Abigail Storms, global marketing director, sweeteners and beverage, Tate & Lyle, insists Splenda sucralose perfectly suits liquid water enhancers as an emerging European category, against the backdrop of success for products such as Kraft Foods' MIO Stateside.
"Splenda really lends itself to this application, just because of the intensity of sweetness that it can offer. Also given its closeness to sugar in terms of taste and liking by consumers," Storms tells Ben Bouckley, in this recording taken at Drinktec 2013 in Munich.
Tate & Lyle is showcasing its Drop by Drop concept at Drinktec, a zero-calorie flavored drinks concentrate sweetened with Splenda in mixed berry and pink grapefruit flavors to suit European tastes.
The concentrated nature of Splenda lends itself to the portability of such a product and the small packaging format, Storms explains.
Thus, consumers can customize their own drinks on the go, either by adding the product to bottled water or (a key cost-saving USP) tap water.
Kraft Foods builds $200m+ MIO brand
Zero-calorie water enhancers really took off in the US around two years ago. Kraft Foods launched its MIO brand sweetened with Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K) and sucralose in March 2011 (backed by its biggest ever A&P spend in the first year, $50m).
Kraft expects sales to hit $200m+ in 2013; Coke followed suit by launching Dasani Drops as a rival last September, using the same combination of sweeteners.
Storms says that Tate & Lyle hopes to help a brand bring a product to market in Europe within six months. So where is there promise for water enhancers within this territory?
"Anywhere where there is history and heritage of adding flavor to water, through concentrated squash in the UK or powdered drinks elsewhere in Europe," Storms says.
"We see it as relevant to all of Europe - where we see that bottled water is a really big part of the overall beverage category...since it gives consumers the chance to enhance basic water, which is sometimes seen as a bit of a boring drink," she adds.