Winner of the ‘best flavoured water’ category at the Global Bottled Water Awards 2015, Nuva is set to show how key hydration is to wellbeing. We speak with founder, Gemma Pond, about her spring water drink brand and how it is taking the health industry by storm.
What inspired you to launch Nuva?
Five years ago I wasn’t that clued up on healthy eating, so much so that it led to me being diagnosed with severe stomach ulcers and IBS. At the time the only treatment option available to me was harsh medication, which I wasn’t a fan of. As such, I was really spurred on to completely overhaul my lifestyle and find a natural cure. I started swapping my cereal for chia seeds, fried food for fresh fish and sugary drinks for superfood juices. It was amazing! It had an almost immediate impact on my health and I wanted to continue leading a healthy lifestyle, which for me meant not eating too much refined food and keeping everything as natural as possible.
The one problem that I kept facing was healthy hydration. So many drinks are packed full of sugars, sweeteners and hidden nasties and, of course, water is the most natural drink out there but it can be dull. I loved infusing my own water at home with lemon and ginger, but when I was on the go with meetings, there was just no choice of soft drink available to me that wasn’t full of sugars and sweeteners. With Nuva I wanted to create a completely natural water with just a kiss of flavour.
I loved infusing my own water at home with lemon and ginger, but when I was on the go with meetings, there was just no choice of soft drink available to me that wasn’t full of sugars and sweeteners.
How did you develop the flavours for your drinks?
This was a real labour of love! Luckily I had an amazing business partner by my side in Christine Renier, who was previously the Marketing Director for Evian. We insisted on using natural spring water of the highest quality, so it was key for us to find a factory that would help us produce this water, flavoured without any preservatives such as citric acid, and to use only pure, natural botanicals to flavour our drinks. It took us around a year to find the right people but we are delighted with our partners, based in France, and have developed three delectable blends that are the solution to those looking for non-acidic hydration on the go: Lemon and Ginger, Cucumber and Garden Mint, and Melon and Jasmine.
How would you describe the UK drinks market and are there any trends headed our way?
The UK currently has the biggest health drinks sector in Europe, and shows no signs of slowing down. Functional, flavoured and bottled waters are the major growth drivers within the health drinks sector at the moment, which is why we feel that Nuva, the first sugar-, sweetener- and additive-free flavoured water is perfectly poised to drive further growth.
Functional, flavoured and bottled waters are the major growth drivers within the health drinks sector at the moment.
What was the hardest thing about taking Nuva to market?
The hardest thing has been to get an outstanding quality and natural product stable for on-the-go consumption; and then once it’s stable, making sure the different infused flavours in each drink come through just the right amount. However, proving that it can be done and making space for truly healthy drinks is a fight that we are happy to pioneer. Despite the trades amazing welcome, it is hard to find a place near sugar-laden drinks that, at the end of the day, still sell an awful lot.
You’re stocked in the likes of Boots, Amazon, Wholefoods and Revital. Can you talk us through how you managed to get such great stockists for your product, the conversations that had to happen and any advice for other business owners looking to do the same?
I think we launched Nuva at a great time. The sugar debate is only gathering in momentum and, as a flavoured no-sugar water, we really stand out from the crowd. As stockists are having to innovate to keep up with public and government pressure, they are actively looking for healthier alternatives to stock and Boots, especially, are really leading the way in terms of getting healthier, better-for-you alternatives on their shelves.
My advice to others is simple: keep going. Find the right contact, keep pushing, do not take ‘no’ for an answer and believe in yourself and your product.