For the last decade, soda consumption has been on a steady decline. In 2013, the carbonated soft drink (CSD) market saw sales volume decrease by three percent, which marked the lowest point since 1995. Having been inculpated in the obesity epidemic and named as a culprit in serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes, consumers have been eager for healthier alternatives. As a result, big soda has a target on its back that all too many companies are ready to take aim at.
One company thinks that the answer to getting Americans to consume more water and fewer sugar-laden beverages lies within a plastic cup. For the last six years Isaac Lavi, founder and CEO, of New York-based the Right Cup, has been toiling to bring the first ever flavor-scented cup to market. The premise of the product is that it uses FDA approved aromatic flavors that are manufactured into the cup's material, which trick the brain into believing plain water is flavored when it is used. While the idea might at first seem far-fetched, when you consider that smell is responsible for 80 percent of the flavor experience, you start to realize that scent is integral to how we experience food and beverages.
Lavi, a scent marketer with more than a decade of experience, and his team launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in November, seeking $58,000 to fund the initial production of its fruit flavored cups. At the time of press, it has already raised more than $130,000.
While the introduction of the Right Cup was met with great fanfare, people have been clamoring for a cola flavored cup. "When you are making a product to help reduce the consumption of excess sugar, soda is always something on the forefront of your mind, explained Lavi. "We launched the original cup with the fruit flavors, because many times people are looking towards fruit flavored drinks as a healthy option when in reality it's full of the same harmful stuff as many soda beverages." After much demand, today, the company is unveiling its cola flavored cup, which will utilize sparkling water to mimic the taste and effervescence found in soda. The company has set a stretch goal of $200,000 for the new flavor.
There is a novelty factor to the Right Cup, but it is far from the only company looking to wage war on big soda. Flavored and functional waters are a small but emerging market, and companies like Hint Water and Talking Rain, the maker of Sparkling ICE, already have a strong foothold within it. But Lavi is betting on the appeal and access of pure water. "Instead of continuously buying fruit flavored water bottles, you can simply enjoy tasty and healthy water with the reusable Right Cup."
The expected market price for the Right Cup is $35. In early prototypes, the BPA-free cups lasted around 6 months. Delivery of the product is expected in May 2016.