Unsweetened O WaterUnsweetened O Water: Lots of fruit flavor with no sugar. Art by Karen Hochman | THE NIBBLE.


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EMILY CHANG is a New York-based writer.



October 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Beverages

O Water

Oh-So-Good Sweetened & Unsweetened Flavored Waters


CAPSULE REPORT: With a dozen flavors—five unsweetened and seven lightly sweetened—O Water has made a statement in the flavored water category. None of the varieties contains juice, yet each still manage to convey the fruity essence of blueberries, oranges, peaches, strawberries and the like. How do they do it? That’s a secret for O Water to know and us to find out. O Water is packaged in PET #1 plastic, which can be recycled to make everything from clothing to playgrounds. This is Page 1 of a two-page review. Click the black links below to visit Page 2. Drink up!

Overview: Flavored Waters Making A Splash In The Market

One of our editorial director’s greatest regrets is that she never introduced the concept of bottled water to America before bottling and selling back to people their local tap water became the business of taking candy from a baby. But don’t start sending off sympathy letters to her yet—America has slowly but surely been phasing out of its obsession with bottled water, and thanks to environmental concerns, it doesn’t look like bottled H2O will be staging a comeback anytime soon. After years of double-digit growth, in 2008 sales of bottled water in the U.S. fell 1%. But get this: Flavored and enhanced waters fared considerably better with an 8% percent increase in sales for the same year, according to a report by Innova Market Insights.

This is not surprising, considering the innovation occurring in the flavored water industry. As the market continues to grow, the choices of flavors and health benefits in flavored waters continue to expand along with it. Now, water comes sweetened, unsweetened, colored, clear, fruity, minty, with added vitamins, minerals and even omega 3s. With so many options, it’s hard to know a hit from a miss. We’ll make it easy for you: Try O Water.

With two distinct lines (Infused with flavor and a non-caloric sweetener and Unsweetened with flavor, no sweetener and electrolytes)—each of which boasts five to seven flavors—it’s hard to find a thirsty palate that cannot be quenched (unless that palate prefers plain tap water).

Unsweetened Electrolyte Waters

The unsweetened line is powerful in flavor, with strong fruit essence on the palate as well as the nose. The scent will hit you immediately, contributing to the tasting experience. This line is enhanced with electrolytes. What are they, and why do you want them?

Electrolytes are salts that exist in body fluids (blood, plasma, the interstitial fluid between cells). The body’s major electrolytes, in alphabetical order, are bicarbonate, calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphate, potassium, sodium and sulfate. When you exercise heavily or sweat heavily because of labor or the heat, you lose electrolytes, particularly sodium and potassium. These electrolytes must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant. Sports drinks have sodium chloride or potassium chloride added to them, but most also add lots of sugar.

At zero calories a pop, unsweetened O Water adds key electrolytes (potassium bicarbonate, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride) and you won’t feel a twinge of guilt about downing a 20-ounce bottle. Think of it as a sports drink that replenishes your body’s needs without weighing it down with sugars and dyes.

There are five unsweetened flavors:

  • Lemon & Lime O Water. This O Water tastes like what you would get if you squeezed a lime and a lemon into your water—no surprises. The acidity of the citrus combined with the flavor makes this water particularly refreshing. It’s a fitting means of hydrating after some excess gorging (Thanksgiving dinner, anyone?).
  • Mandarin Orange O Water. Mandarin Orange tastes amazingly like eating a can of mandarin oranges, without the syrup. Enjoy sips of mandarin bliss.
  • Strawberry O Water. The sweet scent of strawberries fools the taste buds into perceiving a sweetness in this liquid, despite the lack of a sweetener.
  • Twist Of Peach O Water. Here, the essence of peach permeates the water like a peach gummy.
  • Wild Berries. The berry flavor is strong here, but this isn’t our favorite in the line. Very berry lovers may prefer it more than we did.
  Mandarin O Water
Mandarin Orange O Water: sips of mandarin orange bliss that rehydrate and replace electrolytes.

Now, let’s take a look at the sweetened waters, which are the original O Water products.


Continue To Page 2: Infused O Waters


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