P&G Adds Flavor To Its PUR Water Filtration System

Procter & Gamble's PUR water filtration system is adding a new spin on filtered water. It's creating a new version that includes flavors.

The Flavor Options SKU lets consumers insert a flavor cartridge into a redesigned PUR pitcher or onto the faucet-mounted version, and use a button to vary the concentration of flavor in the water dispensed by the pitcher or tap.

According to marketing consultancy Mintel, which issued a report on water filtration systems in 2006, bottled water has taken the steam out of water filters, but the strength of the bottled water market is an opportunity as well.

The consultancy sees bottled-water buyers--25- to-34-year-olds, and parents--as a potential market for filter devices. Younger people, urbanites and African Americans are good prospects because they report being dissatisfied with their tap water.

Per the consultancy, after strong growth in the 1990s, sales of water filter systems grew only 3% between 2000 and 2005, to $1.7 billion.



Ironically, 2005 saw a 6.5% increase in sales because of natural disasters like Katrina that year. Per the study, fears about water quality and aesthetic concerns about taste drive the market. The consultancy predicts sales will increase as the U.S. continues dismantling the Clean Air, and Clean Water acts.

Overall, Mintel sees sales of water filtration products accelerating in coming years, increasing 27% at current prices and 8% at constant prices through 2010.

Suzette Middleton, a P&G health products spokesperson, says that PUR is starting to make inroads in increasing public awareness of the need to filter water. "Consumers are starting to respond, and we expect the new PUR Flavor Options will fuel further category growth."

She says purification, cost and environmental concerns are points of differentiation versus bottled water.

"PUR products are certified to give you healthy water by removing contaminants while bottled water is not; PUR is a better value at one-tenth the cost of bottled water; and PUR is better for the environment because it helps prevent the need for oil usage to produce and transport so many water bottles and also helps prevent some of the 10 billion water bottles from piling up in landfills every year."

Middleton says over the course of a year, the product produces the equivalent of 3,200 16-ounce bottles of water.

The PUR Flavor Options package comes in Raspberry, Strawberry and Peach. P&G says it has no calories and no artificial colors or flavors.

PUR Flavor Options pitchers are sold at an MSRP of $29.99, with faucet mounts at $49.99 and cartridges, which are sold in packs of two, at an MSRP of $9.99.

Middleton says the Flavor Options packet will appeal to consumers because it allows them to control concentrations of flavoring. "Since people tend to like different amounts of flavor, being able to control the amount of flavor in each glass by just pushing a button more times puts the consumer in ultimate control."

According to Middleton, PUR and Brita are the major players in the home filtration market, and "in the last 6 months, PUR has grown share at Brita's expense, so now the two are equal."

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