According to CNN Business, flavored seltzer water brand LaCroix is experiencing a continued decrease in popularity that is threatening its ability to continue competing with other beverage brands.
Laurent Grandet, a beverage analyst for Guggenheim, analyzed the company’s sales and concluded that they are “effectively in free fall.” The month of May experienced the largest loss of sales at 15 percent, while April saw a decrease of 7 percent and March of 5 percent.
Additionally, the drink’s owner, National Beverage, has seen a huge decrease in stock prices. This week alone, prices dropped 10 percent, while from September of 2018 until May, stock prices saw a 62 percent drop.
The drop in sales and value is due to a combination of factors, including increased competition and a class action lawsuit filed in October of 2018 that the brand still has not recovered from.
Grandet stated that “The LaCroix brand has gone from bad, to worse, to disastrous in a relatively short period of time,” and cites increased competition and a “lack of meaningful or disruptive innovation” from National Beverage as the reason why.
Retail sales of carbonated water beverages have more than doubled from 2013 to 2018 with new brands and increased options taking flight in recent years.
— Traders Colony (@TradersColony) May 30, 2019
LaCroix spent some time in the spotlight as the leading drink in the seltzer market starting roughly a decade ago after it became the preferred drink of the Millennial generation. The unique flavors and creative packaging added to its popularity.
However, Grandet says that consumers have “since discovered that other brands offer acceptable substitutes” and that “LaCroix doesn’t have much that distinguishes it from the competition in terms of intellectual property or added value.”
Other brands that have claimed top spots in the market include Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand, PepsiCo’s Bubly brand, and Coca-Cola’s Smartwater brand.
The way American consumers consume beverages has also changed over recent years. The average consumer now wants drinks that are more nutritious, yet low in calories and sugar. Sparkling water provides a carbonated jolt and flavored taste for few to zero calories, making it increasingly popular.
Another catalyst for the decrease in LaCroix sales was the lawsuit filed against the company at the end of last year by Lenora Rice, who was under the impression that the drink contained all natural ingredients. However, Rice claimed that the company used a variety of synthetic additives in their beverage, including chemicals that are designed to kill cockroaches, and that they were misleading customers.
Although National Beverage has denied all allegations brought against them, consumer trust has taken a huge hit.