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First Enhanced Water to Pioneer Aluminum Cans

Perfect Hydration (pH), an ultra-purified alkaline water with electrolytes, extends its existing PET bottle line to include aluminum cans designed for cooler cases. Meanwhile, un-chilled 12- and 24-packs will be available center of store, expanding reach.

The can joins a container lineup that currently features four sizes of 100% recyclable PET-1 bottles.
The can joins a container lineup that currently features four sizes of 100% recyclable PET-1 bottles.

Perfect Hydration (pH), an ultra-purified alkaline water with electrolytes, is launching its enhanced water in a 16-oz. recyclable aluminum can to meet the growing demand for sustainability. The new line extension, available for purchase beginning in December 2020, will feature aluminum that can be recycled indefinitely, as opposed to PET, which loses clarity and function as it continues to be recycled. The can will continue with Perfect Hydration’s notable crisp, blue color-blocked design, this time on a printed can.

The can joins a container lineup that currently features four sizes of 100% recyclable PET-1 bottles. These PET bottles use a p-s label, but the company is are exploring different substrates as it makes a push towards converting single serve PET-1 bottles to rPET in Q1 of 2021.

 “We are challenging ourselves to exceed industry standards on our path towards focused innovation and sustainability,” says Louisa Lawless, Chief Strategy Officer of Stratus Group. “Enhanced, still water in a can is quite new to our category, but because of demand from consumers and retailers alike, we are excited to lead the charge. Agility is critical with advancement in new technologies and sustainable, responsible resourcing.” 

Perfect Hydration’s domestically sourced cans offer a new category entry point for consumers seeking alkaline water, which now is the fastest growing segment within water according to the company, outpacing sparkling water and private label water. The line extension will be available in 16-oz aluminum cans, and display-ready 12-packs and 24-packs. The new 16-oz cans will retail from $1.29 to $1.49 each. 

Comprehensive sustainability goals

We’ve seen the big water brands think about moving to cans, too, or do so in regional test markets, but adoption is still in its infancy. Packaging World asked Lawless what pushed Perfect Hydration to make this change.  

“We are constantly seeking new ways to meet consumer demands within the water category and we've seen a shift in interest toward aluminum packaging,” she says. “Aluminum is infinitely recyclable and ultimately, we want to offer the consumer what they are demanding. We know people are used to recycling aluminum and they feel good about it. Launching a can will allow for us to diversify our supply chain and test different packages amongst channels.”

Read more recent Packaging World articles about specialty and mineral waters and the packaging they choose, including aluminum: 

As a part of a multiple-pronged approach to sustainability, Perfect Hydration is currently vetting claims associated with recycled plastics (rPET) and has committed to launching bottles made with 100% rPET in Q1 of 2021. Perfect Hydration is also committed to the continued use of renewable, domestic water sources. Their proprietary nine-stage filtration and alkalizing process enables the brand to transform water from any supply into crisp, refreshing, pH Water. Unlike other brands that mine water sheds and mineral springs, pH doesn’t have to ship water to or from remote locations across the globe. In addition, Perfect Hydration’s bottles are made of BPA-free, 100% recyclable PET-1. 

The rPET bottle will not initially replace the existing PET bottles, but represents a first step towards doing so. The company is planning to roll out additional sizes as the supply of rPET increases.

Billboard opportunities and aluminum tradeoffs

“The printed can does offer us a bit more of a billboard and won't require an additional label, which means fewer components in the supply chain,” Lawless says. “Aluminum cans also chill faster than plastic, so they are great for convenience stores, foodservice, and any single-serve opportunity. Single cans are also stackable, which makes for more efficient storage in stock rooms and in foodservice and non-traditional sales channels. They'll also get colder, quicker, in consumers' fridges at home.” 

There are tradeoffs to aluminum cans, namely they are generally intended as single-sitting products without much of an option for resealability. But since the format complements existing PET bottles with closures, rather than replaces them, the company sees this as an opportunity to let consumers decide what’s best for them, and to diversify supply chains.

“With pH's PET bottle and aluminum can assortment, we're able to address a wide variety of hydration needs. A person who needs a resealable format can still purchase our bottle, while someone who is more sustainability-driven will choose the Perfect Hydration can,” Lawless says. “Our can is basically the same size as a pint or a standard water glass, so it's the perfect one-and-done size to deliver a hydrating experience. This size is also guaranteed to easily fit in a cupholder, which makes it super convenient to take on the road.”

The company sees cans are best suited for single-serve situations and for take-home opportunities. That translates into merchandising single cans in cold vaults, or 12-packs for off-premise consumption.

“We expect the single cans to do really well in convenience stores, where consumers are typically on-the-go,” Lawless says. “At grocery and larger format stores, COVID-19 has caused consumers to buy in bulk as they decrease their shopping frequency (fewer, bigger shopping trips), so they are seeking more multipacks and larger sizes than in the past. We're also planning to launch our 12-pack via e-comm.

“While the pH bottle offers a nice brand block, rows of our opaque cans with our signature blue gradient logo will look fabulous in the cold box,” she adds. 

On the dry shelf, the 12-packs will provide even more brand visibility and a secondary point of distribution. The 12-packs are also really easy to stack, which is great for end caps and displays. These paperboard 12-pack cartons will use a spot color + CMYK print in 6 colors.

In Q1 of 2020, pH successfully launched two larger sizes–1.5-L and 1-g bottles–at Ralph’s, Albertson’s southern divisions, and select CVS stores, to name a few. Perfect Hydration is sold in 1-L and 20-oz, bottles in convenience, mass, drug, and grocery stores nationwide, and online via Amazon and Instacart. 

Perfect Hydration 9.5+ pH alkaline water is ultra-purified through a 9-stage filtration and alkalizing process, and enhanced with electrolyte minerals for a crisp, pure, taste. - PW

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