What are the health benefits of sparkling water?
Challenging myths about sparkling water – and exploring its benefits
The rise of sparkling water is already meteoric, and impossible for industry insiders to ignore. Despite already enjoying a long and storied history the last four years have seen interest surge worldwide, overcoming the old boundaries of regional and seasonal preference.
If you’re a distributor still on the fence about selling a sparkling water option, consider the following health benefits it offers; benefits that your potential users are already noticing.
Public and personal health are shaping consumer tastes
Sparkling is now seen as more than a novel treat for the adventurous consumer, but a viable option for the health-conscious too. As a result, distributors can now sell to them from this angle.
Even before the pandemic, health awareness informed consumer spending. It remains a powerful influence on the end user’s habits. Making a soda to soda water switch for health reasons is already catching on in America.
With a new option well-established, customisation and unique market innovation can now give carbonation new unique selling points.
Healthy options are considered more versatile than ever
According to this insight by Progressive Grocer, unique water profiles now marketed as “functional” appear to be disrupting traditional beverage categories. Consumers want more benefits than just hydration and good taste. The bubble and fizz of the carbonated option is proving compatible with many of these new preferences, which range from CBD-infused to rich in minerals.
Caleb Bryant, associate director of food and drink at Mintel, even predicts sparkling to fill the gap left by falling alcohol consumption.
“Sparkling waters are already popular with health-conscious consumers and waters featuring unique flavour profiles and enhanced with ingredients that provide relaxation will become alcoholic drink substitutes.”
This claim is far from unfounded. We’re only two months into 2022 and the evidence is in.
Health-focused themes for the month of January roll around every year. Traditionally, we have seen rises in gym memberships and changes in dietary choices (ie. “Veganuary”). The alcohol-free “Dry January” initiative is perhaps the most relevant for the drinks market.
Earlier this year, an analysis from Nielson shone a light on what it dubs the “sober curious” movement.
“In 2022, keep an eye on innovative moves within sparkling water, coffee, energy drinks and functional beverages, which will likely catch the eyes of health-minded consumers with a thirst to try something new.”
The analysis ends with an admonition that distributors must strike while the iron is hot and take advantage while they can
“As trends in this space evolve, the opportunities are there for the taking.”
So, what’s all the fuss about? Are these emerging demographics of health-minded water drinkers following sound scientific advice or just seeking a twist on the old fizzy drink experience? Let’s go over the benefits.
The main health benefits revealed
Easing indigestion and aiding oral health
All aspects of our health are interlinked, though new research is bringing prominence to areas previously considered underexplored. One such area is the gut.
Gut health has been taking centre stage in the recent public conversation. Far from upsetting the stomach or harming the digestive tract, carbonated water “may even enhance digestion by improving swallowing ability and reducing constipation.”
This perk is so potent, it even helps you enjoy a cup of coffee more. Consuming sparkling water with coffee offsets coffee’s acidity and dilutes its diuretic effects. Doing so beforehand cleanses the palate and enhances the tongue’s ability to enjoy coffee’s unique taste.
A healthier mouth and gut is something we should all strive for. Given the prodigious level of coffee consumption found in most workplaces, adding a sparkling water option to the traditional cooler would benefit workers and managers.
Easing sugar cessation and strengthening sobriety
In recent years, the rise of the e-cigarette was driven in part by its well-marketed potential as a smoking cessation aid. E-cigarettes not only replaced nicotine, they outstripped patches and gum by recreating the smoker’s experience of intake more accurately. Smoker’s didn’t just miss the nicotine, they missed the “drag.” They wanted the warm sensation, mouthfeel, taste and overall stimulation.
By recreating the experience of sodas through familiar physical sensation, sparkling water can satisfy a craving without bringing on the harmful effects (and subsequent shame) attached to the stigmatised sugary drink. This also applies to alcoholic options.
With sweeteners replacing sugars and low-to-no alcohol satisfying the newly sober like hard Seltzer once did, user options are better than ever. Now they can embrace the sparkling market and satisfy old cravings without feeling they are sacrificing any wellbeing.
Speaking of satiation…
Just as hydrating as still water
As this piece from Science Focus bluntly puts it: “Hydration is just a fancy word for absorbing water.”
Though regular ingestion of both sparkling and still is still encouraged, your preference doesn’t matter; just getting enough is what matters. Research from the University of Chicago vindicated sparkling as a perfectly viable option for staying hydrated throughout the day.
Helping with weight control
All of these listed qualities are a fine framework for assisting with weight control.
If a person’s excess calories are coming through what they drink instead of what they eat, sparkling provides a good substitute. High quality carbonation, such as that found in Deep Sparkle®, allows water to carry a stronger flavour than still variants.
Phasing out sugar and alcohol to cut weight will reduce the chances of diabetes, tooth decay and damage to the liver and kidneys.
Responding to anti-fizz fervour
Despite thorough evidence vindicating its quality, safety and versatility, misinformation about sparkling water persists. To quote Jonathan Swift, “A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots.”
There are few things harder to kill than a false claim masquerading as conventional wisdom.
Readers doubtless will have heard that sparkling water does not hydrate. Or even that it dehydrates! To this day it seems the old paternalistic condemnation of soda pop fuels ongoing distrust towards carbonation altogether.
It must be reasserted that negative effects tied to sparkling drinks are the result of high levels of processed sugar historically attached to carbonated products, never the carbonation itself.
Putting it all together
Not only is sparkling water healthy in its own right, it comes with unique benefits. End users are consuming in record numbers, driven in large part by these health trends. The time for distributors to take advantage is now. They can achieve this by reminding users of these manifold benefits and selling the best sparkling water dispensers and tap systems.