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An Essentia water bottle with a weight and workout gear. Photography by Paul Quitoriano, art direction by Brittany Falussy

Why it’s a thing: Ionized alkaline water

It can be an essential part of a well-balanced, wellness-focused life.

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Staying hydrated is one of the most basic, and vital, keys to a healthy life. Doing so improves nearly all of the body’s systems, helping the function of the heart, brain, muscles, and more, while simultaneously working to eliminate toxins and other harmful elements. In a world overflowing with wellness solutions, drinking 30 to 50 ounces of water consistently throughout the day is a simple, easy, and effective way to stay in peak condition.

However, not all water is created equal. One indication of this fact is the existence of water sommeliers — yeah, they are a thing too — who help restaurants and other consumers choose the best agua for their needs. Another sign is the dramatic growth of the premium water industry. In 2016, Americans purchased 12.8 billion gallons of bottled water, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. That works out to 39 gallons per person. It was the first time people in the United States drank more bottled water per year than soda, consumption of which peaked at 50 gallons per person per year in the 1990s. Meanwhile, consumption of beer, wine, and spirits fell for the third consecutive year in 2018, according to a report from industry analyst IWSR.

Soda cans in descending order to show the decline in soda consumption in America.
While soda consumption has declined, bottled water sales have grown — to the tune of 12.8 billion gallons purchased in 2016.

It’s clear that the demand for overachieving water, such as ionized alkaline water, is on the rise, and like a spring rushing during the thaw, the trend shows no sign of slowing down. To truly understand the reasons for the growth, however, it’s important to consider the larger wellness movement. It’s a $4.2 trillion industry, according to the Global Wellness Institute, and one that has grown nearly 13 percent in just two years. The two segments of the wellness industry that are closely aligned with premium water — nutrition (healthy eating and weight loss) and fitness (mind-body wellness) — represent almost $1.3 trillion in spending on their own.

In the fitness industry, newer, rapidly growing companies are taking advantage of this increased consumer spending, altering the traditional wellness terrain. Boutique (think Orangetheory Fitness) and high value/low price fitness brands like Planet Fitness and Crunch represented six of the top 15 companies in 2018, according to a study from the analysts at investment bank Piper, Jaffray. Spinning, barre, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are some of the most successful fitness concepts, while apparel companies featuring high-tech, high-price, and high-quality threads dominate conversations and social media. Swigging ionized alkaline water after a HIIT workout has become a thing on social media. And it will continue to be a thing, as millennials opt for hydrating drinks post-workout and at other times during their days and nights.

A fitness wearable, earbuds, a handweight and a lock with other wellness products.
The internet creates a place where all aspects of wellness come together in a single photo.

Social media is an essential ingredient in the wellness world. It’s not enough to simply do a tough workout; one must also post. The internet creates a place where all aspects of wellness — fitness, health, clean eating, hydration, etc. — come together in a single photo. Personalities and influencers create aspirational content with a wellness focus: six-pack abs and tanned bodies crushing sets at the gym, or performing complex yoga poses in beautiful locations, or before-and-after photos showing off newly toned features. This is how we live, or strive to live, now. As hashtags such as #wellness and #fitness continue to grow in popularity — statistics on hashtag popularity vary, but by one count #wellness is included in 26 million Instagram posts and counting — influencers inspire the general population to improve their bodies and their lives, some even becoming influencers themselves.

James Nord, founder and CEO of influencer agency Fohr, says social media has driven the widespread adoption of all things fitness, and the influencer space has been key to this trend. “I think people look at really good-looking/fit people and say, ‘Hey, I want that,’” he says. “What’s changed now is [they] have Instagram accounts and say, ‘You too can have a body like mine.’ If you have a map to get there, even better.”

An Essentia water bottle in a puddle of water on a mirror.
A pound of sweat is a pound of water that needs to be replaced.

Proper hydration fuels the energy required to put in the physical work and create the social media content. Health and wellness drinks represented 41 percent of the total beverage market in the US in 2017, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, and premium water makes up a significant portion of those sales. If you’re training hard, you need more than regular old-fashioned tap water. You need superior hydration as well as the electrolytes the body has lost over the course of a tough workout. Sports drinks are often loaded with more sugar than soda. Enter overachieving water to help the body’s recovery and rejuvenation process.

Essentia’s ionized alkaline water is a major player in the premium water space. Ionized alkaline water has a pH between 8 and 10, whereas regular water has a pH of 7. To create its superior hydrating water, Essentia uses a proprietary ionization process that first uses microfiltration and reverse osmosis to remove unwanted particles, then infuses trace amounts of electrolytes, and finally eliminates bitter-tasting acidic ions to create a supercharged ionized alkaline water with a pH of 9.5 or above.

A study from the Beverage Marketing Corporation reported that alkaline water grew from $47 million in sales in 2014 to $427 million in 2017, with a projected increase of an additional $250 million in 2018. And it shows no signs of slowing down any time in the near future.

In a world where health, wellness, and fitness is a focus, staying hydrated becomes ever more important. A pound of sweat is a pint of water that needs to be replaced. A thirsty body is one that’s already dehydrated. A well-hydrated body is a heart that doesn’t need to pump as hard, a head that’s clearer, and kidneys that clean more effectively. Hydration is the stuff of life — drink up, and enjoy.

Sources are provided for informational and reference purposes only. They are not an endorsement of Advertiser or Advertiser’s products.

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