Jack and Jill went up a hill to fetch a pail of water; Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) offers an easier alternative. The company entered the US and Canada by selling Perrier Sparkling Mineral Water in 1976; it has grown to represent about one-third of the bottled water market. Its portfolio boasts national top seller Nestlé Pure Life and a dozen or so international and regional water brands: Acqua Panna, Deer Park, Ozarka, Poland Spring, and S. Pellegrino, to name a few. Non-sparking waters generate some 90% of its sales. NWNA also added tea with the purchase of Sweet Leaf Tea. In addition to selling water via retail outlets, the company provides home and office delivery. NWNA is a division of Nestlé Waters.
NWNA's operations comprise 28 bottling facilities. It manufactures its own bottles, about 20 billion each year. Its Swiss parent, Nestlé, is continuing to invest in North America as it pushes to support innovation in core categories. To that end, in mid-2011 NWNA took over Sweet Leaf Tea Company by acquiring the remaining stake that it didn't already own. The deal included the Tradewinds beverage brands, which added not only Sweet Leaf's bottled organic teas, but lemonade and juice drinks to NWNA's lineup. Sweet Leaf is NWNA's first step outside of the bottled-water category.
NWNA reaches across the US and Canada. The US usually generates more than 90% of NWNA sales, and Canada the remainder. Seven of NWAS' bottled water brands reportedly rank among the top 10 US bottled waters. (Six of the seven are sold only regionally; Nestlé Pure Life is sold nationally.)
During the last five years water sales have modestly risen and fallen. In 2011 NWNA generated nearly half of Nestlé Waters' bottled water sales with more than $3.5 billion in sales revenue, about a 10% slip from 2010. Despite improved sales volumes both in retail stores and home and office delivery, regional brands faced tough competition, which pressured prices. The dip was softened, however, by strong sales of Nestlé Pure Life and internationals brands.
NWNA's acquisition of Sweet Leaf is part of its strategy to win over what is anticipated to be a continuing rise in consumer demand for bottled all-natural beverages. The move also takes advantage of NWNA's established distribution network to launch Sweet Leaf onto the national stage. (Sweet Leaf's products had previously been available in only about 30% of the US market.) In the nutritional water market, Nestlé Pure Life plays a leading role. The non-carbonated, zero-calorie, Splenda-sweetened water is said to be the #1 water brand in the US and Canada. Acting on concerns that children aren't getting enough fluoride, NWNA offers fluoridated, lunch-box-sized versions of its Deer Park, Ozarka, and Poland Spring brand waters.
NWNA's plans include making bottles more environmentally friendly and cheaper. The company now offers its French carbonated water Perrier in glass as well as plastic bottles, which have been reduced in weight by 40% since 2005. As part of the roll out, the company states that Bisphenol-A (or BPA) is not present in any of its water packaging that is smaller than three gallons. Public concern surrounding BPA and water safety is spurring Nestlé to explore alternative materials for its plus-three-gallon products, too. – less