AQUA Carpatica is a premium mineral water brand from the Carpathian Mountains springs, new to British market, exclusively imported and distributed by Fresh Organic Products. Nichi Boca, Founder and Managing Director of Fresh Organic, spoke exclusively to Wholesale Manager.
Wholesale Manager: Nichi, what’s the story behind Fresh Organic and AQUA Carpatica?
We believe strongly that people deserve to live a healthy life, as much as they deserve to be able to enjoy it! Our family members’ health is one of the best investments for both the present and future; ideal solutions can always be found in nature’s original simplicity. Organic food isn’t just robust nutrition; it is the natural way to eat intelligently, a God-given gift. We all need to be well informed about the health implications of our food, eating habits and drinks intake. And most important, we need to have healthier food and drink alternatives available to choose from, at reasonable prices.
Created in this spirit in 2013, Fresh Organic Products strives for a better world, a family owned business arising from our efforts to improving the life and circumstances of a dear but overweight close relative. From there we undertook the mission to offer selected organic, high quality, premium products, embarking together with our distributor and retail partners, to both delight and support consumers’ healthier life style. Fresh Organic’s product portfolio, including raw honey, sugar free preserves and pure mineral water sourced from the Carpathian Mountains, the organic garden of Europe, goes from strength to strength meeting UK and Irish consumers’ needs for health.
Raw honey from a small monastery in the Carpathian Mountains was our first natural premium product created under our Carpathian Treasure brand. The outstanding quality of our bee products has been awarded with three Great Taste 2015 prizes, for our bee pollen, acacia and forest honey.
As we developed, we added the Topoloveni Plum Spread, one of the best sugar free spread products available in the world, 100% made from organic plums, which has received many international awards. But our most important offering is AQUA Carpatica, a premium, high quality natural mineral water, one of the purest waters in the world: sodium and nitrate free and naturally alkaline (pH of 7.8 for the still spring water) – a perfect mix for maximum hydration. Sourced deep within the Carpathian Mountains – the last untamed forests of Europe – AQUA Carpatica delivers naturally untouched mineral and spring waters, as natural today as it was at the beginning of time. Purified by nature, AQUA Carpatica is sourced from three distinctive springs located over 200 metres underground, with no processing plants or human interference.
WM: Where is AQUA Carpatica on sale?
This healthy mineral water is now available to British consumers and the results have exceeded our initial expectations. Stocked since 2014 in Harrods, our first retail partner, AQUA Carpatica is now also available in Wholefoods and in nature intended stores. Cotswold Fayre, Tree of Life, The Health Store, Confex buying group members and Abra Wholesale became our main distribution partners. The AQUA Carpatica distribution network is constantly increasing as our partners join in our drive to meet consumer health needs and share in our commercial success.
WM: What’s your strategy for AQUA Carpatica?
Fresh Organic’s strategy for AQUA Carpatica is to build distribution in UK and Ireland in stages and make sure we satisfy both the consumer convenience purchasing need for healthier products and a pure water brand statement. After initially being available in the organic/health channel we are now focusing on our distribution potential in key/high street independent retailers, supermarkets and convenience stores and in mass-market national retail accounts.
Foodservice and delivered wholesale is currently a core focus, as we strongly believe that AQUA Carpatica’s unique glass bottle design is a ‘must’ presence on any table, due to its unique crisp taste and health benefits.
WM: How are you supplying these outlets through the wholesalers and cash & carries?
Supplied directly from our warehouse situated in Tilbury, near London, orders are currently delivered in 48 hours maximum everywhere in the UK. Our main distributors today are Cotswold Fayre, Y & C Wholesale, Abra Wholesale, Roexport, Tree of Life and the Health Store. We are present in more than 600 stores all over the UK from Wales to Scotland, from London to Leeds.
WM: What are your best selling products and planned line extension products?
The best selling pure water products in the AQUA Carpatica range are bottled 500 ml and 1.5 ml still mineral water. We have just added a 1L bottle to our portfolio and the first pallets have started to be delivered. A 330 ml bottle created for children and 750 ml sport cap bottles will be introduced later this year.
WM: What are the current trends in soft drinks and waters that you are seeing? What effect do you think the sugar levy will have?
Consumer demand for bottled water looks likely to remain very strong in the years ahead and will most probably overtake carbonated soft drinks, according to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).
We strongly believe that health is becoming a mainstream concern; increases in per capita consumption indicate enthusiasm for products that consumers regard as a healthful alternative to other beverages. Of course, the sugar levy will educate consumers to understand that fizzy drinks or soft drinks, full of sugar, are the biggest enemies for our health. Water is not just one of the healthiest ways of being hydrated but also one of the most affordable options.
Consumers are looking more and more for premium water products, but the presence or absence of additives, natural origins and the location of the source remain of key importance.
WM: What sets your water apart from the rest?
Pure bottled waters have strong sales appeal, but the pertinent question is how to define ‘pure’? Is it about being sodium free (0.6mg/l, 10 x lower level than second ranked brand) or nitrate free (0.7mg/l, 5x lower level than the second ranked brand) or naturally alkaline (pH of 7.8, closest to natural pH) for the still spring water? We believe the answer lies in the unique taste of our water, which is clean and crisp due to its pure composition. Our loyal customers have enjoyed this taste for as long as they have appreciated the health benefits. As a result of strong trial and brand loyalty, starting from the first taste, AQUA Carpatica builds category value driving incremental sales and premium value. This growth is also supported by the outstanding on-shelf visibility of its unique black and clear design.
WM: How are you marketing your AQUA Carpatica products to consumers?
We are letting the product sell itself. We enable consumers to feel and taste pure water, which is the best choice for hydration. AQUA Carpatica’s brand success to date has been driven by our consumers and we will not make any compromises about continuing to be consumer-centric. Their loyalty is our proof that AQUA Carpatica and its distributor and retail partners’ efforts are going from strength to strength, meeting UK and Irish consumers’ ongoing requirements for health.