Naturally hydrating the nation while reducing food waste
In late March, Foresight Factory hosted a Creative Exchange (a new FF programme which invites innovators, experts and industry disruptors to share their ideas with our team) with UK sparkling flavoured water brand Dash Water. Co-founder Alex Wright came in to tell us about the company’s commitment to “naturally hydrate the nation” while reducing food waste.
Who are Dash and what do they do?
Launched in May 2017, Dash Water is a London-based startup in the “unsweet” drinks category. The brand’s drinks contain just two ingredients: sparkling spring water and fresh fruit/vegetables, which are infused into the water over a six-hour process.
Founders Alex and Jack both come from farming backgrounds, giving them a firsthand view of food waste in the supply chain. According to the pair’s research, in the UK, up to 30% of fruit and veg grown never reaches consumers. Similarly they saw how up to 25% of the contents of fizzy drinks was made up of sugar, and noted the growing body of research which suggests that sweeteners are not a healthy option for replacing sugar either. They set up Dash Water to combat these key issues – creating a drink that is healthy (but still tasty), and which makes use of surplus produce.
Dash’s key learnings for brands
Find your niche: The soft drinks market is a saturated one. For Dash, the key was to position the brand in a space that wasn’t already crowded with offerings. To differentiate and help the products to stand out in the flavoured water market, Dash made natural flavours (and no sugar) its USP. The brand has also found that regular exercisers are a strong market for its products.
Be aware of trend lags: Two key macro industry trends Alex and Jack spotted were the growth in water sales, and the shift away from high sugar soft drinks. For health/food trends, they found that the West Coast of the US is a key market to look to for inspiration. Trends can be tracked from the West to the East Coast of the US, and from there to London. This transition can take 5-7 years, with another 3-5 years before such trends reach other UK and European cities. So looking at brands launched in the West Coast in the last few years can predict where the European market might go next.
Don’t forget the experience: While reducing sugar and waste is a key focus for Dash, they also want the drinks to be flavoursome and a joy to drink. Carbonation and cans may be associated with sugary fizzy drinks, but this link is in fact intentional. Alex told us how part of the brand’s mission is to swap people out of drinking conventional fizzy drinks, but maintain the thrill of the “cold can moment”. Excitement is key.
Social media marketing: With a key target audience of health-conscious, female Millennials, Dash has used social media (Instagram in particular) as a useful tool in marketing its products. Its packaging is deliberately instagrammable, which encourages fans to share their experience with others.
The Trends Impact
As tracked in our trend Society of Sobriety, many consumers are now embracing moderation and self-discipline when it comes to health and diet. Sugar has become the source of much concern, with many governments and industry bodies introducing taxes and caps to try and reduce its impact on citizens’ health. Dash will certainly appeal to those looking to cut down on sugar consumption, without compromising on taste.
Dash’s ethos around recyclable packaging and waste reduction is not only admirable, it is very much in keeping with the zeitgeist: 71% of consumers globally agree “people are generally far too wasteful when it comes to food”. Our trend War on Waste explores consumer distaste for waste and how overall, consumers feel much of the responsibility lies with brands to help them in their waste reduction efforts – both at home and in the supply chain.
Finally, the company is proudly British. All the produce for Dash drinks is sourced locally, and the drink is made and packaged in the UK. This promise taps into our Local Allure trend, which explores the consumer preference for local heritage in certain contexts, as a way to connect with heritage and support sustainability in consumption.
Dash Water took part in The Creative Exchange @ Foresight Factory, a programme which invites innovators, experts and industry disruptors to share their ideas with our team. Please contact your Account Team or write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to find out more.