Danone will begin incorporating ‘smart caps’ into its Spanish mineral water brand Font Vella, allowing consumers to track their levels of hydration.
Dubbed Coach2O, the widget will monitors consumers’ water intake and “coach them towards adequate hydration”, Danone said.
It works by clipping onto the existing bottle cap (ensuring no contact between the water and the device) and recording the volume of water taken in by the consumer. It can also remind people to drink using a discreet series of ‘blinks’ – and comes complete with an accompanying app that allows consumers to set daily hydration goals and adjust the fitting to their individual requirements.
The company has developed the devices in partnership with Water.io – the innovative smart packaging company whose bottle cap technology – as co-founder Yoav Hoshen told FoodBev in 2015 – has the ability to turn any ordinary bottle ‘smart’.
The start-up previously worked with packaging company Visy to make its bottle caps available in Australia and New Zealand – but Danone’s latest usage represents a real coup.
It is particularly on-trend given the growing inclination of consumers to reuse and refill plastic water bottles.
Bruno Dasque, vice-president research and innovation for Danone Waters, said: “Over the years, our scientific teams have developed a deep understanding of the science of hydration. Now, with our open innovation capabilities, we can leverage digital solutions to bring all this knowledge to those who need it most: our consumers, through personalised solutions.”
The European Food Safety Authority recommends a daily intake of 2.5 litres of water for men and 2 litres of water for women – through either the food they eat or they drinks they consume – including around 70-80% sought from beverages.
Kinvara Carey, general manager for the UK’s National Hydration Council, said: “With the current debates continuing around sugar and the health of the nation, now is the time to challenge ourselves and consider how we can do more to encourage healthy hydration habits.
“Although most drinks will hydrate you, water is one of the healthiest ways to hydrate as it contains no calories or sugar. There is so much choice when it comes to water, with a range of high-quality naturally sourced still and sparkling waters as well as tap water at home, or carried in a reusable bottle.”
Although there has been criticism of hydration in the past, with some nutritionists arguing that the concept is over-emphasised, there is growing evidence to suggest that consumers are channelling their health kick towards water and cutting back on soda.
In 2017, sales of bottled water overtook carbonated soft drinks in the US for the first time – and last year, food and drinks consultancy Zenith Global predicted that the same would be true on a global basis for the whole of 2018.
This was “all the more remarkable” because other soft drink categories were still growing, according to Zenith chairman Richard Hall.