USA – The Coca-Cola Company is set to significantly scale back the distribution of its Aha Sparkling Water products in the United States,

According to the company spokesperson, Aha beverages will only be available in “focused channels” and through Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, while they will continue to be sold in Canada Starting in 2024.

The decision reflected Coca-Cola’s strategy to realign its product portfolio based on shifting consumer preferences.

The company unveiled the potential for growth in the sparkling water category, particularly with its premium brand, Topo Chico.

Aha Sparkling Water, launched by Coca-Cola in March 2020 as a competitor to brands like LaCroix and PepsiCo’s Bubly, marked the company’s first major brand introduction since 2006.

However, it has faced declining sales since the first quarter of 2023, as reported by Beverage Digest.

Coca-Cola’s move to discontinue Aha highlighted the challenges of establishing a new brand in a crowded and highly competitive category, even for a beverage industry giant.

Coca-Cola may have entered the sparkling water market, which also features brands like Polar, Spindrift, and Waterloo, too late.

 Aha was introduced after Coca-Cola’s previous offering, Dasani Sparkling, failed to gain traction and was discontinued in 2019.

At its launch, Aha introduced eight flavors of sparkling water, including two with caffeine.

The company heavily invested in a marketing campaign for Aha in 2021 and 2022. However, as of early 2023, Aha had only six flavors available, including options like Lime + Watermelon and Blueberry + Passionfruit.

Sales of Aha took a sharp hit this year, especially after the discontinuation of the caffeinated varieties and when grocery chain Publix removed the brand from its shelves.

In the first quarter of 2023, Aha sales plummeted by 42%, according to Beverage Digest.

LaCroix continues to dominate the sparkling water market, holding 14% of category sales in the first quarter.

PepsiCo’s Bubly, launched in 2017 as a Coca-Cola rival, captured 7.5% of the market, while Aha only accounted for 1.9% of sales in the same period, according to Beverage Digest.

Coca-Cola’s decision to shift its focus to Topo Chico, an established mineral water brand acquired for US$220 million in 2017, aligns with the ongoing popularity of premium beverage products.

The company introduced Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in collaboration with Molson Coors last year. In April, Coca-Cola unveiled Topo Chico Sabores, a premium sparkling water infused with fruit juice and herbal extracts, available in three flavors.

Dan White, Coca-Cola’s Chief of New Revenue Streams, indicated earlier this year that the company predicted Topo Chico, the Mexican sparkling water brand, reaching annual sales of US$1 billion in the future, although no specific timeline was provided.