#2 Nestlé: Brand variety wide as the waters

Though the company is known more for its food products, Nestlé is a major player in the beverage market. As the No. 1 bottled water company in the world, Nestlé owns 15 brands of water, including Nestlé Pure Life, Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Ozarka and Zephyrhills, as well as imports brands such as Perrier and S. Pellegrino.

2007 brought a refreshing new bottle design from Nestlé Waters, which is used by all six of the company’s regional spring water brands. Dubbed Eco-Shape, the bottle is made up of 30% less plastic than the average half-liter plastic beverage container, and has a 30% smaller label than its predecessor.

But that’s just a sip from its sustainability cistern.

To get a fuller taste: 91% of materials from bottling plants in Poland and Hollis, Maine are recycled, and a third bottling plant, currently being built in Kingfield, Maine, will earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Nestlé Waters also reduced water use by 5.5%, energy use by 2.5% and polyethyelene terephthalate (PET) usage: the 90 grams of PET that used to make two bottles will now make more than three bottles.

Moving beyond bottled water, the company has taken advantage of the numerous advantages of tea. Though tea has already been linked to numerous health benefits, ready-to-drink (RTD) teas are becoming even more health conscious. Nestea, which is jointly owned by Nestlé and the Coca-Cola Co., reformulated it’s RTD iced green tea products, Green Tea Citrus and Diet Green Tea Citrus. Studies show that green tea sales rose more than twice as fast in 2007, making up two-thirds of 2007 RTD tea category growth. It’s probably no coincidence that consumers are becoming more aware of the health benefits of green tea; the beverages contain 50% more antioxidants than before.

This revamp of the product also called for new package design, sporting graphics that emphasize natural fruit flavors and increased antioxidant content.

And last, but perhaps most innovative, Nestlé finally figured out how to get kids to eat their vegetables. The secret? Make them taste like fruit. Juicy Juice, already known for its kid-friendly flavors, has introduced new Harvest Surprise, which comes in three flavors: Orange Mango, Grape and Tropical. Harvest Surprise blends carrot and sweet potato juices with the juices of grapes, mangos, pears and apples, masking any traditional vegetable flavors and yet meeting kids dietary needs.

“Flavor is No. 1 when it comes to kids, which is why parents need to find new, delicious ways to get more fruits and vegetables into their kids’ diets,” says author and family nutrition expert Liz Weiss, who has spoken on behalf of Juicy Juice. “With Nestlé Juicy Juice Harvest Surprise, moms have an easy way to give their kids some additional fruit and vegetable nutrition with a taste they’ll enjoy.” F&BP