Lion launches a Kiwi product with a Scandinavian name, aims to give non-drinkers an adult choice

Scandinavia is so hot right now. So hot, in fact, that when Lion decided to launch its new range of low-sugar sodas, the company chose an old Skaldic word thought to mean ‘connected’ as the name of the product.

Dubbed Hӧpt and sold in bottles that seem more suited to beer or cider, Lion’s new range of non-alcoholic drinks is currently being advertised via billboards as a soda alternative that “contains less than half the sugar” of leading regular soft drinks.

Looking at the nutritional information on the website, this appears to be true. While each 330ml bottle of Hӧpt contains 16.2 grams of sugars, a can of Coke of carries a sugary punch of 35 grams.

“New Zealanders are aspiring to live cleaner lifestyles, making healthier choices that suit their busy and social lifestyles,” says Hӧpt brand ambassador Ryan Christensen. “Höpt is right on trend in our country and a refreshing, unique, clean soda that we knew Kiwis would love.”

Despite its seemingly foreign name, the product was conceptualised and produced in New Zealand, and he says that Lion made a significant investment in bringing it to the market.   

“Höpt was carefully researched and every detail thought through to ensure that we stayed true to our consumer insight. As a delicious clean soda crafted for adults, there are over 15 attributes built into each bottle of Höpt, each with a specific benefit for the person drinking it.  We invested time and resources in the 18-month development phase to ensure the end product delivered all these benefits to address our consumers’ needs.”

Given the recent trends in soda sales, this move will not only appease increasingly health-conscious Kiwi consumers but could also prove quite profitable for Lion.

According to Nielsen’s latest Supermarket figures to 13 July, overall sales of carbonated beverages are up 1.2 percent in value sales but down two percent in volume sales (volume refers to the litres sold and value refers to the dollar value of the sales).

When the statistics are broken down, they show a 2.7 percent increase in value sales for low calorie and no calorie products and a 2.9 percent drop for standard (sugary) drinks.

And while Lion’s move is clearly an effort to tap into this growing market, Christensen also says that Lion’s research indicated that adult consumers, particularly those at bars, found current soda options disappointing.      

“People told us existing offers were too sweet, boring, unhealthy, childish, gassy and unrewarding,” he says. “[So] we were focused on creating a delicious soda for adults that was cleaner than existing alternatives and designed for the one in five people who opt out of alcohol regularly for health or lifestyle reasons.”

So, in an effort to overcome this problem, Hӧpt worked with creative and design agency Shine and a range of teams across Tokyo, Melbourne and Auckland to produce a product that recently picked up a prestigious platinum award at the A’ Design Awards in Italy (it was  one of only 50 products globally, out of 12,523 entries across all categories, to receive platinum status, making it the most successful Australasian product at the awards).

According to a release, the creative design was modelled on the Danish restaurant Noma, which has just been awarded Best Restaurant in the World. It also features: “a crown seal for craft appeal; hop extracts as an ingredient for a crisp, refreshing taste and adult appeal; lighter carbonation so you can drink more than one and at pace with peers drinking alcohol – the word ‘hӧpt’ is an old Skaldic word thought to mean ‘connected’; numbers on the bottle so it’s easier to order a Hӧpt 1 in a noisy bar; natural flavours and less than half the sugar, enabling people to ‘drink clean’ and still socialise; [and]intriguing adult flavour combinations for crisp clean refreshment that better complements food and is more special and rewarding”.

There are currently four variations of the product available in store, and the Hӧpt website includes a feature that enables potential customers to search for stores that stock the range.

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