News & Opinion | May 31, 2019 12:33 pm

LaCroix Sales “in Free Fall” Thanks to Big Soda’s Foray Into Seltzer

Once a symbol of Millennial culture, the company's popularity has gone flat in recent months

Sales of LaCroix sparkling water are dropping. (Justin Sullivan/ Getty)
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LaCroix — the ubiquitous flavored soda water that accounts for about 30% of the shelf space in this very office’s refrigerator — has been a smash hit among Millennials (and let’s be honest, older generations as well) in recent years. But with rival companies increasingly eating into its market share, LaCroix has seen its popularity and unique appeal go flat.

The brand’s sales are “effectively in free fall,” Laurent Grandet, a beverage analyst for Guggenheim, told CNN. Revenue fell 15 percent in May after dipping about 7 percent in April, 5 percent in March, and so on.

“The LaCroix brand has gone from bad, to worse, to disastrous in a relatively short period of time,” Grandet said while referencing the company’s competition for similar beverages and the “lack of meaningful or disruptive innovation” from its drink’s owner, National Beverage. The parent company has been watching its own stock price take tumble after tumble, falling 10 percent in just this week and 62 percent since September 2018.

LaCroix had the right idea to begin with. The research company Mintel found, according to CNN, that American consumers want their beverages to be nutritional, maybe have a little caffeine and be low in sugar or even sugar-free. Sparkling waters check most of those boxes, and retail sales of seltzer have more than doubled over the last six years.

It might surprise some to know that LaCroix has been around for about 30 years but didn’t garner a ton of popularity until this decade, when it became “one of the symbols of the Millennial generation.” Other brands, unfortunately for LaCroix, quickly took notice: enter sparkling Smartwater from Coca-Cola, Bubly from PepsiCo, Kirkland from Costco and many others.

Chalk another death up to Millennials.

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