, such as exploring the potential for tree-free packaging.

FI: What opportunities are coming that most brands and media outlets aren’t discussing?

Andrade-Wells: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a new opportunity that many brands will lean into in media platforms by way of AI-driven search, AI-driven campaign types, PMAX ADV+, etc.

Using AI to personalize customers’ experience is going to be extremely important as it will be essential to retain existing customers as inflation rises, a recession looms, and we lose signals due to increased privacy protection.

FI: How will e-commerce change for brands like Liquid I.V. to reach consumers on their phones, their computers, and more?

Andrade-Wells: Being mobile-first has been a non-negotiable for brands for quite some time now, however, what is changing is the ease of conversion and more competitive fulfillment options for consumers. We’re seeing brands offer more seamless transactions, quicker checkouts, and better delivery experiences for the consumer.

Another change we’re seeing is the integration of commerce and shoppable media. Whether it be streaming, social, or search – being shoppable in various forms of media is becoming critical for brands. For example, Liquid I.V. is now live on TikTok Shop. We always want to meet our consumers where they are and make it as easy as possible, and TikTok Shop creates a personalized and seamless shopping journey for our (customers) to enjoy.