Start-up success: Boxed water company secures US$6.7m investment led By AccelFoods

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24 Jul 2018 --- Rethink Brands, the boxed water company disrupting the children's beverage sector with the creation of Rethink Kids Water, has received a US$6.7 million investment for growth and expansion. The latest round of funding is led by AccelFoods, investors in high-growth, natural food and beverage companies.

In 2016, founders Matt Swanson and Chris O'Donovan created Rethink with the goal of revolutionizing the way people think about water. Last year, Rethink took the kids' juice drink industry head-on with the creation of Rethink Kids Water, an unsweetened organically flavored water. 

The recipe is the first of its kind, made from only purified water and USDA organic fruit essence. It comes in four flavors: Organic Apple, Organic Berry, Organic Fruit Punch and Organic Orange Mango. In addition to addressing a void in the market by providing a healthy juice alternative to parents, Rethink Kids Water is the first boxed water line for kids to be sold at grocers nationwide and the first zero calorie, zero sodium and zero sugar boxed water line for kids. Click to Enlarge

Rethink has widespread national distribution in more than 11,000 stores, including key accounts such as Walmart, Target, and Kroger, as well as on e-commerce retailers such as Amazon and via the brand's own website, Capital from this round will support Rethink’s explosive growth and continued distribution across the US, fund field teams in key markets to execute on the expansion and develop new innovative product launches in the upcoming year.

“This funding marks a pivotal moment for Rethink,” says Swanson, Co-Founder of Rethink Brands. “We always knew we were on the right side of health trends and consumer priorities. By addressing the needs of children, we can make a real difference: creating a product that encourages healthy eating and drinking habits for our youth, while improving the buying and decision-making experience for parents. Giving our consumers more and better options and continually innovating our approach is key to our success, and AccelFoods has been and will continue to be the right partner to help us get to the next level.”

“As investors and working mothers, we are thrilled to have partnered with a brand that is bringing true innovation to the children's beverage category. With young children of our own, we know first-hand the challenge of finding quality beverage products we feel good about giving our kids,” notes Jordan Gaspar, Managing Partner at AccelFoods. “We are excited to strengthen our partnership with Rethink and bring both parents and kids an organic, zero calorie and zero sugar beverage option.”

Rethink Brands originally wanted to disrupt the bottled water category with its initial introduction of Rethink Water, focused on eliminating some of the 40 billion plastic bottles that end up in landfills and oceans every year. In addition to this, and quickly realizing the demand from customers who want to make smarter and easier choices for their children, Rethink Kids Water is doubling its flavor offerings and increasing its retail footprint. Globally, juice sales and foot traffic to supermarket juice aisles are in decline, and soft drinks continuously come under fire in the industry for containing high levels of sugar. The long-awaited sugar tax came into force in the UK this year, pushing up the price of sugar-sweetened soft drinks across Britain, as the government aims to curb the growing obesity epidemic and rising levels of diabetes in young people and globally the soft drink category is being persuaded to make changes that will have a significant impact on health for future generations.

In April this year, FoodIngredientsFirst spoke with Rethink Water founders, Swanson and O'Donovan. 

Click to Enlarge
Matt Swanson, Co-Founder of Rethink

“When we created Rethink back in 2015, our mission was to revolutionize the US$2 billion packaged water industry. Parents were either giving their children water from plastic bottles, or they were filling up cups which can be difficult if out and about. We think Rethink Kids Water solves all of those problems. More and more, parents are increasingly conscious of what they feed their children. They want drinks with no sugar, and nothing artificial, especially since childhood obesity rates on the rise.” 

“We’re constantly looking at ways that we can continue to innovate and improve the buying and decision-making experience for parents and change the way they think about water. With shrinking shelf space, it’s more important than ever for brands to stand out in stores and we want to become the go-to choice for parents and children alike.”

“Global expansion is indeed on the agenda, but we want to be sure to we get it right here first,” they said. 
“We’ve been fortunate to have the support of many like-minded businesses who believe in what the brand stands for and are committed to our growth. We are always open to constructive dialogue.”

You can read the full interview with Swanson and O'Donovan here.

By Elizabeth Green

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