By JULIE JARGON and ANNIE GASPARRO
Oct. 16, 2016 10:18 p.m. ET
The Next Hot Trends in Food
Not too far in the future, when you reach for a healthy drink, it might be full of water from a cactus.
The next healthy beverage: plant waters
The coconut-water fad appears to have unleashed a new category in the drink aisle: plant waters. From aloe water and maple water to artichoke water and cactus water, they are replacing more sugary sports drinks and artificially flavored waters that don’t appeal to consumers’ desire for nutritious and natural beverages.
While U.S. soda sales fell for the 11th year in a row last year, coconut water sales rose 27%, according to market research firm Technavio.
Some drinks are more likely to make it from health-food stores to convenience stores than others. Maple water and cactus water are more appealing than, say, artichoke water, since many people know cactuses contain water and view maple syrup as tasty.
Not only do these provide more flavor than plain water, they also tout health benefits beyond hydration. Aloe-vera juices claim to aid digestion and weight loss. Cactus-water makers say their drinks contain electrolytes and antioxidants.
Some of these plant waters are already popping up next to coconut water in mainstream grocery stores such as Kroger. The new plant waters are taking aim at the coconut beverage, advertising that maple water or cactus water contains significantly less sugar.