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Adding flavor to capture sales

April 16, 2014

CHICAGO — Water bottles no longer just hold water.

Instead, they come with weighted shakers to break up thick protein drinks. They have filters and, increasingly, plastic infusers that hold fruit, vegetable or herbs to make water taste better than just ordinary water.

Blame — or thank — social media for that last one.

“You go on Pinterest and there are hundreds of recipes for water infused with cucumbers or watermelon or basil-infused lemonade,” said a spokeswoman for Ignite USA LLC’s Contigo brand.

At this year’s International Home + Housewares Show, March 15-18 in Chicago, Contigo introduced a 72-ounce Autoseal Pitcher set, available either in acrylic or Eastman Chemical Co.’s Tritan copolyester, which includes an infusion stick to hold fruit or vegetables.

The pitcher combines the spill-proof technology of Chicago-based Contigo’s previous coffee mugs and water bottles with the growing interest in flavoring water naturally.

“People get tired of just drinking plain water, and with an infuser, you can have some actual fruit to flavor it,” said Colleen Dolan-Hastings, marketing manager for Cool Gear International Inc. of Plymouth, Mass., which introduced a pitcher at this year’s IHHS with both a filter and an infuser.

Pacific Marketing International’s Aladdin brand has even made an infuser basket that clips onto a straw and fits into existing bottles and tumblers made of either Tritan and styrene acrylonitrile.

And multiple companies are offering plastic shakers which can be placed inside a water bottle to help keep thick protein shakes from clumping up. Contigo even changed the shape of a water bottle — its Shake & Go Fit Mixer bottle — to provide a rounded shape so powdered mixes are less likely to settle in corners.

Texas housewares company Dexas International Ltd. also had its mind on post-workout drinks when it created its first water bottle, the H-DuO.

The dual chamber bottle is divided into two 12-ounce compartments, so active users can have one side for a drink during a workout, and the other for a post-workout treat, but without needing to carry two different bottles with them.

“We know that others have tried and failed with a two-chamber bottle, so we needed to make sure it would work,” said Jeff Logan, director of marketing for Dexas.

Dexas engineers spent three to four years developing a proprietary in-mold process to divide the bottle in half. The bottle is made of Tritan. Dexas is importing the first stocks of H-DuO for now, but plans to eventually mold it at its 170,000-square-foot Coppell, Texas, plant.

The H-DuO has two available lids, one with screw-on caps and another with straws so it can appeal to a broader mix of consumer.