Sparkling mineral water—Perrier, Topo Chico—has been on the market for decades, but it took the flavorful fruit additions to LaCroix to turn sparkling water into an American phenomenon. LaCroix itself has existed since 1981, but it was just a few years ago when its star truly rose. Today, though, all is not well for the O.G. purveyor of fizzy water. A Wall Street Journal article finds LaCroix’s sales slipping and stock price tumbling, thanks to a few strong headwinds. The company’s “apology” for its underperformance, you may remember, was one for the ages.
The first factor in LaCroix’s slide is perhaps inevitable: increased competition. Once LaCroix burst onto the scene, other beverage companies realized they should probably start making sparkling water, too. Now, there are many more options than existed just a few years ago, and some consumers WSJ spoke to are making the switch from LaCroix to products like Bubly or Ice Mountain. (For our money, we like Dasani Sparkling.)
But other factors compound the effects of increased competition, notably a class-action lawsuit against LaCroix parent company National Beverage regarding the product’s “all-natural” ingredients. Analysts cited by the WSJ are mixed on whether LaCroix can bounce back; it’s still the best-selling sparkling water brand in America, but it’s losing ground. UBS analysts are optimistic the brand could recover, while a Guggenheim analyst issued this dire message in May: “The LaCroix brand has gone from bad, to worse, to disastrous. We think it’s unlikely that LaCroix can recover to any meaningful degree while in the hands of National Beverage.”
For the full picture of the cutthroat competition among sparkling water producers, turn your eyeballs to The Wall Street Journal.