Water, water, everywhere...with many a drop to drink.
Water has been one of the hottest trends among beverage companies this year, as consumers turn away from sugary soda drinks. But not just any agua will do. In a bid to outdo each other, and to garner profits, companies are unleashing new "designer water" products.
On Friday, PepsiCo (PEP - Get Report) unveiled its latest fancy bottled water line, and that may have helped boost the company's stock in morning trading. This is one good way for investors to play this sparkling trend. PepsiCo Shares finished up 1.37% in Friday trading.
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American consumers have been steadily turning away from foods and drinks that they perceive as unhealthy. Although the definition of healthy changes with the seasons, one thing is clear: It definitely doesn't include traditional soda. Even Diet Coke, which for years was pushed as a healthy option, saw sales crater by nearly 5.6% in 2015.
After 11 consecutive years of plunging soda sales, major beverage makers like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have had to refocus on alternative products.
According to analysts at Beverage Marketing, bottled water consumption is rising. From 2000 to 2015, the purchase of bottled water grew 120%. The analysts forecast that water will be the most consumed beverage in the U.S. by the end of 2017.
Clearly, this is a trend for investors to embrace. PepsiCo is making it easy.
On Friday, the beverage major announced next year's launch of LIFEWTR, a premium bottled water brand. The purified water will be pH balanced with electrolytes, putting it in direct competition with Coke's popular Smartwater brand.
PepsiCo has already made strong inroads in the water industry. The company produces Aquafina bottled water, which is a leader of the $185 billion global bottled water industry.
The premium-priced water segment of this industry, into which LIFEWTR will fit, is smaller but still sizable. It's worth $2.8 billion in the U.S. alone.
Premium water aside, PepsiCo is already strongly positioned no matter what affects the beverage industry. The company also owns a portfolio of best-selling snack and breakfast brands, including Frito-Lay.
PepsiCo is a great long-term investment. However, there's another company that also makes an appealing and potentially quicker play on the popularity of water.
SodaStream once marketed itself as the manufacturer of DIY soda machines. However, now the company is focusing on presenting its carbonators as gourmet water makers.
The results have been resoundingly good. After losing three-quarters of its market value during a five-year stretch, SodaStream's fortunes have turned, reporting profits and growing sales throughout 2016. It's still a great profit opportunity for investors as the company's product portfolio continues to expand.
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